Thursday, 17 September 2009

*England canal system

From Karen Varga:

As someone who has lived on a narrow boat until very recently, it is a fascinating subject, can be a brilliant way of life, has a very rich heritage and the waterways can be beautiful, educational and interesting from an ecological point of view but the canal network is suffering from lack of maintenance due to cuts in funding by DEFRA, and British Waterways is potentially going to be part privatised. Living on a narrow boat as a way of life is something that is being eroded by the government too due to under funding, poor management and a system that favours the wealthy (moorings are now auctioned to the highest bidder and a lot of old moorings are being rebuilt with very strict rules about ages and conditions of the boats on the new moorings to favour new, expensive boats). If you don't have a mooring and don't continuously move around (difficult with children at school) you can have your boat seized and sold or crushed. In the economic climate with people losing their homes (as I did) or trying to find a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to the modern way of life it could be a great way of life (but quite hard work too) and a source of investment into the waterways - but as always it is sadly being mis-managed on various levels on a capitalist agenda. It is very sad for those who know and love the waterways and the way of life.

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