With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, we've taken the opportunity to celebrate some of the extensive campaigning work we've been able to carry out during 2013 with the invaluable support of members and volunteers across the country. Read the full round-up of IWA's activities in 2013.
Every year IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) runs a programme of unique week-long residential volunteering opportunities, known as ‘Canal Camps’ designed to restore the derelict canals of England and Wales to their former glory. Canal Camps provide the opportunity for participants to improve the environment whilst having a fun holiday.
There are twenty-five Canal Camps, two Clean-up weekends and a Big Dig already planned for 2014 giving volunteers the chance to get involved in various activities such as rebuilding towpaths on the Driffield Navigation and Pocklington Canal in East Yorkshire and lining a section of the Lancaster Canal at Stainton, to lock clearance work on the Cromford Canal in Derbyshire and bricklaying at Ham Mill Lock on the Cotswold Canals.
The Canal Camps Brochure can be viewed online or fill in a brochure request to receive a hard copy (if you subscribe to Navvies you will automatically be sent a copy with your next edition at the end of December).
Phase 1 Hybrid Bill and Environmental Statement Consultation
After the flurry of news and information on HS2 issued late in November, we have now had chance to sort out the critical pieces and begin work on them.
The Hybrid Bill itself proposes to grant very wide powers to the Secretary of State for Transport to construct Phase 1. These include powers to obtain land and rights over land, gain planning permission, move and place apparatus, stop up and divert roads and footpaths, close temporarily or permanently navigations and many others for the purpose of constructing Phase 1. In compensation for the deregulation of normal controls on these issues, the bill does provide constraints on the unreasonable use of these powers. It is also clear that, provided it goes ahead in this broad form, the Secretary of State will certainly be able to get moving with the scheme.
Schedules to the Bill include protections for and involvement by specific statutory bodies, amongst which, in Schedule 31 Part 4 paragraphs 40-50, is Canal & River Trust. Here the task of CRT in operating and maintaining its waterways is recognised, and the schedule states that this must be recognised. Prior notice of works affecting their waterways must be provided, and approval sought - however that approval may not be unreasonably withheld. The part begins by stating that ‘unless otherwise agreed between CRT and the Secretary of State in writing…’, covering the possibility that CRT will agree an undertaking with the Secretary of State to more specifically protect its waterways. Such an undertaking will be a key part of protection against activity by contractors when designing and constructing HS2 if the bill is enacted. It will also ensure that any changes in route that occur as the bill goes through Parliament still meet minimum waterway requirements. IWA will be looking to, and if appropriate working with, CRT to ensure it has a comprehensive undertaking in place, and where necessary similar undertakings are in place for other waterways.
The bill is accompanied by a final Environmental Statement. A consultation has started on this, closing on 24th January 2014. This statement consists of most of the 50,000 pages making up the bill which was mentioned in the press. IWA is now going through this document, to see what changes have been made in response to our (and others) responses to the July draft. We will then formulate a further response, which will published once completed.
Phase 1 Fradley Junction Feasibility Study
Good progress is being made by CRT’s retained consultant Hyder on this joint IWA-CRT Feasibility Study, and we expect a draft report before Christmas.
Phase 2 route consultation
In all the activity over the Hybrid bill for the Phase 1 route London to Birmingham, it’s easy to forget the consultation that is also running on the two phase 2 routes, from Lichfield to Manchester, and Curdworth to Leeds. IWA is already working with canal societies, CRT and others in identifying waterway issues with phase 2, and potential solutions. The problems have been highlighted in our draft consultation response, which was available on our website for feedback until last Friday, 13th December. This document has now been withdrawn and input we have received will be incorporated to ensure HS2 has a complete picture of IWA’s concerns. Wherever possible these will be aligned with other responses to present a single ‘waterways’ response, along with any proposals to address these concerns which HS2 can take forward.
As always, many thanks to those who have taken the time and effort to get in touch with us on these issues. Thank you also to the many volunteers who are working their way through the legislation to ensure IWA makes the best possible response to the various documents, and get the best deal for waterways everywhere. It looks like a busy Christmas is in store!
Find out more about IWA's HS2 campaign.
As you may be aware, we recently carried out a consultation on the 'Bulletin' emails which are sent out twice each month, as part of our ongoing effort to improve communication.
The consultation closed at 9am this morning (16th December) to give us time to make any changes to the January 2014 Bulletin. The initial results from the consultation are as follows:
There were 676 responses which was brilliant given the short time frame and we would like to thank everyone that took the time to respond and provide feedback. We will analyse the results in more detail with regards to content, and respond to queries and feedback over the next two weeks where email addresses have been provided.
