Bill Bryson backs campaign to clean up canals

Bill Bryson, best-selling author and President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is urging the 11 million people who use the nation's canals and rivers to tackle the problems of litter on their local waterway. Volunteers are needed to put on their boots and take part in British Waterways' Towpath Tidy 2009 – locally coordinated activity days which will take place along targeted stretches of more than 2,000 miles of canals and rivers between Thursday 26th and Sunday 29th March 2009.

The volunteer effort, ahead of the main summer visitor and boating season, will bring wildlife and environmental benefits as well as providing a welcome boost to the year-round work carried out by British Waterways. Everyone is welcome, with activities ranging from litter picking, painting and graffiti removal, to cutting back towpath vegetation.

As part of its Stop the Drop campaign, CPRE is supporting Towpath Tidy by involving its local branches and other litter picking groups registered on Litteraction. Bill Bryson comments: "Britain’s waterways are of vital importance, providing everyone with the opportunity to experience their cities, towns and countryside from a unique and tranquil perspective. It's a disgrace that some people choose to treat their waterways as an open litter bin or as a place to dump their discarded waste. I urge everyone who wants to get this country clean to join in and tidy a towpath."

Robin Evans, British Waterways chief executive, adds: "Canals are enjoying a long overdue renaissance, they are now used and enjoyed more than at any other time in their 200-year history. Volunteers have become essential to the waterways ongoing success and Towpath Tidy is an enjoyable and rewarding occasion when we join forces with individuals and organisations to support wildlife and improve the appearance of the network for everyone."

In addition to CPRE, Towpath Tidy 2009 is supported by Encams' The Big Tidy Up campaign, the leading inland waterways charity the Inland Waterways Association as well as a number of canal societies and trusts. For more information, including details of all the Towpath Tidy 2009 events, visit or call 0845 671 5530.

Date Added - 12-Mar-2009

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