Canal & River Trust in doubt

Published: Saturday, 14 January 2012

WE HAVE discovered that the new waterways charity, Canal & River Trust, will not come into being in April as promised, and there are serious doubts that it will ever come into being at all.

It is safeguards in the Public Bodies Act that will prevent British Waterways from becoming the Canal & River Trust  on the 1st April 2012, writes Allan Richards.

It is understood that the safeguards may delay the process by up to a year or even prevent it happening.

Transfer Order

The enabling legislation, the Public Bodies Act, was passed on 14th December. The Act allows ministers to transfer British Waterways' powers and obligations (in respect of its English and Welsh waterways) to Canal & River Trust.

However, any transfer order made will be subject to a super affirmative procedure requiring scrutiny by a select committee and approval by the House of Commons, the House of Lords the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

Parliamentary timetables

It has been suggested that pressure on parliamentary timetables will cause months of delay and that, depending on the select committee findings, the transfer may not be approved.

Whilst, no Press Release has been forthcoming, it is understood that British Waterways have been attempting to play down the delay by briefing selected journalists that Canal & River Trust will be just three months late.