Waterways in Crisis: Government announces reduced funding for the Canal & River Trust

The current Government funding agreement for the Canal & River Trust ends in four year’s time. The current annual grant of £52.6 million a year represents about a quarter of the Trust’s income, the rest coming mainly from user licences, mooring charges, income from land holdings and charitable donations. As the grant is fixed and does not increase with inflation, it is already causing financial problems for the Trust and we are already seeing indications of spending restraints despite increases in volunteers taking on many roles.

On 10th July the Government announced the funding for the next ten year period commencing in 2027. Although they accept that the Canal & River Trust has provided value for money since its takeover from the nationalised British Waterways in 2012 the Government states that the Trust should not need Government support and should seek other forms of funding. They have, therefore, said that the grant will be reduced to £50 million in 2027 and be cut by 5% each year after that. At the end of the period in 2037 the annual grant will have reduced to £31.5 million. In total this means that the Canal & River Trust will lose £320m. This comes as maintenance costs for ageing canal infrastructure – 200-year-old plus locks, aqueducts, reservoirs, embankments – is increasing due to climate change with more periods of drought and extreme storm events. Such a drastic decrease in funds will inevitably result in a decline in the overall condition of our waterway network, and, alarmingly, the possibility of canal closures. It puts at risk invaluable natural habitats, historic infrastructure and cherished public spaces.

The Trust believes that the substantial reduction in support will mean that maintenance will have to be cut back and there are likely to be canal closures. The Northern canals and navigations with their low number of boats and high maintenance costs are most at risk.  As it stands we are facing an existential threat to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Please write to your local MP telling them how much you care about the canals and why they need to be funded properly. Urge the Government to reconsider their decision and protect our waterways for the future.

And how can you do it?

The best way is for you to email or mail your MP with your own thoughts. Personal representations are always best. Alternatively you can go to the Canal & River Trust website and follow the links here:




Weather permitting, from Saturday 9th our boat will be running from 11 to 3 every Saturday & Sunday right up to and including Christmas Eve.

Santa will be in his grotto in The Watersedge café all three weekends before Christmas too, 11 to 3 each day. Please note all children must be accompanied by an adult.

New wash wall and moorings in Slaithwaite

These three pictures taken in April 2023 show the extent of the new wash wall and moorings.


View back towards the village.

Planters add an attractive feature to the approach to guillotine lock 24E. Empire Brewing provides the backdrop.

View upstream from lock 23E


Tunnel End Music Festival

The Canal & River Trust ran a successful music festival at Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre on Sunday 31st July 2022. After morning rain the sun came out and the site filled up with families enjoying the music, sampling food from the various stalls and of course taking a trip on water. The Huddersfield Canal Society had both shuttle boats operating and the crews worked hard all afternoon until the last visitors left around 7pm.