Campaign group Fund Britain’s Waterways has announced it is planning a weekend of action over the UK’s May Day holiday weekend from 4-6 May 2024. The aim of the weekend’s activities is to raise awareness of the current challenges facing Britain’s canals and rivers.
The group, which was launched in June 2023, has created a coalition of over 100 member organisations, representing hundreds of thousands of users and supporters of inland waterways. A public petition has astonishingly attracted nearly 50,000 signatures.
The group has organised three campaign cruises which will take place in Birmingham, Gloucester, and past the Palace of Westminster on the River Thames. Fund Britain’s Waterways says the weekend of action and protest will ‘highlight the impact of insufficient funding’ for the UK’s 5,000 miles of inland waterways.
The action is planned to take place across the country on waterways managed by different inland navigation authorities. It will coincide with the Inland Waterway Associaton’s annual Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice in London, which will be themed on Fund Britain’s Waterways this year. The campaign group says boaters attending Cavalcade are invited to join a campaign cruise past the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 8 May 2024, as the culmination of the weekend of action.
In a statement, the group adds: ‘Parliamentarians will be encouraged to view the event and express their support for the continued maintenance of the waterways to enable them to keep on delivering economic, health, environmental and well-being benefits.’
Fund Britain’s Waterways (FBW) is a coalition of organisations representing hundreds of thousands of users and supporters of inland waterways. They are campaigning for national and local government to act now and protect the public benefit and natural capital of the UK waterways. Responsibility for managing Britain’s 5,000 miles of navigable inland waterways is fragmented between different organisations. The Canal & River Trust is the largest with 2,000 miles.