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Inland Waterways

Volume 492: debated on Friday 8 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many miles of British Waterways’ canals have (a) leakage and (b) erosion. (273300)

It is impossible to quantify leakage in this way. Where leaks occur, they can be potentially very serious and lead to breaches. British Waterways therefore acts quickly to plug any leaks when they are identified. Some seepage is, however, natural on both canals and rivers. With regard to erosion, canals are by definition man-made, engineered structures which do not suffer from erosion—as opposed to wear and tear—in the same way as rivers. This is in part due to the materials used in their construction, the slower flow of water and the strict speed limit imposed on waterway craft.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what procedures British Waterways use to record the number of water vehicles using its canals. (273304)

British Waterways (BW) keep a register of licensed boats. All boats on its waterways must have a licence. BW patrols the waterways regularly to check for unlicensed boats. It also publishes an ‘online boat checker’ where members of the public can check whether a particular boat has a valid licence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of narrowboats which used British Waterways’ canals in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2006-07. (273305)

British Waterways does not separate narrowboats from other types of boats in its regular statistics. The total number of boats licensed in each of these years is as follows:

(a) 32,566

(b) 30,905

Note:

Figures provided by British Waterways