THE Environmental Agency has stated that it is closing parts of its navigable waterways due to lack of funding.
It was a Freedom of Information request that brought to light that the Agency is preparing to make long term closures of its navigations in the Anglian region that includes the River Great Ouse and the Nene, Alan Tilbury reports.
It is stated that this is the consequence of underfunding of the waterways and their assets over many years.
Closed on health and safety grounds
The Agency has decided that some navigations will have to be closed to navigation on health and safety grounds, due to this lack of funding to keep assets in a safe condition.
The Environmental Agency admits that three locks have already been closed in the region, preventing navigation, but the Freedom of Information request does not state which they are.
It is believed that it is only a matter of time until other locks are closed preventing access, not only on well used rivers but important connecting navigations as well, thus stopping navigation.
The Inland Waterways Association has pointed out that the Anglian Water Act 1977 provides a Right of Navigation on most of these waterways and it believes the Environmental Association cannot simply ignore its legal duties.
Make themselves heard
The Association suggests that all boaters using these waterways should make themselves heard by writing to their MPs and the local relevant waterway associations stating their objections, as such support is vital as politicians need to understand that waterway users and supporters are not prepared to just sit there whilst waterways close around them.