Canal Link was supported through the Interreg IIIB North Sea Region programme. It ran from 2003 to 2006 and involved 8 partners from 6 countries around the North Sea – UK, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands & Belgium.
It had three objectives:
- The development of water tourism links between partner regions across the North Sea;
- The development and expansion of the region’s recreational waterway network;
- The promotion and development of economic activity and entrepreneurship, based on tourism and the cultural heritage of inland waterways.
Canal Link delivered a range of projects in partner areas, together with a series of jointly-delivered transnational actions and left a legacy through:
- Raising the profile of recreational waterways at EU, national and regional levels;
- Creating and developing on-going partnerships within regions
- Generating momentum for the implementation of and investment in waterway projects after the end of Canal Link
- Developing new and innovative practices eg. new tourism facilities along waterway corridors
An important output was the commitment from partners to make sure further on-going cooperation between many of the Canal Link partners continued through the later Waterways for Growth (Interreg IVB North Sea Region), Waterways Forward (Interreg IVC) and Green & Blue Futures (Interreg IVB North West Europe) Interreg projects.
These relationships and joint working have proved very successful and co-operation continues to this day – including through participation in, and development and promotion of NIWE.
Crosscut was supported through the Interreg IIIB North West Europe Region programme and ran from 2004 until early 2008. The partnership consisted of 8 partners from 4 countries (Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands & UK), under the leadership of British Waterways (now Canal & River Trust)
Within the EU, considerable work had been undertaken to develop a trans-European network of high-capacity freight waterways. Crosscut aimed to extend this approach to recreational waterways and identify gaps and bottlenecks in the region’s transnational network of canals and navigable rivers. It aimed to safeguard and develop the recreational waterway network within the North West Europe region and demonstrate how this could be done in a sustainable way but wanted to help ensure that environmental and cultural heritage of the waterways is maintained and enhanced.
The project then went on to investigate how these gaps and bottlenecks can be removed in a sustainable way, through implementing a series of demonstration projects on the partner waterways to address specific issues. At the same time, these demonstration projects undertook restoration work on some of the partner waterways, thus helping remove some of the gaps and bottlenecks in the network.
Pilot actions undertaken by the partners in Crosscut explored the issues involved and sought to develop sustainable solutions. Specific actions investigated: –
- The impacts of recreational boating on canal ecology & biodiversity;
- The ecological restoration and management of canal banks, quay walls and channels;
- Wider corridor development i.e. the integration of waterways with the urban and rural areas through which they pass;
- Promotion of the waterways as a tourism and educational resource; and
- Community involvement and participation.
A key output was the Crosscut (2003-08) Final Report
Waterways for Growth was developed under the Interreg IVB North Sea Region programme and ran from 2009 – 2012 It brought together 14 partners from 6 countries surrounding the North Sea – Belgium (Flanders), Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Partners included national waterway agencies, regional and local authorities and tourism development bodies. The project was led by Canal & River Trust
Waterways for Growth was supported by pilot actions carried out in the partner areas under three themes:
- Business and product development
- Waterway regeneration
- Sustainable management of the waterways
A key overall output of the project was the development of a transnational Framework for the sustainable development of inland waterways. Drawing upon the project results, this suggested a way forward for the on-going development of the region’s waterways, by building on their multi-functional role. It was intended that all or some of the proposed measures and actions in the Framework could be taken forward, at a European, national, regional or local level.
Partners identified several themes and potential actions as priorities for future cooperation at a transnational level, ranging from exchange of knowledge to joint development and implementation of policy, approaches and actions. They also identified several investment priority themes identified for future structural fund cooperation under proposals for ERDF, ESF and European Territorial Cooperation for 2014-20;
- Business development & entrepreneurship, especially in terms of SMEs
- Climate change
- Protecting the environment and protecting, promoting & developing cultural heritage
- Sustainable transport
- Attractive & sustainable communities – promoting social inclusion and combating poverty
- Education, skills & life-long learning
Waterways Forward (WF) was an INTERREG IVC project with 17 partners from 11 or European countries, regions and Norway and Serbia Running from 2010 to 2012 it explored the opportunities to reinforce the importance of Inland Waterways for regional economic development. The knowledge exchange and experience was centred around two overarching topics: climate change and environmental protection and governance.
Partners concentrated on the role of the smaller regional waterways (i.e. less than Class IV), as opposed to the high capacity TEN-T network. However, many of the opportunities and issues discussed were just as applicable to these larger dimension waterways.
Partners ‘suggested a way forward for maximising the contribution that waterways can make to the future of Europe’ and produced a series of outputs. The Paper on Policy Recommendations was the final and most important output. All 11 policy recommendations were fully supported by all 17 WF project partners.
