British Waterways has launched the second phase of a two-stage, £500m programme of canal work, including nine new restoration projects and waterway schemes.
The programme covers 100 miles of waterways from London to the Lake District, and includes the Bedford and Milton Keynes waterway, the first canal to be built in the 21st-century.
The other eight projects are the Bow Back Rivers, a network of waterways for east London; the Cotswold Canal, to restore the link between the Severn with the Thames; an extension to the Liverpool section of the Leeds-Liverpool canal; the Droitwich Canals, a new 21-mile waterway cruising circuit connected to the river Severn; canals on the Foxton Inclined Plane, near Market Harborough; Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal; the Montgomery Canal and restoration of the Lancaster canal.
The first phase is to be funded and supported by partners including the Millennium Commission, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Waterways Trust, local authorities, volunteers and local communities.
The first phase of the programme is to be completed this year. It includes the restoration of 220 miles of canals and related structures, including the coast-to-coast Millennium Link in Scotland and the reconnection of Glasgow to Edinburgh by waterway.
Other projects in the first phase include the Rochdale canal, the Huddersfield narrow canal across the Pennines, and the Kennet and Avon canal, which connects the Thames to the Avon.