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News article created on 27 May 2014

New life for Sheffield's waterways

A plan has been agreed which will help to bring new life to Sheffield’s formerly industrial waterways.

The Sheffield Waterways Strategy aims to continue the renaissance of the city’s 150 mile network of rivers and streams which, in places, was once devoid of life. A huge amount of work, over recent decades, has helped many of the city’s waterways to recover as important wildlife habitats and places to visit but a partnership of local organisations is working together to continue their revitalisation.

The strategy, which was signed during the One Big River Week – a week of events celebrating Sheffield’s waterways, sets out an action plan that will continue the recovery and put the city’s canal, rivers and streams at the heart of daily life.

Water quality and biodiversity

The plan will see more local people getting involved in looking after their local waterways and helping to improve water quality and biodiversity. It will see more festivals and events taking place on or beside the water and encourage more people to explore the culture and history of their local area. It will help to attract people from other parts of the country, boosting tourism, supporting jobs and helping the local economy.

In particular the strategy will also enable the city to make the most of its waterside landmarks, most notably Victoria Quays. It will give an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the Quays to the city and its people; attracting more visitors, developing local businesses and hosting a programme of diverse events and activities onsite.

City of rivers

Tom Wild, director of the South Yorkshire Forest Partnership said; “We are delighted to finalise the Sheffield Waterways Strategy and to have received so much support through ‘One Big River Week’. Sheffield really is a ‘City of Rivers’ – our waterways powered the growth of the city; they define its landscape and give great character to the place.

“We have come a long way since the 1980s – moving from a situation where the city had turned its back on its waterways, through the dedicated efforts of volunteer groups like the Five Weirs Walk, who pioneered innovative work to realise the huge potential – to now, where our waterways really are a defining part of the city’s offer. Our rivers and canal really can be a unique selling point for Sheffield. As Chair of the Strategy group I’d like to thank all the volunteers, staff and partner organisations for all their support in getting to this point.”

Julie Sharman, head of enterprise at the Canal & River Trust said; “Many people may not associate Sheffield with waterways but the city has an amazing 150 mile network of streams, rivers and canal. This network reaches out to all parts of the city and so has the potential to touch the lives of many thousands of people. This strategy is all about making that happen; getting more people involved with their local waterway, bringing more wildlife into the heart of our urban areas and using the waterways as a means of regenerating communities and boosting the local economy.”