We should have a “Right to Roam” on English waterways

I recently took up canoeing as a sport, and found it's great for fitness and seeing the countryside.  I've been disappointed to find however that, although in England we have a right to roam on all our traditional footpaths, we don't have a similar general right to roam on our waterways, which seems an absurd limitation on our civil liberty.

I understand that in most other countries (including Scotland) there is an assumed right to roam on any waterway, provided the craft used is appropriate to the waterway, and in my opinion we should have the same freedom here.

Why is this idea important?

I recently took up canoeing as a sport, and found it's great for fitness and seeing the countryside.  I've been disappointed to find however that, although in England we have a right to roam on all our traditional footpaths, we don't have a similar general right to roam on our waterways, which seems an absurd limitation on our civil liberty.

I understand that in most other countries (including Scotland) there is an assumed right to roam on any waterway, provided the craft used is appropriate to the waterway, and in my opinion we should have the same freedom here.

Law to be repealed

 

Laws to be repealed.

Let’s start with the law(s) which prohibit canoeists/kayakers from using most of the rivers in England & Wales. The majority of other civilised countries in the world, inc Scotland, seem to be able to manage this without problems – why can England not do so? The British Canoe Union has to my knowledge being attempting to gain river access since at least the 1940s & I too have been trying without success as a personal crusade. A coalition effort required?

 

Why is this idea important?

 

Laws to be repealed.

Let’s start with the law(s) which prohibit canoeists/kayakers from using most of the rivers in England & Wales. The majority of other civilised countries in the world, inc Scotland, seem to be able to manage this without problems – why can England not do so? The British Canoe Union has to my knowledge being attempting to gain river access since at least the 1940s & I too have been trying without success as a personal crusade. A coalition effort required?

 

Allocate resources to rebuild canal network

Britain is very lucky to have an outstanding network of canals which today are used mainly for leisure boating.  The British Waterways Board has had on ongoing program of construction and improvement but it has not enough resources.

Compared to the billions spent on useless projects, the return on investment on the British canals would be very good indeed, for the countryside, and balance of payments.

http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/home

Why is this idea important?

Britain is very lucky to have an outstanding network of canals which today are used mainly for leisure boating.  The British Waterways Board has had on ongoing program of construction and improvement but it has not enough resources.

Compared to the billions spent on useless projects, the return on investment on the British canals would be very good indeed, for the countryside, and balance of payments.

http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/home

access to inland waterways for small boats

It's currently almost impossible to legally put a small inflatable boat, rowing boat, canoe, Kayak etc on English rivers, lakes, canals and waterways without a licence. Most of the time they are just prohibited. In scotland you can use a small boat almost anywhere…these controls are entirely unnecessary and restrict freedom of movement.

Why is this idea important?

It's currently almost impossible to legally put a small inflatable boat, rowing boat, canoe, Kayak etc on English rivers, lakes, canals and waterways without a licence. Most of the time they are just prohibited. In scotland you can use a small boat almost anywhere…these controls are entirely unnecessary and restrict freedom of movement.

Help British Waterways become a 3rd sector organisation

Rich in heritage, abundant in wildlife and alive with culture, inland waterways are as popular today as they've ever been. Half the population lives within five miles of one of our canals and rivers and an incredible 13 million people use them every year as part of their everyday life – as a short-cut to work, walking the dog or simply taking time-out and watching the boats.

Independent surveys show that nine out of ten people agree that they are an important part of the nation's heritage, and it's British Waterways' job to ensure they remain so, whilst serving a modern purpose for the local communities through which they pass.

As part of its plans to establish a ‘national trust’ for the nation’s canals and rivers, British Waterways (BW) together with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust (KACT) are piloting an innovative approach to managing the 200-year old Kennet & Avon Canal. The launch of the initiative will give the people that use and enjoy the waterway and the communities that live alongside it a much greater say in how the canal is managed.

Following discussions, which also included representatives from the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), the KACT and BW will work together in setting up a Waterways Partnership Board for the canal. Members will be drawn from the highest level from the five local authorities and other key stakeholders who came together and led on the canal’s restoration.

The pilot includes reviewing the current plans of both organisations including development, operations, funding requirements etc. and by September agree and produce a combined Waterway Area Plan for the canal corridor which can be implemented by all partners.

It is hoped that the pilot will provide BW with valuable information and experience on how to put waterways on a 'more sustainable footing' and ensure the lessons are incorporated into the consultation on the setting up of a new third sector body.

Why is this idea important?

Rich in heritage, abundant in wildlife and alive with culture, inland waterways are as popular today as they've ever been. Half the population lives within five miles of one of our canals and rivers and an incredible 13 million people use them every year as part of their everyday life – as a short-cut to work, walking the dog or simply taking time-out and watching the boats.

Independent surveys show that nine out of ten people agree that they are an important part of the nation's heritage, and it's British Waterways' job to ensure they remain so, whilst serving a modern purpose for the local communities through which they pass.

As part of its plans to establish a ‘national trust’ for the nation’s canals and rivers, British Waterways (BW) together with the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust (KACT) are piloting an innovative approach to managing the 200-year old Kennet & Avon Canal. The launch of the initiative will give the people that use and enjoy the waterway and the communities that live alongside it a much greater say in how the canal is managed.

Following discussions, which also included representatives from the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), the KACT and BW will work together in setting up a Waterways Partnership Board for the canal. Members will be drawn from the highest level from the five local authorities and other key stakeholders who came together and led on the canal’s restoration.

The pilot includes reviewing the current plans of both organisations including development, operations, funding requirements etc. and by September agree and produce a combined Waterway Area Plan for the canal corridor which can be implemented by all partners.

It is hoped that the pilot will provide BW with valuable information and experience on how to put waterways on a 'more sustainable footing' and ensure the lessons are incorporated into the consultation on the setting up of a new third sector body.

Remove rights of ‘ownership’ of rivers etc

Access to open water in England an Wales is appalling. Removal of the right of ownership of the water flowing through rivers, and the riverbed beneath and granting access to river banks would enable people to enjoy much more of our country's natural heritage

Why is this idea important?

Access to open water in England an Wales is appalling. Removal of the right of ownership of the water flowing through rivers, and the riverbed beneath and granting access to river banks would enable people to enjoy much more of our country's natural heritage