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Environment Agency lock keeper case crumbles in face of opposition from local MPs

  • 3 Jun 2008

Local MPs will meet a government Minster about the removal of resident lock keepers in the Thames Valley, in light of the poor case put forward by the Environment Agency for their removal.

Theresa May joined MPs from across the Thames Valley on 1st June to meet officials from the Environment Agency to discuss the proposed removal of resident lock keepers in the Thames Valley, and sale of lock keepers cottages. The meeting, which was also attended by local lock keepers and river users, gave MPs the opportunity to question the Environment Agency about their plans to sell off lock keepers cottages and remove resident lock keepers.

Theresa, who is campaigning strongly for the lock keepers, said:

“From this meeting it became clear just how weak the Environment Agency’s case for getting rid of our lock keepers is. Environment Agency officials were unable to say how much money they would save, nor could they guarantee that the removal of resident lock keepers wouldn’t cost more money than keeping them.”

“Perhaps most worrying thing was that officials did not seem to realise how much service is provided by resident lock keepers and how important it is to river users. Far from convincing MPs that the cuts were needed, the meeting made MPs realise just how important the lock keepers are. Whether it’s keeping junior rowers safe, stopping anti–social behaviour, or helping to prevent flooding, the resident lock keepers are always the first point of call. We want it to stay that way and we now look forward to putting the lock keepers case across to the Waterways Minster.”