Canal & River Trust

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Canal & River Trust
trades as Glandwr Cymru (Waterside Wales) in Wales
Canal & River Trust.png
Motto Living waterways transform places and enrich lives.
Predecessor British Waterways
Formation 2 July 2012 (2012-07-02)
Merger of The Waterways Trust
Type Non-governmental organisation
Registration no. 1146792
Legal status Charitable trust
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.
Headquarters Milton Keynes
Region served
England and Wales
Friends of the Canal & River Trust scheme[1]
Official languages
English and Welsh
Chief Executive
Richard Parry
Allan Leighton
HRH The Prince of Wales
Main organ
Board of Trustees

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.[3] It is expected that the inland waterways currently managed by the Environment Agency will transfer to the trust in 2015.[4]



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.[citation needed]

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,[5] 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".[6][7][8] 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.[9] The trust received charitable status in April[10] and received parliamentary approval in June.[11] The change was originally set for 1 April 2012 but was later put back into June[4] 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.[12][13] 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.[14]


The trust is headed by a board of ten trustees, led by the chairman, which ensures the charity 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.[15]


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.[16]


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.[17]


The executive directors manage the everyday operation of the trust and develop policy and strategy for approval by the trustees.[18]


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.[19]

The trust's head office is in Milton Keynes. It also operates eleven local offices that deal with the general maintenance of the waterways in their area.[20] These offices are based on the Waterways Partnership regions which are:


The Trust receives a fixed grant from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the next 15 years.[21] 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 licences for boats using and mooring on the waterways [22] and has been given a funding pledge by the People's Postcode Lottery over £1m.

Supporters and corporate partners[edit]

The Prince of Wales is the patron of the Canal & River Trust and Brian Blessed supports the trust's volunteer appeal.[23]

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.[24]
  • 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.[25]
  • The Co-operative Bank and the Canal & River Trust work together to provide financial products that allow people to support the work of the Trust.[26]

Waterways operated[edit]

The Canal & River Trust is the owner or navigation authority for over 2,000 miles of waterways.[27] These are:


The Canal & River Trust operates several museums and visitor attractions that relate to canals and waterways.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Become a friend of the Canal & River Trust | Canal charity | Donate". Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Canal and River Trust takes over from British Waterways". Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  4. ^ a b "The inland waterways managed by the Environment Agency will transfer to the new waterways charity from 2015/16, subject to the next spending review and the agreement of the charity’s trustees." "Over £1 billion investment secures future of new waterways charity". Defra. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Budget plans to give British Waterways independence". BBC News. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "Canal and River Trust Timeline". (British Waterways). Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Leaked list suggests 180 quangos to be abolished". BBC News. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "Cabinet Office list dated the 26 August 2010, of quangos and other public bodies to be axed or merged by the coalition government..." (PDF). BBC News. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "New name for Britain's new waterways charity". Canal & River Trust (Originally published by British Waterways). 6 October 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Canal & River Trust gets charitable status". Third Sector. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Canal & River Trust Approved by Parliament". RYA. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Additional Functions". Developing Scottish Water. The Scottish Government. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Our Structure and Governance". Scottish Canals. 
  14. ^ "Canal and River Trust". The Waterways Trust. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "The Council". Canal & River Trust. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "Waterways Partnerships". Canal & River Trust. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Trustees". Canal & River Trust. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "Directors". Canal & River Trust. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "National Advisory Groups". Canal & River Trust. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Contacting your local office". Canal & River Trust. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Over £1 billion investment secures future of new waterways charity « Defra News". 2012-01-31. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  22. ^ "Licensing". Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  23. ^ "Waterways World". Waterways World. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  24. ^ "Canal & River Trust News | Major corporations pledge support to the Canal & River Trust". 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  25. ^ "Canal & River Trust gets first corporate partners on board". 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  26. ^ "Major players come on board ahead of Canal & River Trust launch - Towpath Talk Newspaper Magazine". Retrieved 2012-11-18. 
  27. ^ "Canals and Rivers". Canal and River Trust. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 

External links[edit]