Examination of Witnesses (Questions 73
WEDNESDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2000
73. Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you very
much for joining us. Can you give us your names and designations?
(Mr Edwards) Neil Edwards, executive director of the
Inland Waterways Association.
(Mr Pearce) I am David Pearce, national vice-chairman
of the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs. We represent the
(Dr Squires) I am Roger Squires, a member of the Association
of Waterways Cruising Clubs.
74. Gentlemen, you have given us very good memoranda.
Is there any reason why we should not go directly into questions?
Thank you very much. The questions are directed to all three of
you. What actions would most effectively develop the leisure potential
of the waterways?
(Mr Edwards) One of the main points would be the maintenance
backlog on the main navigation authorities' waterways. At the
moment, they are severely under-funded and are catching up with
a vast amount of maintenance, both for public safety and for amenity.
If that backlog were cleared, that would be a major benefit for
75. What assessment has been made of that?
(Mr Edwards) We understand that both British Waterways
and the Environment Agency have undertaken a full survey of all
the work that needs to be done.
76. Is that published anywhere?
(Mr Edwards) We believe it is published in the British
Waterways annual report and also in their five year plan, an update
of which I believe is due to be published very shortly.
(Mr Pearce) I do not disagree with that. What we need
is government commitment to the principles set out in the White
Paper which we believe to be a major step forward in terms of
definition of where the whole of waterways needs to go. Resources
need to be adequate: grant in aid, third party funding and certainly
we would encourage joint ventures as part of the PPP initiative
that is currently going on with BW.
77. A record is being taken. Please avoid initials.
People listening to the evidence will find it easier if we use
(Mr Pearce) By "PPP", I meant the government's
policy of public/private partnership.
78. And British Waterways?
(Mr Pearce) Yes. We need to look at the legal framework
as well to ensure that British Waterways are able to be a world
class operator and indeed are able to tackle what has been identified
as the maintenance backlog.
79. Is there a specific initiative that would
make an enormous difference?
(Dr Squires) Sometimes bench marking of standards
between agencies is a very useful ability to ensure that all are
reaching a minimum level.