Many inland waterways were made navigable in the 18th and 19th centuries to facilitate the transport of goods.
Much of the waterway infrastructure, such as locks, aqueducts, tunnels and movable bridges, is still in place and forms an important part of the North Sea Region’s industrial heritage. The waterways also form a wetland ecological resource, which needs to be sensitively managed and can contribute postively to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Through Waterways for Growth we are investigating how these aspects can be balanced with developing the economic potential of the waterways. We are developing common approaches and structures to:
- Secure economic development while maintaining and enhancing the cultural heritage and natural environment of the waterways;
- Manage the waterway resource in an environmentally sustainable way, through, for example, the development and use of renewable energy;
- Secure engagement from a wide range of stakeholders in managing the resource – waterway organisations, local & regional authorities, tourism agents, businesses, users and owners of adjacent land.
- Stimulate sustainable water transport (both passenger and freight) on small inland waterways.