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News article created on 24 May 2011

New trustees announced to lead waterways into new sector

The founding trustees have been appointed for the new waterways charity that will take over the running of British Waterways’ canals, rivers and docks in England and Wales in 2012.

The change will help ensure a more sustainable future for this important national treasure. Tony Hales, new Chairman of the Canal & River Trust

Working closely with British Waterways’ Board until the new charity takes control, the eight trustees bring a wealth of senior level experience of managing heritage, volunteering, leisure, boating and commercial interests.

Tony Hales, British Waterways’ chairman, has been appointed to chair the charity’s founding trustee directors following recommendations by the independent Advisory Panel on First Appointments and Transition to the waterways minister Richard Benyon MP.

The other founding trustees recommended by the Advisory Panel are: Lynne Berry, boat owner and chief executive of WRVS; John Bridgeman, British Waterways vice chairman and leading expert in competition and fair trading; Jane Cotton, change management expert and a deputy chief executive and HR director of Oxfam; John Dodwell, long-term waterways campaigner and former chair of the Commercial Boat Operators Association; Tom Franklin, leading advisor on open spaces and chief executive of the Ramblers; Nigel Hugill, British Waterways board member and property expert and; Simon Thurley, historian and chief executive of English Heritage.

Sustainable future

Tony Hales comments: “We have championed a ‘national trust’ for the waterways for some time and I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to chair the new charity. It is the right route to protect and develop the waterways and will give communities a greater role in managing their local canal or river. The change will help ensure a more sustainable future for this important national treasure.

“The calibre of trustees that have been attracted to give their time and expertise is testament to the high regard given to the nation’s precious waterways. A mix of five new trustees and three from British Waterways’ existing board will inject new energy and ideas as we set up the new waterways charity, and will ensure a smooth transition from public ownership.”

The unpaid trustees will now work alongside the existing BW Board until officially taking responsibility for the waterways in 2012. More immediately they will have full control over negotiating a contract with Government that will determine public funding for the waterways in England & Wales for at least the next decade. In addition, they will be involved in the detailed design of the charity’s governance, decisions around the charity’s name, logo and brand identity, and fundraising strategy.

Throughout the transition between public corporation and new waterways charity, the trustees are expected to give around three to four days a month reducing to two days thereafter. The appointment of the founder trustees beyond the transitional period is then subject to ratification by the charity’s Council of Representatives at its first meeting after vesting day of the new charity. The Council will also have responsibility for recruiting future trustees.

First published 24th May 2011.