THE Inland Waterways Association has acknowledged support for the inland waterways by a West Midlands MP at its 2018 Parliamentary Dinner.
Wendy Morton, MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, was presented with the Association’s Parliamentarian of the Year Award at the evening event, which took place at the House of Commons on Tuesday (March 6).
Presenting the award, IWA national chairman Ivor Caplan said “Wendy has been a great supporter of the inland waterways over a number of years, not least when IWA held its Festival of Water at Pelsall, in her constituency, in 2016, and more recently in her support for the Middle Level Bill when it returned to the Commons in October 2017.”
Those present at the dinner, which included MPs and peers as well as representatives of several navigation authorities and other national organisations, heard Ivor Caplan call for increased funding for the publicly funded navigation authorities, and he reminded MPs and peers of the importance of navigable waterways to the health and wellbeing of the UK population and the contribution they make to the UK economy through regeneration, tourism and leisure.
Emma Howard Boyd, chairman of the Environment Agency, also addressed the gathering, saying: “The Environment Agency manages over 2500 assets which include locks, weirs, laybys and bridges for the benefit of 26,000 boat users over 1000km of inland waterways. These are an intrinsic part of the landscape but there are challenges ahead. We need to look at new ways of raising revenue.
“Our aim is to create a five-year charging plan and a charging scheme that is fit for the future. The Inland Waterways Association is a vital champion of safe and sustainable navigations, so partnership working will help ensure waterways continue to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone.”