IWA Oxfordshire Branch has submitted a response to a planning application made on behalf of Scottish Widows to develop the canal area in Banbury. The application outlines proposals to develop Banbury Town Centre, which includes the covering part of the Oxford Canal with a glazed canopy, new high rise buildings beside the canal and service areas backed onto the canal. IWA Oxfordshire Branch has objected to the plans as the proposed development would have a detrimental affect on the waterway through the town, which is currently a popular mooring spot for boaters. The Branch feels that such a development would result in fewer boaters choosing to stop in Banbury and this in turn would have a negative impact on local businesses, which boaters do support.
View the planning application online (Cherwell District Council website), and download the planning drawings (PDF, 2.53 MB) and full IWA Oxfordshire Branch response (PDF, 91.4 KB).
To support the response, please email your views on the proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org with the reference - Land adjacent to Oxford Canal Spiceball Park Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire 13/01601/OUT.
CRT and Manchester City Council are proposing that gates are installed at either end on the Rochdale Canal Undercroft, between locks 84 and 86. The gates would be locked at night to prevent and deter criminals or potential victims from accessing the location as the dark and unfrequented nature of the undercroft during the hours of darkness attracts criminal activity. The Council is currently welcoming comments on this proposal.
IWA Manchester Branch has written a response to the proposal based on local and national experience where similar security measures have been proposed to reduce crime in the vicinity of canals & rivers in the UK.
IWA supports any measures that will reduce crime and protect the public in this area including restricting access during the hours of darkness. Some provisions have been outlined in the response and are summarised below.
A representative from IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch attended a meeting at Northwich with Sally Boddy, CRT Engineering Manager for the Midlands, to discuss progress with the pinch point at Hurleston bottom lock on the Llangollen Canal. Also attending were three representatives from the Historic Narrow Boat Club.
Part of Hurleston Bottom Lock’s upper course of brickwork is bulging up to 55mm into the lock. The bulge is on the towpath side and extends about 15m along the lock wall and down to around 1.2m. This has and still is preventing some boats from navigating the lock due to the reduced width.
CRT plans to carry out a coring survey on the brickwork in order to ascertain whether it would be safe to remove the bulge. In particular, CRT is interested in whether hollow bricks have been used as this could limit the options available to the team who will be working on the problem. If the survey gives satisfactory results CRT plans to shave the highest part of the bulge during a planned stoppage, for works to the lock gate, from 10th February to 7th March. Before the work can be undertaken, listed building approval would be needed. No problems have been foreseen in the application but the time taken to grant permission could hinder work.
IWA met with the Association of Continuous Cruisers (ACC) and Residential Boat Owners Association (RBOA) on 9th December; the aim of the meeting was to work together for the benefit of continuous cruisers. The following two points were agreed upon:
Planning is under way for two major events on the Montgomery Canal in 2014, organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch. The Maesbury Canal Festival to be held on 6th - 7th September 2014, and the Montgomery Canal Triathlon is to be held on 10th May, to support the Festival. Participants of the triathlon cycle from Newtown to Welshpool, canoe from Welshpool to Llaymynech, finishing with a walk from there to Welsh Frankton.
The Maesbury Canal Festival, orgainsed by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal and is held every other year. Like the three previous festivals, the event will take place at Canal Central, Maesbury.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
Manchester Branch - Manchester Packet - December 2013
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its canal camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work they have been undertaking.
Progress continues to be made at Tardebigge by the Worcester, Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch, with their project to uncover and interpret the historic lime kilns.
Work parties are held on the first weekend of every month, and recent work has included installing a post and rail fence along the top of the kilns. While digging the hole for one of the posts, volunteers came across brickwork that appeared to be part of a structure rather than rubble infill. More soil was carefully removed and they found what started to look like a wall. It clearly had a curve in it and as they dug deeper it turned out to be a further kiln. Enough soil was removed to expose a few courses of brickwork. As the group does not have the authority to excavate the site some photos were taken before putting paving slabs over the trench to protect it. Hopefully these small discoveries indicate that there is a significant amount of structure still underground that will hopefully one day be on display to the public.
IWA Warwickshire Branch volunteers turned out to support the first of the two monthly CRT Towpath Taskforce events at Hatton on the Grand Union Canal on Monday 4th November. The group's main task was to move a workboat and tug back to Hatton Yard. The hold was filled with a large pile of scrap iron and general debris - including a good part of a wrecked wooden cruiser. This was just part of the haul that had been collected at the recent IWA "trolley trawl" on the Grand Union Canal from Warwick Tesco to the Avon Aqueduct. During the climb from the bottom of the flight to the yard the group cleared debris and vegetation and took the chance to prune a large number of overhanging branches.
