Inland Waterways: Dredging
Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Richard Benyon (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Newbury, Conservative)
Dredging is an operational matter for British Waterways (BW) and it applies risk-based prioritisation to its maintenance expenditure. The Government require BW to operate and maintain waterways to standards that reflect use and prospects of use.
BW estimate that the cost of clearing the current backlog of dredging would be approximately £40 million. BW has not set a time scale for dealing with the dredging backlog because it is subject to BW’s need to prioritise expenditure on its major infrastructure assets. However, it prioritises dredging at locations that cause particular boating constraints.
Future prioritisation of expenditure on the operation and maintenance of the waterways will be a matter for the Canal and River Trust, once BW’s functions and assets in England and Wales are transferred to the charity.