Below is my second e-mail, sent today, to Huw Irranca Davies the Waterways Minister, about urban towpaths.
Thank you for the attached reply to my e-mail.
You ask if your response addresses my concerns; no it doesn't. In fact sadly, it doesn't even come close. What action has been taken as a result of me bringing this matter to the Minister's attention, any?
The towpath in Loughborough is liberally scattered with dog excrement - there are almost no bins because the Local Authority, Charnwood, is unwilling to enter into any form of partnership with British Waterways about emptying them. You can quote legislation until the cows come home but that does not clear up the towpath and it does not resolve petty turf wars re funding. That needs the imagination of the Minister and their Ministerial Colleagues, Hazel Blears for instance.
My concerns will be addressed when urban towpaths in general are in a good state of repair and free from both litter and dog waste. Local people using the amenity will not modify their behaviour because we wring our hands and wish them to - litter bins and dog waste bins regularly emptied, graffitti regularly cleaned up and vandalism actively countered might do the trick however and that definitely is not the sole preserve of Britsh Waterways to fund and action. So, can this be looked at again with a view to resolving the fundamental problem of where the funding and responsibilities should lie?
Perhaps Huw might like to invite the Chairman of Charnwood Council to accompany him on a walk along the towpath? Be careful where you step though.