Published: 10th June, 2011
by PETER GRUNER
THE Regent’s Canal, running through Islington, is a wasted asset that could be used to transport hundreds of tons of freight, according to a waterways campaigner.
Gerald Heward told a packed meeting of the Friends of the Regent’s Canal that he has devised a scheme to make more use of the capital’s 150 miles of waterways, which he has submitted to London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Up to 50 people attended the meeting at the Canal Museum at King’s Cross.
Mr Heward said that a number of large barges could transport 120 tons of Islington’s waste along the Regent’s Canal to where it connects with the River Lea, and on to the Edmonton incinerator. It would take the equivalent of six lorries off the road.
Britain’s 1,000 miles of canals were built 200 years ago to carry freight and sustain the industrial revolution.
Mr Heward, a member of the London Mayor’s Waterways Commission, added: “Today the greatest need is to get heavy lorries, which pump fumes into the air and cause traffic jams, off our roads. Canals, with their links to many boroughs like Islington and Camden, would be ideal as an alternative means of transport.”
Part of Mr Heward’s vision would be to stop heavy vehicles coming into London at canal points on the M25, where they would unload their wares onto canal barges.
“Canals are slow but not always as slow as being stuck in heavy traffic,” he said.
Regent’s Canal runs in an arc from Limehouse docks through a tunnel underneath the Angel, on through Camden to Little Venice and the basin at Paddington, connecting to canals in the Midlands and the West.