The second CRT Towpath Taskforce at Hatton, on 6th November, was unfortunately met with a mix of steady drizzle and occasional heavy showers that continued throughout the day. However, this did not put people off with a larger turnout than the previous sunny work party and two new volunteers were welcomed to the group. While part of the workforce unloaded around a ton of scrap iron into a truck for it's journey to the scrap dealers the rest worked hard to complete the car park fence, which had been started a couple of months previously. Digging postholes in a mixture of mud, tree roots, broken concrete and brick was certainly a challenge.
On Saturday 7th December, IWA Chester & Meresyside Branch were met with good weather as volunteers gathered for the monthly work party on the Dee Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. The volunteers split into two groups and litter picked along the Dee Branch before working back along the main line. At the same time, the gardeners tackled the overgrown flower beds clearing brambles and planting bulbs ready for Spring. Thank you to the nine volunteers who joined the morning session and the five that worked in the afternoon.
WRG North West held a weekend dig on the Lancaster Canal over the weekend of 7th-8th December to help the Lancaster Canal Trust carry out work in the Stainton Bridge area. On the Saturday volunteers cleared overgrown vegetation at Hincaster Tunnel and Horse Path as well as carrying out re-pointing at Stainton Bridge using lime mortar. The following day saw the company grow to over twenty volunteers, fifteen of which fitted stop planks across the canal at Stainton Bridge whilst the remainder continued to clear vegetation. The installation of stop planks is an essential step in the re-watering of this stretch of canal.
The area had to be cleared of debris before the planks were put in place building up a wall across the canal. Once the last stop plank was in place the heavy topping beam had to be rolled into position on top of the planks. Original metal King Posts, which had been located at the old British Waterways Depot at Galgate, were then pinned into place to keep the planks secure. The posts will also increase the strength of the structure, which is important as the structure will have to prevent any water from passing that point. The volunteers had worked through rain and mud but were encouraged throughout the weekend by the visitors who came to view the work having learnt of the project from local press coverage.
On Saturday 7th December, volunteers from IWA Chelmsford Branch and Essex WRG started a weekend of work on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. The group cleared and levelled an area alongside the towpath so that vegetation could be more easily managed in the future. This was a task that took all weekend and was aided by the use of a digger and skilled operator. Part of the group left this task in the afternoon and went to lay a woodchip path on the opposite bank. All the woodchip had been locally sourced coming from trees that had fallen on the Chelmer & Blackwater during bad weather in previous months.
On the Sunday the group finished clearing and levelling the area of bank before locating and clearing a new spot for bonfires. These areas are always sort after as volunteers and staff need places where they can responsibly burn vegetation without negatively affecting nearby residents or the environment.
Sunday 8th December saw a group of volunteers with IWA North Staffordshie & South Chesire Branch returning to the Caldon Canal near Cheddleton to continue hedge planting that was started last winter. Mild weather meant good progress was made and over 250 hedging plants were planted alongside the towpath. The background sight and sound of steam trains running alongside the canal added a further dimension to the day.
Different species of hedging plants, supplied by CRT, were planted to blend in with the existing hedge and in time, this will hopefully produce a good quality hedge along a significant stretch of the canal. Along with previous planting, the planting now carried out means that the entire stretch from Basford Bridge to the lift bridge is now complete.
This part of the canal is very popular with walkers and cyclists and a number stopped to chat with the volunteers and all expressed congratulations to the volunteers for the work that contributes to the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
Canal & River Trust has announced that it plans to carry out a series of towpath and access improvements along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, between Leeds and Bradford. This follows the announcement made last summer that Leeds City Council and Bradford Metropolitan District Council had secured £18.1m for a large scale project from the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Grant Fund.
The funds are to be used in a scheme to create a safe, sustainable transport corridor for walkers and cyclists between Leeds and Bradford. As part of this scheme, CRT is to make improvements to the towpath and accesses between Gallows Footbridge in Shipley (Bradford) and Kirkstall New Road Bridge in Kirkstall (Leeds).
Around £1.6m is due to be invested in the canal corridor with a full programme delivery deadline of September 2015. The towpath works should be completed by June 2014 ahead of the Tour de France stages due to taje place then in Yorkshire.
The works will deliver:
A consultation event will be held at Leeds Civic Hall on Wednesday 18th December between 6-8pm. Details of the scheme and where to direct suggestions and comments are available on CRT's website. All comments must be received by Friday 17th January 2014.
CRT was unsuccessful in its second Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) submission for restoration of Carpenters Road Lock. The HLF grant officer endorsed the project for approval and the committee said that it was a strong bid; however, it was narrowly voted out as there was only around £2.5million available in the December funding round. Whilst CRT’s contribution to the works was over £600,000, the HLF committee was concerned to see little (only £40,000) in partnership funding.
