Last week I went to see the restoration of 'The Danny', The Daniel Adamson boat, a 1903 Art Deco steam tugboat, the team had spent six years restoring.

I joined them by the Leigh Arms in Little Leigh and discussed barriers we face in making full use of the River Weaver and what opportunities getting more boat traffic could bring if a solution could be found to make the waterways fully navigable.

I believe there is a real opportunity to use this as a catalyst to go further in terms of revitalising the River Weaver and bringing huge economic benefit to the Northwich area.

We are surrounded by beautiful rivers and canals and I want these to be used to their full potential. We are lucky enough to have the Anderton Boat Lift, meaning movement from the River Weaver to the canals is easy, but the one thing that is stopping increased river traffic is the amount of sand in parts of the Weaver.

This build-up of sand makes it impossible for wide beam boats and those with deep hulls to pass through.

Northwich Guardian: Tatton MP Esther McVey aboard the steamship 'The Danny'Tatton MP Esther McVey aboard the steamship 'The Danny'

I think dredging additional sections of the Weaver is part of the solution and could bring both environmental and economic benefits to our area.

Not only would more vessels be able to use the river, for commercial transportation (reducing trucks on the road) but increased activity would be a boost to the local economy through regeneration of the waterfront and bringing more people to Baron Quays shopping centre.

An increase in footfall would undoubtedly attract more businesses to the shopping centre and help tackle the perpetual problem of empty units.

The Danny team are also doing their own research into dredging. The River Weaver has the potential to be fully navigable again and we must do everything we can to make this happen to allow travel via water into Northwich.

I am really keen to see a multi-agency approach to this issue to see if we can attract initial funding to start dredging and so will be writing to Cheshire West and Chester Council, DEFRA, the Canals and Waterways Trust and neighbouring MP Mike Amesbury to discuss how we can work together to make this happen.