Heads up – another consultation!

The deadline for this is 28th March!
DEFRA which among many other things is the government department with responsibility for inland navigable waterways, has launched the public consultation www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/waterways/ stage of its ongoing review of policy regarding waterways. DEFRA is the government department to whom BW is responsible and who they are funded by.

The consultation makes no reference at all to people living on boats or to residential use of the waterways.The consultation document is quite long, but I suggest boaters respond to Question 1 saying that DEFRA has missed out any mention of people who live on boats and the need to respect their homes, family and private life, and that the needs and rights of boat dwellers should be taken into account when making any future decisions about the waterways. It is also an oppportunity to describe the way liveaboard boaters are treated by BW.

Send your responses to wferesponses@defra.gsi.gov.uk

I have included the list of questions below, but to read the full document go to www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/waterways/

This is an opportunity to tell government and the civil servants what you think and have it put on record. In my experience it is surprising the impact a good case can have. More practically it may get issues onto Government radar that they have missed or simply never heard about – and so far, the needs and rights of people living on boats have definitely been missed by government.

I also think its really important that individual boaters make representations about our concerns – the list of consultees www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/waterways/list-of-consultees.pdf shows many of the corporate and voluntary bodies who will be involved but individual people are also entitled to make individual submissions – so please do!

It may also be an opportunity to get the situation of residential boaters on the radar with any incoming government, which may be in place by the time the consultation reports back to DEFRA.

The questions

Q1. Do you agree that the range of benefits of inland waterways identified above and expanded upon in the following chapters are correct? Are there any benefits that we have missed or overstated?

Q2. Do you consider that waterways are in a better condition now than they were 10 years ago? What have been the main achievements over this time and what could have been done better?

Q3. Do you agree that it is important for regional development bodies and local authorities to work closely with those responsible for managing the Inland Waterways to ensure that the potential benefits in respect of place making and shaping are maximised? Do you have any ideas as to how this can be achieved?

Q4. What more can navigation authorities do to encourage local authorities to consider using waterways to improve the quality of life of their local communities?

Q5. What do you think the barriers are to local authorities taking more interest in waterways in respect of place making?

Q6. Do you agree that inland waterways offer an opportunity to help the UK mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change? Are there any areas you consider that should be explored further in this context, including how the waterways themselves will need to adapt?

Q7. Do you agree that the unique cultural heritage associated with inland waterways provide a key benefit to those who use and visit waterways? How can these resources be used to further enhance and encourage use of the waterways?

Q8. Do you consider the protection of the natural and built heritage to be one of the waterway authorities primary tasks?

Q9. What area of waterway heritage do you consider most under threat?

Q10. Do you agree that inland waterways, including their paths and surrounding environments provide an important resource for outdoor recreation, sport and improving public well being? What more can be done to protect and improve these important resources?

Q11. What needs to be done to make waterside paths more accessible and better appreciated by local communities?

Q12. Do you agree that waterside paths offer considerable potential for increasing green commuting, both for pedestrian and cyclists? What more can be done to encourage this further?

Q13. What can be done to reverse the decline in freight on the inland waterways in recent years? Which elements of the commercial waterways have the greatest potential for freight use? How should the planning process ensure the protection of freight interests in those areas with greatest freight potential?

Q14. How can we best encourage a common purpose between different users of the waterways? What can be done to better manage potential conflicts?

Q15. What do you believe should be done to maintain and increase the number of boat registrations on our inland waterways?

Q16. How can the waterways increase their share of the holiday market?

Q17. Do you agree that there is scope for increasing waterway related volunteering activity? How can this be achieved?

Q18. How can schools and colleges be encouraged to make greater use of the waterways for educational purposes?

Q19. What can be done to help NCBA to increase the use of waterways to improve social inclusion?

Q20. What can be done to overcome barriers to achieving greater diversity among boaters and anglers using the waterways?

Q21. In view of the pressure on public finances, how can waterway authorities make the most of their resources over the next few years? Would mutual or third Sector status for British Waterways be beneficial in this respect?
Q22. What scope is there for enhanced partnership working to improve the resources available to protect and enhance the benefits delivered by inland waterways?
Q23. What activity should be undertaken to monitor the benefits delivered by the inland waterways over the coming years?

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One Response to “Heads up – another consultation!”

  1. Paul Biddy MonsterID Icon Paul Biddy says:

    The questions here really help.

    I looked at this consultation at the library. It’s absolutely massive. I e-mailed the EA requesting a hard copy so I could have time to digest all 71 pages!