The charity making life better by water

Boaters' Update 14 July 2023

In this edition we discuss the Government Grant Review decision that was announced earlier this year.

Narrowboat at Milton Keynes. Grand Union Canal

Welcome to Boaters’ Update.

The main focus of this edition is on the announcement of the Government’s Grant Review decision that sets out the funding settlement it plans to give our waterways over ten years from 2027.

The decision doesn’t reflect the age and importance of our canals or the damaging effects to our waterways of the more frequent, and extreme, storms bought about by climate change. You can read our initial response below.


In this edition:

Our response to Government Grant Review announcement

We have some important news to share with you about the future of the nation’s canals – you may have already seen it in the press or wider communications in the past few days.

Our much-loved canal network, which is so important to us in different ways, relies on funding from multiple sources: government grant being one of them.

Earlier this week the Government has announced a new funding settlement, spanning from 2027 to 2037, to follow on from our current grant agreement. Whilst we welcome this further long-term commitment to the nation’s historic waterways, the amount awarded represents a steep reduction in funding of over £300 million in real terms over a ten-year period. A reduction that will have devastating consequences.

Such a drastic decrease will inevitably result in a decline in the overall condition of our waterway network, and, alarmingly, the possibility of canal closures. It puts at risk invaluable natural habitats, historic infrastructure and cherished public spaces.

That's why we're reaching out to you, our passionate and engaged boating community, to join us in our mission to #KeepCanalsAlive.

Please take action by emailing your local MP.

It only takes a few minutes to do this using our simple online tool. If you’re a continuous cruiser your local MP can be considered as the one who represents the constituency where your mail is delivered.

I am sure you will share our disappointment at the Government's decision. We are determined to fight to change it, to re-state the case for the funding needed to keep canals alive and to sustain the wide range of benefits they deliver. With your help, and that of all our other users, partners, boaters, volunteers, Friends and supporters, we will continue our campaign over the months ahead whilst also taking every opportunity to generate funding from other sources, and to deliver our work efficiently. Together we can keep canals alive and thriving for the future.

We know you contribute to the waterways already but if you would like to support us by making a one-off donation then please visit our website.

We need and value your support today more than ever. Thank you.

PS Our chief executive also shared his initial response on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Maintenance, repair and restoration work this weekend

As someone who’s out on, or by, the water more often than most, you’ll know that there are times when we need to fix things that unexpectedly break. So, below, you’ll find a list of navigations that have ongoing restrictions that may affect you if you’re planning to get out on the water this weekend:

When restrictions to navigation happen, we get them up on to our website as soon as we can – always best to check our notices page before you set off. As set out in the article above, you can set up your smartphone to automatically alert you if a notice is issued for a canal or river that you’re interested in. Check out this guide to setting it up.

If you have any questions about a specific closure, or spot an error in our system, please get in touch.

Last Edited: 06 September 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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