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 Tuesday, 7 January, 2003, 08:11 GMT
New canal 'would harm rowing'
Bedford Rowing Club
The 100-year-old club is concerned about the proposals
Ambitious plans to create a new waterway between Bedford and Milton Keynes have been criticised by rowers.

The Bedford Rowing Club says the scheme to create the UK's first entirely new canal for a century would harm the sport in the town.

The partnership behind the project says it would revitalise the local economy by creating leisure, business and employment opportunities.

But Gavin Dods, of the 100-year-old rowing club, said the influx of boats in the area could cause crowding.

Gavin Dods
Gavin Dods: Canal could cause crowding
"They're predicting possibly 4,000 boats are going to be using the canal link," he said.

"That's 4,000 people who perhaps aren't used to the river conditions here, who'll be mooring up in places that are going to be difficult and dangerous for rowers to get round."

The new 20-mile canal linking the River Great Ouse at Bedford and the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes is due to be built by 2010.

Several routes are under consideration, and the project is expected to cost between 80m and 150m.

A feasibility study suggested it would create 500 new permanent jobs and generate an extra 7m a year for the local economy from visitors.

The scheme is being coordinated by a partnership which includes local councils, British Waterways and the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterways Trust.


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29 Nov 02 | England
07 Dec 00 | Science/Nature
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