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The BBC's Rupert Segar
"Canals are enjoying something of a renaissance"
 real 28k

Sunday, 4 June, 2000, 06:44 GMT 07:44 UK
Facelift for neglected canals

Lottery cash is expected to help save some of the UK's canals
Many of Britain's forgotten canals are to be re-opened under a multi-million pound revitalisation scheme.

British Waterways, the organisation which runs most of the country's inland waterways, plans to rescue hundreds of miles of canals with the latest initiative.

Activities such as boating, walking and angling will be restored along large rundown stretches, says the organisation's chief executive, David Fletcher.

Funding will come from the formation of a charitable trust which hopes to tap into lottery funds.

Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Secretary John Prescott is expected to give the plans the go-ahead next month.

Mr Fletcher told BBC 1's Countryfile programme: "We want to give the canals back to the people."

While around a thousand miles of British canals are navigable, a further thousand miles have either been neglected or filled in.

The new scheme will breathe life into around a dozen canals.

Fresh funds

Among those earmarked to benefit are the Lancaster, Rochdale and Cotswolds canals, the River Ribble and the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The initiative will be launched through a charitable trust called the Waterways Trust, which British Waterways hopes will unlock the extra funds needed.

"A charitable trust will enable us to tap into money from the Lottery, Europe or local councils - funds that are denied to us as a public corporation," said Mr Fletcher.

BBC 1's Countryfile is broadcast at 1100 BST on Sunday.

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See also:

13 Sep 99 | Scotland
Prescott makes canal splash
21 Jul 99 | Sci/Tech
Canals making a comeback
18 Feb 99 | UK
Cash help for UK canals
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