Stone King LLP has advised the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (“Defra”) on the charity law aspects of the largest ever transfer of a public body into the charity sector.
British Waterways (sponsored by Defra) previously managed and maintained the majority of canals and a number of rivers and docks in England, Scotland and Wales. It also cared for numerous listed structures and sites of special scientific interest. On 2 July 2012, responsibility for the 2,000 miles of England and Wales' waterways transferred from British Waterways to a new charitable company, Canal & River Trust (“CRT”).
Stone King’s advice to Defra included:
- Ensuring that the waterways are protected in the future and settling Defra’s ongoing powers in relation to CRT.
- Establishing a trust settlement into which the core canal and waterways network was transferred (with CRT as its sole trustee). This, broadly, prevents CRT selling the waterways infrastructure.
- Settling documentation for grants worth around £1billion over 15 years. This includes arrangements for a “protector” to monitor how CRT manages its non-trust assets.
Stone King’s top-rated charity expertise and ever-increasing experience with public/charity sector contracting meant it was well placed to advise on this matter.
The team included, on governance, Jonathan Burchfield, Tom Murdoch and Darren Hooker and, on funding arrangements, Stephen Ravenscroft, Hannah Kubie and Reema Mathur.
Jonathan Burchfield, Head of Stone King’s Charity Team commented that “this was a landmark project for the charity sector and one with which our firm is very proud to have been involved.”
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