We have approached the Government with 30 towpath improvement schemes for inner city and urban areas, as the Government signalled plans for a walking and cycling 'revolution'
The proposed improvements include places such as Burnley, Wigan, Sheffield, Bradford, Birmingham, Leicester and London. We are seeking to secure a combination of government and local authority funding for the schemes.
Towpaths are ideally located to provide traffic-free routes in and through many of the country’s towns and cities, connecting people and places. The proposed investment will support more active travel - investment in walking is the most green (sustainable) as well as most inclusive (equitable/affordable) option - reducing obesity and encouraging lifestyle changes to support better physical and mental health, notably in the many disadvantaged communities with waterways on their doorstep.
Richard Parry, our chief executive, said: "Many of Britain’s historic canal towpaths saw a significant increase in usage during lock-down as people stayed local and discovered these green/blue linear parks on their doorstep. Post lock-down, for the eight million people living by a canal, this trend has continued.
"There is a real opportunity to build upon this – in addition to the increases we’ve seen in people fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding and taking hire boat holidays with research showing time spent by water makes people healthier and happier. The proposed improvements will support travel.