Michael Fabricant, Patron of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and Inland Waterways Parliamentarian of the Year, says: "The restructuring of British Waterways as a charity secures the continued maintenance of our canal system throughout Birmingham, Staffordshire, and the West Midlands.
"There had been concern that the Government plans to eliminate costly Government Quangos would also see the death of British Waterways who maintain our canals and tow paths. But, thankfully, this is not to be. Our canal system generates large overseas tourist earnings, encourages wildlife, and maintains the environment and will continue to be maintained."
Robin Evans, Chief Executive of British Waterways, says: "We have called for this move for the last 18 months and the idea has widespread stakeholder and cross party support. We believe this is great news for the waterways, securing investment and giving local people a greater role in the running of their canals and rivers."
And Tony Hales, the Chairman of British Waterways says:
"The waterways have been utterly transformed for the better since British Waterways was established in 1962 and are now used in ways in which their original builders could never have imagined. That transformation has owed much to the enthusiastic staff and stakeholders who love the waterways passionately. Moving the waterways from public ownership into a charitable body recognises the need to build on that enthusiasm and marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in their 250-year history."