The renaissance envisaged by the government is intended to lead to a regeneration of local communities worth up to£1bn over a decade, with funds coming from public-private partnerships. There will not, however, be any new government money.
A policy document published today says the government wants to 'increase the economic and social benefits offered by the waterways ... by promoting them as a catalyst for urban and rural regeneration'.
Mr Prescott wants to restore the 3,160 miles of canals in England and Wales to thier 18th century heyday. A British Waterways executive said canals should be at the heart of a 'social revolution', reviving deprived urban and rural areas with waterside housing and business developments.