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Don't pull the plug on Lancaster canal restoration

October 28, 2008 12:00 AM

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and Shadow Secretary of state for DEFRA has asked the Government not to pull the plug on local canals by giving more to support Britain's inland waterways.

Waterways provide a number of benefits to the environment and many rural communities depend on the tourism that is drawn into their area by canals and other waterways.

Speaking in a debate in a Westminster Hall on 'Inland Waterways and Future Restorations', Mr Farron said:

"In my constituency - as in many others - efforts to improve the waterways are a key part of bigger plans for restoration.

"It would be unrealistic to assume that funding for British waterways will not be affected by the credit crunch; but British Waterways has already moved away from plans for restoration thanks to government pressure to prioritise expenditure. Now they are being told just to 'maintain' the existing system. Surely this is both short sighted and counterproductive?

"Plans put forward in my constituency for the restoration of the northern reaches of the Lancaster Canal would improve the surrounding environment and add a premium to residential and commercial properties. It will bring much needed investment and employment to our area. Surely, this is the time to be investing in schemes like this rather than continuing this downward trend in funding? "