BMF Welcomes Launch of the Canal and River Trust
Published on 12/7/2012
British Marine Federation has today (12 July) welcomed the launch of the Canal & River Trust charity which marks the largest single transfer of a public body into the charitable sector, as 2,000 miles of canals and rivers are passed over by government.
BMF Executive Director, Howard Pridding was one of three stakeholder speakers who shared a platform with DEFRA Secretary of State Caroline Spellman MP, waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP and the new Trust Chairman Tony Hales at a launch event at Camden Lock this morning.
This launch and notable move forward for the canal and river networks will mean that over 10 million users and visitors will have the opportunity to get involved in caring for and running their local waterways.
The BMF has been actively involved with the transition of British Waterways to become the new charity from the outset, as forty per cent of members run businesses on inland waterways from building boats, running marinas, operating hire fleets and providing services to inland boaters. Waterside businesses are wholly dependent on navigation authorities to maintain the environment in which their businesses exist. The transfer of any navigation authority is a big issue for the industry and one the BMF has engaged in at every level in the debate about the future of British Waterways over the last three years.
At the outset, the BMF gathered together inland members to agree an industry position. It was agreed that charitable status was the best option if politicians and British Waterways Management could achieve a workable basis for taking it forward. The BMF shared the concerns of many other waterways stakeholders in areas such as finance, government commitment, fundraising success, governance and culture change. In addition the BMF has highlighted the industry’s key concerns about, maintaining navigation, the levels of services to trade and marine customers and the industry’s voice in the governance of the new charity.
In speaking at the launch, Howard Pridding, BMF Executive Director paid tribute to the many who have worked hard over the last three years to make the launch a reality including politicians, Government officials, BW management and the Interim Trustees. He said: “The BMF celebrates the achievement of the launch of the Canal & River Trust today. We all know the charity is being launched in the toughest of economic climates but BMF and the industry look forward to working constructively with the Canal & River Trust going forward to ensure success.”