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CANALS TO PLAY THEIR PART IN URBAN AND RURAL REGENERATION

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John Prescott, the environment secretary, will today unveil a new government strategy which will proclaim a new 'go...
John Prescott, the environment secretary, will today unveil a new government strategy which will proclaim a new 'golden age' for the nation's canals, reports The Financial Times (p2).

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.

The policy document, Waterways for tomorrow, urges the regional development agencies to develop plans to revive the canals. It also suggests that more freight should be transported by boat in order to ease road traffic congestion.
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