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The charity making life better by water

Blue narrowboat moves along a busy stretch of canal with canoes and paddleboards surrounding. On the towpath, a Canal & River Trust colleague walks passed bunting.

Our impact: transforming places, enriching lives

Our impact report highlights the recent work we’ve done in 2021-2023 to protect and enhance the canal network for the benefit of current and future generations.

We're bringing to life stories that show how people enjoy our canals and rivers. It showcases how we use our network to bring communities together and provide green spaces.

Culture and environment

What is our impact?

Our canals and rivers have the power to make a difference.



our annual social value



our annual economic value



our asset protection value

Health, wellbeing and happiness

Ten million people walk, cycle, paddle, boat along and enjoy our green and blue spaces. We’re improving health outcomes, tackling health inequalities, and saving the NHS £1.1 billion every year.

Our work helps people to discover the benefits of their local canal or river with projects like Let's Move and our ‘Isolation to Inclusion’ project.

Engaged people and cohesive communities

We provide vital green spaces for over nine million living within a 10–15-minute walk. This access to nature helps build and sustain social connections and communities.

From our #PlasticsChallenge to the Green Flag Award® Scheme, we're working with volunteers, local groups, and partners to make canals more inviting spaces.

Learning and enhancing skills

We're providing a unique space for outdoor learning, building character, and developing employability skills.

Through school programmes, apprenticeships, and kickstart schemes, we're creating opportunities to improve life chances for children and young people – many from the most economically disadvantaged areas.

Prosperous and connected places

We're contributing £1.5 billion per year to the UK economy and supporting 80,000 jobs.

Our canals and rivers provide tourism, spaces for sustainable urban waterside living and businesses, and host telecommunications and utilities across the country.

Green and blue futures

Our canals and river navigations are nationally important infrastructure.

We’re protecting homes and businesses from flooding by keeping our embankments and reservoirs in good condition. We’re supporting the green economy and water security.

Cultural and environmental assets

We’re caring for our internationally renowned working heritage and 2,000 miles of wildlife corridors, connecting people with our cultural heritage and nature.

Our work includes protecting these spaces for future generations, while keeping them open and accessible for the present.

Explore more about our work and impact

Last Edited: 11 March 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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