Hope for freight on the waterways

Published: Friday, 13 August 2021

I’m delighted that you have published this feature Freight on Canal & River Trust waterways writes Jonathan Mosse.

And at a very appropriate time in what I hope will be a renaissance of carrying on the inland waterways of the North East.

CRT unloading Farndale H Tireless campaigning

Whilst I don’t fundamentally disagree with your observations on the current situation, you should not overlook all the tireless campaigning that has been going on in the background by the IWA Freight Group, Canal Boat Operators Association as the representative body and by individual CBOA members themselves. For example, re-establishing that sand flow along the Aire & Calder commencing last September (unfortunately curtailed by the breach just before Christmas) was the culmination of five years hard work.

The photograph shows a load unable to reach Lemonroyd Lock due to a poorly dredged section of the Aire & Calder. CRT removes some of her load before its grab breaks down half way through the job.

Next month, the subject for the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways (APPGW) meeting, is Inland Waterways Freight and you can rest assured that its Chairman—Michael Fabricant MP—will ensure that all relevant findings from that meeting will wind up on the appropriate ministers' desks within 24 hours. How can I be so sure? Simply because at a previous meeting of the Group, held earlier in the year, our conclusions concerning sustainable boating in the coming years (and their fuel duty implications) were with Rushi Sunak the very next day!

CRT pleads poverty

When it comes to maintaining the commercial waterways for the realistic carriage of freight, CRT pleads poverty, so it is therefore down to holding a dialogue with those at Westminster that ultimately hold the purse strings. That’s exactly what campaigning bodies like IWA and CBOA do so well and it is therefore most encouraging to learn that the focus of their work is not falling on deaf ears. With COP26, to be held in Glasgow this year, it was a deliberate move on the part of IWAwho hold the secretariat for the APPGWto bring this debate forward from it’s original slot next spring, to be aired at Westminster ahead of this very important UN climate change initiative.