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News article created on 9 March 2012

New Waterways Partnership Chairs appointed

The Canal & River Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of five new Waterways Partnership Chairs.

Lynne Berry, Trustee and member of the Transition Appointments Committee, explains: "Following an open and extensive recruitment process, I am pleased to say that we have recruited five excellent candidates to represent the local and regional interests of their waterways. As each will play an integral role, assisting with the management of 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales, it’s imperative that along with a passion for our waterways, they possess business leadership skills and be experienced influencers and negotiators.

"As Chair of their Waterway Partnership each will sit on the Trust’s National Council and will bring a wealth of experience in a number of important areas including regeneration and planning, partnership building and community engagement, water management and operations, customer service and education and learning as well as in depth knowledge of local, national and European government."

"Champion interests of local waterway"

Tony Hales, Chair of Canal & River Trust, comments: "I am delighted that such a high calibre of people are going to chair these important positions of governance within the Canal & River Trust. Along with the seven Chairs appointed earlier this year, they will be well placed to champion the interests of their local waterways and provide new perspectives, insights and ideas to assist with the management of our canals and rivers."

The appointed chairs are:

  • North East: Mark Penny– previously Director of Customer Service and Networks for Yorkshire Water, Mark spent 30 years with the water company. He now runs Summers Day management consultancy and is trustee of the Aire Rivers Trust. Last year he was also President of the Institute of Water (Northern Branch).
  • Central Shires: Charlotte Atkins – the first Inland Waterways Association Parliamentarian of the Year, Charlotte has spent the past decade as an MP and Minister and led the campaign to preserve Government funding for waterways. Today, Charlotte is Trustee of Rudyard Sailability.
  • East Midlands: Danny Brennan – with experience in strategic infrastructure, urban and rural economic development, community engagement and investment, Danny works on local regeneration, planning, environmental and organisational design issues and projects, and was involved in leading the development of the River Nene Regional Park. He also spent a decade working in economic policy and structural fund programme roles in the European Commission.
  • London: Brian Fender – with extensive senior management experience within the science and education sector, Brian is a trained chemist and has held such positions as Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University and Member of the Science and Engineering Research Council. Currently Brian is Chair of the New Victoria Theatre Trust, President of the Institute of Knowledge Transfer and Director of Higher Aims Ltd.
  • South East: John Best – former Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Council, John is an experienced town planner and urbanist, now working internationally. He is also Trustee Director of Bedford Milton Keynes Waterway Trust and in the past was secretary of a pioneering waterway pressure group in East London, the Lee Valley Association, which promoted community activity on, along and around the waterway.

The Chairs will shortly begin recruiting Members for their Waterways Partnerships. Each Partnership will represent a balanced group of people interested in our waterways including boaters, waterway users and local businesses and the community, as well as heritage and environmental specialists and people with experience in fundraising and volunteering.

Twelve of the thirteen Waterways Partnership Chairs have now been appointed. Applications are currently being sought for the post of All Wales Waterways Partnership Chair.

A written record of all meetings will be publicly available on-line. All positions on the Waterways Partnerships will be unpaid, agreed expenses will be reimbursed.

First published 9th March 2012.