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Save the Canals and the Festival

If you're just interested in the music side of the Festival you may have missed this, but it's important for all of us. The Government has decided to cut funding for maintenance of the canal system by around 15% so that it can pay a fine to the EU for its mismanagement of payments to farmers. No, we don't see the connection either, other than it's all handled by Defra. There was a nationwide canal-blocking protest on November 25, with more planned in January and February. Let's hope someone in government sits up and takes notice. They paid a lot of money in recent years to restore and refurbish sections of the waterways system, encouraging people to use the canals and the towpaths, and now all that is going for nothing.

If you still don't think it's of interest: we have already lost two moorings on the Trent and Mersey canal near the Kings Lock because of erosion to the bank, and British Waterways has no idea when it will be able to afford to repair the erosion - and once the bank starts giving way you can bet it's not going to stop there. Besides those coming specifically to the Boat Festival, many of our artists, stallholders and visitors use the canal system to get to Middlewich and to stay over the weekend. Every mooring lost is potentially a visitor lost - and just pray nothing happens to any of the locks. So join the protest, write to your MP, do anything you can. MFAB relies heavily on the canal system for the success of the Festival and its contribution to tourism in the area. We can't afford to lose that aspect of the event.

For more details go to www.waterways.org.uk or www.saveourwaterways.org.uk