NORTH West Leicestershire MP, Andrew Bridgen, was named The Inland Waterways Association’s Parliamentarian of the Year at a reception held in The Houses of Parliament.
Mr Bridgen was nominated for the award by members of both the Ashby Canal Trust and the Ashby Canal Association (ACA) for his unwavering support and assistance regarding many difficult issues that have arisen on the Ashby Canal restoration.
He was particularly commended for his work with HS2, focusing on the proposed routing of the high-speed rail link and limiting its impact on the Ashby Canal. He was also thanked for his efforts in helping to overcome progress problems with Leicestershire County Council and his continuing work on issues with Defra and the Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO).
As one of the nominators commented, “Andrew Bridgen deserves to win this award. Whenever we need guidance, help or assistance, he always offers his services. He is fully committed to seeing the completion of the Ashby Canal for the benefit of the local community.”
Mr Bridgen was instrumental in persuading Leicestershire County Council to continue its support of the canal restoration. He organised a major meeting of all interested parties and convinced the County Council to agree to donate all its canal land to the ACA as well as providing funding. Off the back of the meeting, North West Leicestershire District Council also agreed to donate £20,000 to the restoration.
The transfer of canal land has been delayed for various reasons but Andrew Bridgen has successfully intervened with Theresa Coffey, Minister at Defra to help speed things up. Also as a result of his intervention, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the ACA with a grant to help complete the canal restoration.
Another nominator closed his recommendation by stating, “Time will tell if we manage to complete the full restoration of the Ashby Canal, but one thing is for sure, if we don’t make it, it won’t be because of a lack of effort or support from Andrew Bridgen MP. He is a worthy winner of the IWA Parliamentarian of the Year award.”
This is the tenth year that the IWA Parliamentarian of the Year award has been given to a Member of Parliament who has shown unwavering support for the waterways. The event was hosted by IWA and was attended by over 140 guests including 45 MPs and five members of the House 0f Lords. This is the largest attendance to date and shows the growth in support for the UK’s waterways.
For more information, please visit www.waterways.org.uk.