Saturday, 24 January 2009

Dear Minister

Dear Minister
I have recently been in correspondence with the local council for Loughborough (Charnwood) about the condition of the towpath in the town. The nuts and bolts of which was about the level of dog fouling, the lack of bins and the lack of civic pride and action in clearing up the mess. I received the expected response that the towpath was the responsibility of British Waterways (BW) not the Council. The correspondent for the Council chose to miss my point that it is local residents, not boaters/licence payers, that walk 'local' dogs that create the mess. This is a circular argument that will go on and on unless someone 'at the top' resolves these silly turf wars re funding and responsibility. Towpaths are a tremendous facility that have been adopted by non-boaters for recreation, be it walking or jogging or cycling or fishing; and quite rightly so. But the cost of maintaining the towpaths falls squarely on the BW budget. So while BW install dog mess bins and teams to clean up after lazy local residents, remove graffiti from historic bridges, household waste and shopping trolleys from the navigation as a boater I don't get a lock gate replaced, dredging done and vegetation cut back! It cannot be beyond the wit of man to put in place a satisfactory financial protocol that achieves its end, i.e. excellent facilities for all users of urban towpaths. Perhaps you are the 'man at the top' who can find a solution rather than simply bat the 'problem' somewhere else....I truly hope so.
yours sincerely

Lesley K


Pip - nb Windsong said...

Wow Lesley! - well said that woman!!
I think I'm going to get you to write all my letters of complaint in future - you have a wonderful turn of phrase that I would never be able to match - you are my hero (heroine? - whatever!)

Lesley K Nb Caxton said...

Why thank you Pip!! An undeserved but nevertheless welcome compliment.

Steve said...

Sounds the same as Braunston - where the dog bin was overflowing by local walkers (see my blog down to BW to clear up whilst the local authorities walked on past...
I vote from now on - instead of using BW bins for rubbish and dog waste, we walk it to the local municipal bins and deposit there...

BigJohn said...

Are you a member of Save Our Waterways, Lesley? - That is exactly the sort of issue they have been lobbying on.
Your email is just the sort of thing that the new minister needs to hear, and hopefully will think about, and pass up the line to the inter-departmental committee.
I could see the steam (not on the "pick up after your dog" image)!

Will on board said...


Brilliant stuff Lesley!

Trying to change this attitude is one of the main campaign platforms of SOW.

Like you, we agree that it is outrageous that local authorities are happy to take advantage of the amenties provided by BW but refuse to take care of them.

In a recent FoI request to BW, they supplied me with a breakdown of what it costs to clean up after local residents and it looks like it is between £7-10 million a year. Anti-social behaviour (grafitti, fly tipping, vandalism to locks etc) costs the best part of a million!

You might also ask a Minister at DCLG to comment (Communities and Local Government).

I am tempted to issue a press release to the local media too.


Will Chapman
Chairman, Save Our Waterways

Del and Al said...

Go Girl!!! we're behind you 100% of the way......

Lesley K Nb Caxton said...

Big John and Will
I am not a member of SOW but perhaps I should be?