Published: 17 January, 2013
• WELL done Richard Rutter of the Canal & River Trust for highlighting the hidden costs of moving materials by road (Canal vs lorries row may go to court, January 10).
His comment is well timed, because elsewhere in his organisation a freight advisory group is being established, and with any luck the trust will have made a new year resolution to recognise and promote the waterways for their true worth as a transport network.
It is encouraging that the government has set guidelines for switching transportation from road to rail or water but, once again, it seems to be relying on Big Society to enforce those guidelines. It could take years to change mindsets, so we really need to catalyse the debate now and to get people in supply chains to think outside the box. It’s not just the haulage and construction companies who can set an example; in a few years King’s Cross Central could be buzzing with wine bars and pottery shops, and there is enormous potential for moving supplies and waste by water. Perhaps the residents and consumers could be the driving force behind any modal shift.
Whether it takes weeks or years to persuade people to use the canal for its original purpose, there is one thing we need to protect right now and that is its access points. If we lose any more of our loading bays the canal will become yet another of London’s red routes.
Friends of Regent’s Canal