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Mayor Dave Hodgson Elected Chair of New Body to Lead Canal Project

May 30, 2010 9:25 PM
Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruern in Northamptonshire.

The Bedford to Milton Keynes Canal would see Bedford linked to the Grand Union Canal from the River Great Ouse via a new 26km waterway

Liberal Democrat Mayor Dave Hodgson has been elected as Chair of the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterways Consortium, a new body set up to take on the leadership of the exciting Bedford to Milton Keynes Canal project. The consortium, which is comprised of the eleven key partners working together to deliver the project, was established this week and elected Dave Hodgson as Chair at its inaugural meeting.

The establishment of the consortium sees the new body take on the leadership of the project to build the UK's first major new canal for 200 years from the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterways Trust. Under the leadership of the charitable trust the project to date has made progress through, for example, the protection of the entire 26km route between Bedford and Milton Keynes in local and regional plans. With the project now having reached a stage beyond the management capabilities of a volunteer trust, the consortium comprising key partners such as Bedford Borough and Milton Keynes Councils, the Environment Agency, British Waterways and the trust itself has been formed with the intention of achieving further progress.

The Consortium's first decision has been to appoint Liberal Democrat Mayor Dave Hodgson as its Chair, and he is looking forward to the task ahead. Commenting, he said: "The creation of the new Consortium is an exciting development for the canal project. Clearly the delivery of the canal is very much a long-term goal. However, as Chair of the Consortium I am looking forward to bringing the key partners together to identify and capitalise on opportunities to make progress for the project. All action we take in, for example, securing the route and protecting it from development, accessing external funding and complementing other environmental projects along the route will have real benefits for local communities, in terms of leisure opportunities, economic growth and the local environment.'

"I would like to congratulate the Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterways Trust for their tireless work to date, and I look forward to working with them and other partners in the Consortium in pursuing this exciting this exciting project."

The founding members of the Consortium are:

Bedford Borough Council

Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust

British Waterways

Central Bedfordshire Council

Environment Agency

Marston Vale Trust

Milton Keynes Council

Milton Keynes Parks Trust

Milton Keynes Partnership

Milton Keynes South Midlands

Renaissance Bedford