£800m funding for waterways trust


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The new “national trust for waterways” will receive £800 million in funding over the next 15 years to help it look after canals and rivers, the Government said today.

The Canal and River Trust is a charity set up to take over from Government agency British Waterways to manage England and Wales' network of 200-year-old canals and rivers.

The Environment Department (Defra) announced today the charity was in line for £800 million over 15 years, as well as receiving property assets worth £460 million formerly used by British Waterways to fund the network.

The funding includes a core grant of £39 million a year, an additional grant of up to £10 million a year from 2015/16 tied to satisfactory performance in maintaining assets, towpaths and managing flood risk, and a £25 million one-off grant over the next few months.

The charitable status of the new organisation will also allow it to raise funding through donations, charitable grants and legacies, increased borrowing powers and volunteering activities, Defra said.

It is hoped the new charity will launch in June.

Environment minister Richard Benyon said: "The Canal and River Trust will be a national trust for the waterways, maintaining and restoring 200 miles of heritage sites, wildlife habitats and open spaces so that we can all enjoy them for generations to come.

"Our £1 billion investment will get this charity off to the strongest start possible, and let local communities and volunteers shape the future of our world-famous waterways."

Tony Hales, chairman of trustees of the Canal and River Trust, said: "With greater certainty of funding then 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."