According to a new report published by the London Assembly, London needs a co-ordinated approach to the management of her rivers, canals and lakes in order to increase usage of the capital’s waterways.
According to the Assembly Environment Committee’s ‘The Heart of London’ report responsibility for the ‘Blue Ribbon Network’ has been shared by a multiplicity of organisations and agencies making it difficult to develop an overall strategy for promoting the waterways.
The report states that the Mayor’s ‘London Plan’ sets out guidelines on how the waterways should be developed and some good progress has been made, but implementation of the policies must be given much greater priority.
A range of planning applications and decisions aroused controversy and dispute where it was believed the policies did not seem to have been enforced. Members are therefore concerned that the newly established ‘London Waterways Commission’ must tackle such issues forcefully and not be just another ‘talking shop’.
Tony Arbour AM, who led the investigation said: “The London Olympics create unprecedented opportunities to maximise use of the Thames and other water courses in the capital for tourism, recreation, public transport and freight.
This is the spur that is needed to really get a grip on how London’s watercourses are managed. Urgene decisions must be made soon if we are to stand any chance at all of getting more freight back on the River. We’ve got to grasp the nettle and get everyone working together so that London’s biggest open space provides a wonderful legacy for the future.”