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The charity making life better by water

Asset management

Find out how we care for our locks, bridges and other precious waterway assets with our Asset Management Strategy.

Richard Wakelen on the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

We have updated our Asset Management Strategy, Realising value from waterways, to account for feedback and learning from the first year of asset strategy work. Here, Richard Wakelen, our head of asset strategy and engineering services, explains more.

We have around 35,000 assets to look after and many of them have significant heritage value. Most are out in the open, exposed to the elements, and they all need maintenance to ensure they carry on working properly. Our challenge is to make sure we work on the right thing at the right time, so that people all over the country have the best experience possible on our waterways.

The asset management strategy is about gaining more insight and a clearer understanding of what we should do to ensure the sustainability of our precious inland waterways. We're taking a 10-20 year view, looking at everything in great detail so we can plan for any upcoming peaks of work. We don't want any surprises.

Putting people first

We're putting people first. Our canals and river navigations provide valuable open spaces where people can take time out of their busy lives and relax. We know that people are happier when they spend time near water. Therefore, we need to examine which of our assets have the greatest impact on those visiting the waterways, whether that's for boating, walking, fishing, cycling, picnicking, or any of the activities that people enjoy on our canals, rivers and towpaths.

In the future we want even more people to enjoy spending time on our canals and rivers. But for that to happen we need to ensure the waterways remain safe, open and accessible.

We're in the second year of a five-year programme covered by our Asset Management Strategy. We have recently updated the strategy in response to feedback from consultees and learning from work carried out in the first year of our programme.

The Asset Management Strategy

The strategy covers the period 2017 to 2021. It summarises how we operate and maintain our waterways and considers potential future requirements driven by changes in customer expectation, legislation and climate. It also explains what we are doing to improve our management of waterway assets for customers. Our aim is to ensure that we maintain our canals and river navigations, as best we can, so that they continue to contribute to personal and public well-being and we meet our vision for living waterways that transform places and enrich lives.

Read issue two of the strategy

Last Edited: 11 November 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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