Pleasure and profit from canals

Two thirds of British Waterways’ income is provided by government. Although BW has lately tried hard to increase its revenue, both through joint ventures in development projects, and by raising its charges to anglers, cruising boats, moorings, etc. to more realistic levels, prospects of straightforward privatisation must be slight, given the great shortfall in the income which BW generates for itself. Keith Boyfield, a Research Fellow of the CPS Nationalised Industries’ Study Group, proposes that BW should be split into three parts: a Trust primarily charged with conservation and the improvement of amenities, a Development Company run on entirely commercial criteria, and the regulatory functions transferred to the National Review Authority. The trust would own 49% of the development company, be represented on its board and derive much of its income from its dividends.


Keith Boyfield - Friday, 12th October, 1990