Why Canal and Waterway Heritage Matters
Waterways benefits, canal restoration, volunteers & societies
Millions of hours of work by thousands of volunteers supported by millions of pounds of charitable grants helped to save our wonderful canal system from dereliction.
But there’s growing concern that cuts to government funding to the waterways sector are leading to reduction of maintenance standards and deteriorating conditions of many waterways, and that many could slip back into dereliction. Recent reports emphasize the enormous economic and social benefits of our waterways that help enrich all our lives. CRT estimated that ‘the combined annual economic and social value of the waterways amounts to £6.1bn. The IWA report that ‘500 miles of derelict waterways have been restored since the 1960s. Along with the rest of the navigable network, they provide tangible benefits to the tens of millions of people who live, work and play beside them.’
As well as a vital leisure industry canals are now acknowledged to provide real welfare benefits to the tens of millions of people who live, work and play beside them.
Our canals and waterways create accessible green linear parkways, extending across wide varieties of landscape, often reaching right into city centres.
Canal Restoration is a great success story, bringing back over 500 miles of closed or derelict canals into use since 1960. Another 500 miles awaits restoration.
Canal volunteers and societies were central to the regeneration of the canals and they now are an integral part of supporting and maintaining waterways.