Canal & River Trust to receive £1 billion funding

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Environment minister Richard Benyon has announced that more than £1 billion will be invested in the UK’s waterways over the next 15 years, securing the future of the new Canal & River Trust charity.

The Canal & River Trust – which will be officially launched later this year – is tasked with preserving waterways in England and Wales, and aims to garner the support of thousands of volunteers to this end.

‘The Canal & River Trust will be a national trust for the waterways, maintaining and restoring 2,000 miles of heritage sites, wildlife habitats and open spaces so that we can all enjoy them for generations to come,’ said Mr. Benyon.

‘Bringing our waterways into the Big Society puts decision-making into the hands of the thousands of people who cherish the waterways near their homes. Our £1 billion investment will get this new charity off to the strongest start possible, and let local communities and volunteers shape the future of our world-famous waterways.’

The £1 billion commitment from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) comes in the form of a £460m property endowment combined with £800m funding over the next 15 years. 

‘We congratulate the minister on this settlement which creates a bedrock on which to build the future prosperity of our precious waterways,’ said Tony Hales, chairman of the Trustees of the Canal & River Trust.

‘In the 20th century the network was saved from destruction by committed waterway campaigners, volunteers and staff. In the last decade alone British Waterways has made an enormous contribution to securing the network’s future. In the 21st century they will be held in trust for the nation as a national treasure and a haven for people and wildlife.

‘With greater certainty of funding than ever before, we now have the opportunity to attract new investment and new supporters and give a greater role to the millions of people who live alongside and on the waterways.’

Subject to approval from Parliament, the Government hopes to see the new Canal & River Trust launched in June 2012.

Scottish waterways will remain in public ownership.

For more information about the Canal & River Trust, visit www.britishwaterways.co.uk.

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