Thank you to all of you who have supported our #KeepCanalsAlive campaign so far. We are pleased to say it’s being heard, and confident it’s making a difference.
In July 2023, we launched our #KeepCanalsAlive campaign, urging people to write to their MPs to voice their support for maintaining a safe and thriving canal network in England and Wales which will continue to provide many benefits for many different people, as well as for the environment.
The campaign was launched in response to the Government's announcement of cuts to their future funding of the Trust and the continued lack of provision for inflation. With no rise for inflation from 2021 to 2037, plus annual cuts of 5% year on year from 2027, this comes to a reduction of over £300 million in funding, in real terms over a ten-year period, compared to recent levels.
Image caption: Canal & River Trust Chief Executive, Richard Parry (left), and Director of Communications and External Relations, Susie Mather (right), meet with Holly Lynch (centre), MP for Halifax.
Your incredible action has resulted in just shy of 12,000 emails sent to over 600 MPs across the country. This was a tremendous show of support that put our funding firmly onto the political agenda. We have been enormously encouraged by the response from these MPs and other political stakeholders, many of whom have expressed their concern about the future threat to our canals by writing to DEFRA or speaking out in both Houses of Parliament as well as in the media.Media
This is alongside wide coverage on news channels like Sky News, ITV News, and BBC Radio 4's Today programme and in the national and regional press, as well as online opportunities such as on David Johns' 'Cruising the Cut' vlog. Our charity’s chief executive, Richard Parry, has been providing further insights into the implications of the announcement and raising awareness of the need to fund our canal network adequately. As the situation became clearer, we received many letters and comments from readers, councillors and MPs, expressing their support for the Trust.MPs
In recent weeks, we have hosted many MPs who wished to visit their own local stretch of canal to better understand the work we do as a charity, to ensure our canal network is well maintained and protected for future generations. This is a heartening response that ensures your voice is being heard. The real threats that canal closures could pose – to our health and wellbeing, nature recovery, biodiversity, heritage and local prosperity – are being recognised by the right people.
We also spoke to MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates during the recent conference season to highlight the need for continued support.Thank you
A huge thank you again to everyone who has taken part in #KeepCanalsAlive already, and please continue to raise awareness by sharing this message far and wide and we’ll continue to fight for our canal network.