The Policy Recommendations set out suggested adjustments to EU and national, regional, local-level policy measures based on the experience and evidence gathered and discussed by the WF partners during the project. The recommendations were developed and agreed at WF Coordination Meetings and Master Classes. Partners wrote Regional Action Plans (RAPs) and these findings also served as an input for the recommendations
There was strong bottom up support for these recommendations and input from relevant policy sectors and businesses on ‘Regional Stakeholder Platforms’ was a good indication of the interest in, and importance of, the topic.
The recommendations were intended to achieve much broader recognition of the scope to boost the socio-economic potential of inland waterways to achieve sustainable regional development. Some modest changes at EU level could help to provide regions with a more consistent and supportive context for regional /local efforts, in turn enabling them to play their part in delivery of the ambitious goals set out in EU2020.
Green & Blue Futures was supported through the Interreg 4B North West Europe programme. It ran from 2012 to 2015 and involved 7 partners from 4 countries around North West Europe – UK, Ireland, France and Belgium and sought ways that involvement of the social economy in resource management by not-for-profit organisations could help manage the local authorities or other public agencies assets – which post the 2008 crash saw increasing pressure on public sector funds.
There were 2 main themes;
(1) Development of the social economy to manage green & blue infrastructure. Addressing topics such as promoting social entrepreneurship and developing financially sustainable business models that are cost-effective and deliver wider benefits to society; stakeholder engagement, bringing together the public, social & private sectors to support delivery; developing appropriate approaches to deal with issues such as public procurement and the relationship between stakeholders through contracts / agreements; developing a methodology for assessing and evaluating projects, in terms of both cost-effectiveness and social outcomes delivered.
(2) The delivery of social outcomes to help deliver strong and prosperous communities. This theme looked at the nature and needs of the various groups of beneficiaries that could be coordinated through the social economy structures. These include disadvantaged groups such as the long-term unemployed, unemployed young people, ex-offenders, young people with special needs and older citizens. The project looked at the training & skills needs of these groups and how they might be delivered. It developed appropriate structures / arrangements for managing beneficiaries and investigated how community / special interest groups could become involved through volunteering (which is quite well developed in the UK / Ireland, but less so in other partner countries)
- Identification of existing good practice approaches, together with the common elaboration of the pilot actions which will be used to develop the social economy framework
- Delivery of 7 commonly-designed pilot actions in the partner areas to explore aspects of social economy management & development and the delivery of social outcomes;
- Review & evaluation of the pilot actions;
- Elaboration of the framework for the development of the social economy for the managing green & blue infrastructure;
- A review and promotion of the implications of the framework for EU policy & funding
The key joint outputs from the project was a Green & Blue Futures Evaluation Report and accompanying Innovative practices report, Policy Recommendations and a report setting out some ideas about how to increase Transnational mobility between actors.
Numericanal was supported through the Interreg 4B North West Europe programme. It ran from 2013 to 2015 and involved 6 partners from 4 countries around North West Europe – UK, France, Netherlands and Belgium. It looked at how new and developing technologies could be used to implement innovative working practices for managing waterways and by using the regional & national strengths and experience of these partners (all active in the field of ICT and waterways management) to create a transnational strategy for the development of e-services, information and communications along smaller dimension waterways.
The project aimed to identify ways to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in the management these waterways in NWE through implementation of innovative ICT based approaches and tools. Its strapline was “Using technology for the more efficient management of inland waterways”
A lot of work was carried out to establish partnerships with stakeholders with expertise in this field and setting up events to inform the public of findings.
Specific activities included;
- Analysing existing good practices and identify potential new practices
- Developing and piloting use of mobile technology information for users (Smartphones / lock op etc)
- Developing and piloting new technology approaches to safety, particularly conflicts between smaller leisure boats and freight / commercial boats. (Congestion/danger zones, training)
- Developing / piloting ICT waterway control & management systems (G&S / Eindhoven Control Centres)
- Evaluating these activities and rolling out the results and lessons learned
The key joint outputs from the project were;
Good Practice Handbook (European Inland Waterway Operations), Danger Zones map examples, Summary and Nautical Safety Leaflets, a Control Centre Common Model report and a holistic Evaluation of Numericanal.
- Canal Link (2004-07) FINAL REPORT
- Crosscut (2003-08) FINAL REPORT
- Green & Blue Futures (2012-15) Innovative practices
- Green & Blue Futures (2012-15) Policy Recommendations
- Green & Blue Futures (2012-15) Transnational mobility
- Numericanal (2013-15) Good Practices Practice Handbook
- Numericanal (2013-15) Holistic Evaluation of Numericanal FINAL
- Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Communication on the water
- Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Navigation Rules
- Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Passing through bridges and locks
- Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Rules for safe and fast Boating
- Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating – Sail Together
- Numericanal (2013-15) Safe Boating -The Blue Sign
- Waterways for Growth (2009-12) FINAL REPORT
- Waterways for Growth (2009-12) Framework for Sustainable Devel of Inland Waterways
- Waterways Forward (2010-12) Policy Recommendations & Governance Model
- Waterways Forward (2010-12) Policy Recommendations (Summarised)