Canal & River Trust
|Motto||Keeping people, nature and history connected.|
|Formation||2 July 2012|
|Purpose||Responsible for 2,000 miles of canals, rivers, docks and reservoirs, along with museums, archives and the country's third largest collection of protected historic buildings.|
|England and Wales|
|Membership||Friends of the Canal & River Trust scheme|
HRH The Prince of Wales
|Board of Trustees|
|Remarks||Charity No. 1146792|
The Canal & River Trust is a charitable trust that was set up to look after the waterways of England and Wales. The transfer of ownership from the previous government-owned operator, British Waterways, took place on 2 July 2012. It is expected that the inland waterways currently managed by the Environment Agency will transfer to the trust in 2015.
The Canal & River Trust was created because of difficulties faced by the charity's predecessor, the government-owned British Waterways. As a statutory corporation, British Waterways was subject to grant cuts and short-termism from government and received few grants from charitable sources. As a result by 2009 British Waterways had a budget deficit of £30m and sought a solution. They were seeking a larger, more secure income while creating a greater role for volunteers and the waterway community. A new charitable trust would fulfil this role: new income would be found through donations, grants and a fixed grant from the government, the waterways would be underwritten by a substantial property endowment, while volunteers and donors would be more inclined towards a charity than a government quango.
As a result British Waterways began to look at a change to a charitable trust, a plan which gained momentum when, in the March 2010 Budget, the government announced that BW would become a mutual organisation, and later in September when BW was listed on a leaked list of Quangos to be abolished stating "Abolish as [a non-departmental public body] and mutualise". BW's fate was confirmed the following month by British Waterways.
In October 2011, British Waterways announced the new name and logo for the charity that would succeed its operations in England and Wales – Canal & River Trust for England and Glandwr Cymru (Waterside Wales) for Wales. The trust received charitable status in April and received parliamentary approval in June. The change was originally set for 1 April 2012 but was later put back into June before the final date was chosen. On 2 July all of British Waterways' assets and responsibilities in England and Wales were transferred to the Canal & River Trust, which officially launched on 12 July. In Scotland British Waterways continues to operate as a standalone public corporation under the trading name Scottish Canals. Later that year, the Canal & River Trust merged with the England and Wales operations of The Waterways Trust, a charity previously affiliated to British Waterways, to avoid confusion and as both charities have similar aims.
The trust is headed by a board of ten trustees, led by the chairman, which ensures the charities meets its objectives and sets the strategy of the trust. The trust also has a thirty-five member, partly elected council which discusses the business of the trust and ensures that all users of the waterways in all areas are represented. There are also seven directors that concern themselves with the ordinary running of the trust.
The Canal & River Trust has a governing council of thirty-five members. Members of the first council include a mix of nominated and elected individuals. While trustees are responsible for determining policy and strategy, the council helps shaping policy, raising and debating issues, providing guidance, perspective and a sounding board for the trustees.
For each of the trust’s eleven waterway areas there is a regional partnership drawn from local communities. In addition an all-Wales partnership will consider issues relating to Welsh waterways and a separate partnership exists for the trust's museums and attractions.
The trustees are legally responsible for ensuring that the trust works towards its charitable objectives. Trustees are the unpaid board directors of the trust, they take collective decisions on policy and overarching strategy and provide oversight of the executive directors.
The executive directors manage the everyday operation of the trust and develop policy and strategy for approval by the trustees.
The trust is supported through a number of advisory committees covering a range of different areas from freight and navigation to volunteering and heritage. These groups will provide advice direct to the management of the trust.
The trust, in addition to its Milton Keynes head office also operates fourteen local offices that deal with the general maintenance of the waterways in their area. These offices are based on the Waterways Partnership regions which are:
- Central Shires region, based at Fazeley, Staffordshire
- East Midlands region, based at Newark, Nottinghamshire
- Kennet & Avon region, based in Devizes, Wiltshire
- Manchester and Pennine region, based in Stoke-on-Trent; Stalybridge, Greater Manchester and Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
- North East region, based in Leeds
- North Wales and Borders region, based at Northwich, Cheshire
- North West region, based at Wigan, Greater Manchester and at Bradford, West Yorkshire
- South East region, based at Milton Keynes and at Braunston, Northamptonshire
- South Wales and Severn region, based in Gloucester
- West Midlands region, based at Fazeley and in Birmingham
The Trust receives a fixed grant from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the next 15 years. Its major other sources of income are from utilities (including fibreoptics and water sales) and property rentals from a £500m property endowment granted by Government. It also receives an income from issuing licenses for boats using and mooring on the waterways  and has been given a funding pledge by the People's Postcode Lottery over £1m.
Supporters and corporate partners
The Prince of Wales is the patron of the Canal & River Trust and Brian Blessed supports the trust's volunteer appeal. In June 2012 the trust announced three major corporate partners to support the Canal & River Trust:
Google partnered with the Canal & River Trust to include the UK’s towpaths on Google Maps. This includes highlighting access points, bridges, locks and tunnels. Once the project is complete, members of the public will have the ability to plan journeys that include canal and river towpaths as well as roads.
The People's Postcode Lottery pledged to support the Canal & River Trust with £1m of funding. The charity lottery promised to support the restoration and conservation work of the Canal & River Trust over the next decade through the Postcode Green Trust.
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- "Canals and Rivers". Canal and River Trust. Retrieved 2 September 2013.