PRESS RELEASE: Restoration Top Of The Agenda At New Annual Conference

Issue date: 27th March 2014

Waterway restoration will be at the top of the agenda during a special workshop taking place in May aimed at starting to overcome some of the big challenges facing restoration groups across the country.

The workshop, being hosted by the Canal & River Trust and The Inland Waterways Association, is intended to become an annual event aimed at addressing some of the big restoration challenges of the time. It will bring members of waterway restoration groups, local authorities and other interested bodies together in one room to discuss a range of issues.

Those present will have the chance to share best practice and celebrate the progress on restoration schemes across the country. The event is also intended to help groups foster new relationships and highlight areas where more support might be needed to progress restoration schemes even further.

Taking place on 10th May 2014 at The Bond Warehouse, Digbeth, the workshop will also see the launch of a University of Northampton report into the benefits of canal restoration. The report re-examines the economic benefits arising from six specific canal restoration schemes (Kennet & Avon Canal , Liverpool Link, Rochdale Canal, Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Millennium Link and Chesterfield Canal) helping to demonstrate how similar schemes may benefit their local communities.

Richard Parry, chief executive of the Trust said; “This promises to be an interesting event and one which I hope will prove really useful to those coming along. There’s a vast amount of knowledge and experience out there and this is just one way of helping to strengthen those links and encourage groups to help each other on their respective journeys."

“We’re also launching a report which we hope will demonstrate to a wider audience the benefits that canal restoration schemes can bring and help make the case for schemes elsewhere which might not be as far along the road."

“With so much knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for the waterways in one room it should be a really fascinating day.”

Les Etheridge, IWA's national chairman said; “There is a long and proud history of successfully restoring waterways in which IWA has played a very significant role. Sharing ideas and best practice benefits everybody. One of the challenges facing all restoration schemes is ensuring that once restored the waterway has a financially viable future. This area is one which I particularly look forward to discussing.”

ENDS

For further media requests please contact:

Stephen Hardy, communications manager, Canal & River Trust
t 01636 675703 m 07920 077190 e stephen.hardy@canalrivertrust.org.uk
Vaughan Welch, Restoration Committee Chairman, The Inland Waterways Assocation
t 0121 477 99782 m 07971 202406 e vaughan.welch@waterways.org.uk

Notes to editors:

The Inland Waterways Association is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit. We have over 17,000 members including 350 corporate members with a combined membership representing a voice of well over 50,000 people supporting and involved with the inland waterways.

IWA works closely with navigation authorities, national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations. We campaign and lobby for support and encourage public participation in the inland waterways. IWA also manages the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation for the public benefit, through its subsidiary Essex Waterways Ltd, (www.essexwaterways.com) having stepped in to prevent its closure in 2005.

IWA actively supports waterway restoration, and through its waterways restoration volunteering organisation, Waterway Recovery Group (www.wrg.org.uk), organises and subsidises over 20, week‐long waterway restoration working holiday schemes for volunteers of all ages throughout the UK each year, as well as conducting multiple work parties around the country on most weekends. This particularly enables young people to participate in the preservation and restoration of our heritage, and in doing so learn construction and heritage skills.

IWA arranges affordable insurance for over 180 waterway organisations and is able to give engineering and other professional advice. Its members provide the expertise necessary to organise festivals and events to raise public awareness. IWA is organised into 33 local branches covering all geographical areas of the country. Both centrally, and through the branch network, IWA volunteers coordinate activities as diverse as policing planning applications through the waterway corridor, raising money for restoration, and providing education on the value and benefits of their local waterways.

More than 500 miles of canals and navigable rivers have been re‐opened to public use since the Association was founded in 1946. The Association is working to restore a further 500 miles of derelict inland waterways.

There is much more information at www.waterways.org.uk

The Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales. We are among the largest charities in the UK, maintaining the nation’s third largest collection of Listed structures, as well as museums, archives, navigations and hundreds of important wildlife sites.

We believe that our canals and rivers are a national treasure and a local haven for people and wildlife. It is our job to care for this wonderful legacy – holding it in trust for the nation in perpetuity and giving people a greater role in the running of their local waterways

www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

Photo: IWA's Waterway Recovery Group 'Canal Camp' volunteer holiday held in 2013 to restore part of the Monmouthshire Canal.

Download photo from Flickr