The total predicted cost of the works is around £1.3million, CRT currently has £700,000 in place and will continue the search for additional funds.
Somerset Waterways Development Trust (SWDT) plans to sell its trip boat Future Perfect due to increasingly difficult operating conditions on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal where water levels are too low. SWDT has owned Future Perfect from new, a 26 foot, battery electric boat that can carry up to twelve passengers, for over three years.
SWDT would ideally like to sell the boat to another charitable group that operates or is interested in operating boat trips for the public.
The boat is in full working order, complete with its own trailer and fully equipped for use as a trip boat having a full-length canopy and side screens with features including a lift, which allows disabled access to the boat.
The boat can be viewed at its mooring on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal by prior arrangement.
For more information please initially contact Bob Abbott.
CRT has begun to carry out £600,000 of repair works at the 200 year-old Rudyard Lake near Leek, which supplies water to the region’s canal network. The project will involve replacing valves at the reservoir as well as repairing the coffin weir. The valves in the reservoir control the release of water into the canal system. Divers will replace the faulty upstream valve with a modern hydraulically operated system as well as replacing the two leaking downstream valves. The upgrades will improve water retention in the lake.
The coffin weir is a 200 year-old feature designed to control the rate at which water flows down the canal. The weir holds back the water discharged from the reservoir and releases it slowly into the canal as it overflows. Recent tests have shown the weir is leaking so engineers have drained it, cleared away the sediment build-up and are now repointing the historic brickwork.
CRT will have to spend around £30,000 to repair Bridge 15 on the Grand Union Canal Aylesbury Arm, following an accident where a car hit the bridge. No one has come forward to claim responsibility for the damage so CRT is unable to claim on the driver’s insurance.
Accidents involving motorists cause over £1million of damage to historic canal bridges in England and Wales every year. In many cases the drivers involved do not report the accident and CRT has to divert funds from other areas to pay for repairs as it is unable to submit a claim against a drivers insurance.
Bridge 15 has been crashed into three times and was only recently rebuilt after it was last damaged in a motoring accident. Any witnesses to the accident or individuals with further information should contact CRT on 030 30 40 40 40 or email email@example.com.
CRT has teamed up with Drifters, a consortium of hireboat operators, to produce a training film for new boaters. A companion to the existing popular Boaters’ Handbook, the film contains tips for hire boaters and new boat owners, as well as important reminders about how to boat safely.
The thirty-minute film is available free to stream online or as a free DVD. You can order your copy of this DVD from CRT’s on-line shop or view the film at CRT's website.
Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust's new trip boat, the John Bunyan, was announced the winner of the ‘Raising the Profile of the Town’ category at the Pride in Bedfordshire Awards. The Trust was given the award in recognition of how teh trip boat operation has attracted visitors to Bedford, carrying over 3000 passengers on the River Great Ouse cruises since its launch in July 2013.
The community boat was launched by the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust to help promote its long-term plans to link the River Great Ouse at Kempston to the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes.
(Photo courtesy of the Bedford Times & Citizen)
The Wendover Arm Trust has announced that its Chairman, Paul Leech, is to step down due to health issues. The Trust is now ilooking for a successor, so that it can continue its restoration work as smoothly as possible. The Trust plans to have a further quarter of a mile of restored canal will be in water by next Autumn.
On 9th December, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) launched a consultation on proposed changes to how English Heritage delivers its services. It is proposed to establish a charitable arm to manage the conservation and public enjoyment of the National Heritage's property collection. The land and buildings would remain in public ownership and the new charity would have a target to be self-financing by 2023, with arrangements very similar to those for Canal & River Trust.
The consultation document and details of where to direct responses are available at the Government website. The consultation will be open for nine weeks and closes at 12am on February 7th 2014.
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public
For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.
Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription
IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters
Major IWA events in 2014
Branch Boating Events in 2014
2nd - 5th May 2014 - Braunston Boat Gathering (IWA Northampton Branch)
4th - 6th July 2014 - Ware Boat Festival (IWA Lee & Stort Branch)
6th - 7th September 2014 - Maesbury Canal Festival (IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch)
Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.
19th December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
21st December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
4th January Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
6th January Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
9th January Hedge Planting Work Party - Cheddleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
11th - 12th January Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
16th January Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
18th January Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
18th January Work Party - Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch
21st January Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
25th January Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
There are no more walks planned for December
1st January London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
5th January Stratford Canal Circular Walk (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th January London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
19th January London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
23rd January Waterway Walk (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
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