Legal basis for handing British Waterways over to Canal & River Trust

Published: Friday, 03 March 2023

GIVEN the recent revelations about the true status of our Public Non-Financial Corporation, writes Andrew Bails,

Passed by default?

I've been wondering whether the Bill which passed in 2012, and then only by default as there was insufficient time for proper scrutiny in the House of Lords, has any legal basis to justify the handing over of British Waterways 'lock stock and barrel' to the Canal & River Trust?

I've also been prompted to recall the last-minute attempts to get any reference whatsoever to 'boaters' added to the Trust's Charitable Objectives. Perhaps our status as those to whom 'it charges economically significant prices' was recognised somewhere in the higher echelons of the Civil Service as being an impediment to the proposed establishment of the CaRT?

Grounds for a review?

Having begun by putting two and two together, I wonder if this corporation's customers may now have grounds for a Judicial Review into the legality of the Transfer of Functions Order.

It is probably unnecessary to seek out any conscious misrepresentation by those handling the process to gain at the least a review of the workings of this last gasp of David Cameron's Big Society, but I leave it, I hope, to sharper legal minds than mine to ponder the consequences of these revelations for our continued 'wellbeing by water'.