HC Deb 09 November 1977 vol 938 cc122-3W
Mr. Weetch

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish the Fraenkal Report on the British Waterways Board's operating and maintenance costs ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Shore:

The report will be published today. The very extensive terms of reference are briefly summarised as being to assess the cost of operation and maintenance of all the waterways as required to comply with the board's statutory and other obligations. The report provides a very detailed analysis of the condition of the waterways controlled by the board. It shows that the board has not been able, within its available financial resources, to comply fully with those obligations, and it identifies a backlog of maintenance on the commercial and cruising waterways amounting to £37.6 million at 1974 prices—equivalent to about £60 million today—of which £3 million for urgent works should be spent within the immediately following three year period in the interests of public safety. The balance of the arrears should be dealt with over a further period of 12 years. Substantial expenditure is also recommended on arrears of maintenance in London, has met; what was the

These are very considerable sums, and as the White Paper on the water industry made clear, they have to be considered in the context of the future of the waterways and its relationship to the water industry.

Meanwhile the board has taken steps to deal with the most urgent problems within their existing resources. In addition, the Government made available an extra £600,000 early this year, and in August provided a further £750,000 to be spent in the current financial year specifically for arrears of urgent maintenance.

I have now approved as part of the £400 million construction package announced by the Chancellor a further

Date of construction
Pre 1890 1891–1918 1919–44 Post 1944 Total
England 17.4 14.1 23.2 45.3 100.0

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