The Independent London Newspaper

 

Speaking up for canals

Published: 1st April, 2011

• MANY canal campaigners are pleased to hear the news that Assembly member Jenny Jones, of the London Greens, is standing against Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone in next year’s mayoral election. 

On a busy day just after the news was announced of her mayoral challenge, Ms Jones still found time to visit the Regent’s Canal in Islington to discuss waterway problems with the Regent’s Network.  

She knows London’s canals well, and only a couple of weeks ago was speaker at the Friends of Regent’s Canal meeting at the London Canal Museum at King’s Cross. She spoke with enthusiasm about the potential of London’s canals, and also of her disappointment that “London’s waterways are a neglected and wasted resource”.  

At a recent People’s Question Time, Mr Johnson was asked if he would consider taking over the management of London’s canals from British Waterways. He responded: “I’m keen on that. I like that idea”, but Ms Jones commented: “An absolutely brilliant idea. If we can have a budget as well as the waterways that would be fantastic, and I would put myself forward to chair that.” The canals’ management could not be in better hands than those of Ms Jones.

She suggested in a Green Party report, Deserted Highways, in 2004 that London’s canals were up for “a major comprehensive overhaul, which is urgently needed”. All these years later the urgency may have become a necessity.

The Greens’ report included ten recommendations for bringing the canals back to life and to make the whole network fully operational for transport while protecting nature and leisure activities, of which nine recommendations have still to be fulfilled.

There is a lot of work to be done in rescuing our canals and giving them a dependable future with some sound management. We can rely on Ms Jones to take a leading role, whatever the outcome is of the mayoral election. 
Del Brenner
Regent’s Network and the London Waterways Commission

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