On 24th January I wrote to Huw Irranca Davies the Waterways Minister, about the state of the towpath in Loughborough citing the trite response I had received from the Charnwood Council. Today, one month later, I have received a response - well not so much a response as a bit of a communications faux pas actually. I was inadvertently forwarded the contributions of a number of people that had been asked to comment on my e-mail so that the Minister could then reply but, I was not sent the final reply.
Below - no names, to protect the truthful - a contribution about Loughborough local authority from BW.
1. "The writer (that would be me) is correct in that dog waste bin provision along Loughborough’s towpaths is limited. I’m not sure whether this is something that we necessarily want to include in any response but BW will install bins where we can secure local authority agreement to empty them but in previous attempts we’ve unfortunately not been able to achieve such an agreement in Loughborough – which I guess reflects the issue that the writer makes."
And from a Defra person..
2. "It’s actually quite a good letter (praise indeed) and the response (Charnwood Council response) is a bit Sir Humphrey-ish!
There followed a number of comments about getting volunteer groups to clean up, getting into bed with Bill Bryson's campaign to raise awareness about litter and the need to change people's
And here is my rejoinder to Defra
I have been sent this amalgam of attempts to wordsmith an answer to my e-mail to Hugh Irranca Davies. The final 'answer' was not attached by the way. There is nothing in these musings that leads me to think that the Minister has any influence at all in bringing about a resolution to the trite turf wars re funding of urban stretches of towpath. Reiterating the words and thoughts of the letter writer might work for some correspondents but it is clearly not the response I was hoping for. I wanted to hear of ACTION taken. I wanted to hear that the Minister had been able to influence Charnwood Council, or at the very least had spoken to Hazel Blears as the Minister responsible for Local Government, to get Loughborough to shoulder responsibility for their residents in this matter and that this approach has been rolled out to all local authorities that have navigation's passing through them. I guess I wanted to receive a can-do response instead of a list of carefully crafted but limp reason why things won't change.
Yours most sincerely