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Inland Waterways: Repairs and Maintenance

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st March 2017.

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Photo of Lord German Lord German Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the Environment Agency's budget to maintain its navigable waterways.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

As a navigation authority, the Environment Agency is responsible for over 1,000km of inland waterways. It takes its stewardship role very seriously and works closely with those who use our waterways.

As part of the 2015 Spending Review, the Environment Agency’s capital settlement from Defra was £13m to invest over the next four years. This funding will enable the Environment Agency to prioritise the investment across England’s waterways focusing on those assets which will benefit the most.

In addition to this capital investment, the Environment Agency will continue to invest the £9m per annum income collected via registration charges from waterway users. This is complemented by further Environment Agency annual investment; for 2017/18 this will be £3.6m. In total, this is sufficient to maintain navigable waterways for 2017/18.

The Environment Agency is reviewing the future costs required to run and maintain these waterways as part of the potential transfer of its navigation responsibilities and assets to the Canal & River Trust. As part of this process the Environment Agency will engage with both users and Defra on the future investment needed to maintain navigable waterways.

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