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Inland Waterways

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans there are to appoint an independent regulator to oversee the interests of inland waterway users. [100206]

I am not convinced of the need for a regulator. British Waterways and other navigation authorities are already subject to the general law against anti-competitive practice. I know that the Inland Waterways Association has written to British Waterways suggesting that it would be preferable to set up a new appeal procedure to deal with waterway managers' decisions. I understand that British Waterways is willing to consider this suggestion and I think that it should be fully explored. It may be possible to extend any agreed arrangements to other navigation authorities.