IWA Bulletin Mid-April 2011

Top Story

DEFRA Consultation: A new Era for the Waterways

At a Glance Summary:

  1. IWA broadly welcomes the proposals in the Defra consultation, but has some key concerns
  2. Comments and views on the consultation are welcome from all IWA members, by end of May
  3. Region chairmen will be coordinating views and comments from members in their region
  4. A first draft response will be available in early May; please get your comments in early
  5. All members are encouraged to respond to the consultation in a personal capacity and encourage other groups they are involved with to do the same
  6. There should only be a single IWA response; branches should not submit corporate responses

Introduction and Background

Defra has issued a consultation on the proposals for moving British Waterways navigations into a new charity, with the view to adding the Environment Agency navigations in 2015 ( subject to agreement by the trustees of the new charity and there being a funding line created in the EA budget to allow a transfer).

IWA  has advocated that the right way forward for Britain’s navigable inland waterways is probably for them to be managed by a charity clear of government control, and is pleased that the detailed proposals on how Government intends to change British Waterways into a new charity have now been revealed.

IWA has maintained all along that the funding package needs to be viable, the governance needs to be right, and that the new body should also inherit the Environment Agency navigations.We are therefore, especially pleased that the Government in launching this consultation has now signalled that it shares our views. Specifically:

The commitment in principle to inclusion of the Environment Agency navigations in 2015; the stated aim that this move to a charity must create a sustainable model for the future of the inland waterways; and the emphasis on governance arrangements that involve local stakeholders in decision making for their waterways.

Our Current Thinking 

IWA Navigation Committee and the trustees believe that the Agenda for IWA, should be to now consider how these aims can best be translated into a successful civil society body which can flourish in the future.

Key aspects of the consultation that the Association will be looking therefore, should be how:

  • the indicative funding stacks up in delivering a sustainable charity. Currently IWA firmly believes that the proposed Government funding package is inadequate despite the additional benefits being in a charity would confer, and at present would lead to a significant decline in the quality of the system. We will be pressuring both the Government and the interim trustees to ensure a better settlement is made.
  • the governance proposals can best achieve community engagement consistent with localism and so that local ‘ownership’ of waterways can lead to tangible benefits for the waterways.
  • the Government is planning to ensure that the Environment Agency navigations can transfer smoothly in 2015/16.’  

Additionally, whilst there are proposals and options for freight in the document, no mention is made of how remainder navigations might be treated. IWA will therefore also want to explore in further detail how the status of the commercial, cruising and remainder waterways will be dealt with to meet the charitable purposes of the body in a manner that sustains and enhances existing usage and specifically protects 'connected navigation'.

The Process going forward

The trustees feel that in view of the significant change that these proposals signal for the management and organisation of the waterways, IWA must ensure that it adopts a strong leadership role and offer a firm and early view of the consultation and our response, to encourage as many other waterway supporters and organisations to get involved and make their views known ( and avoid any risk that there is a limited response on a critical issue by the waterways movement on such a widespread and broad consultation).  It is intended that our response will be circulated to affiliated canal societies etc so that a) they know what we think and b) they can use this as a template to formulate their own response if they wish.

As such IWA welcomes comments up to end of May, which we would ask to be directed via your region chairman. We aim however, to get a ‘first draft’ out for the beginning of May, and we would particularly welcome any early comments before the end of April, so that these can be taken into account in the first draft. It is our Intention as usual to make one ‘official IWA response’ , and we ask that branches and individuals do not make responses in the name of IWA, or on IWA headed paper.

The consultation is formulated around 29 key questions, but please be aware that it is perfectly acceptable to raise points, issues or concerns that aren’t in the consultation. Given the importance of ensuring that the waterways position is clearly heard, we would as always additionally encourage as many individuals to respond directly as possibly under their own name.

The consultation is available for inspection at http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/2011/03/30/waterways-1103/

It is open for individual responses until 30 June 2011.

We will continue to let you know our developing position in future editions of bulletin.


IWA News


news_10reasonscardsIWA is offering a reward of £20 for each new member that a branch recruits.

Building on the experience of IWA recruiters at events and shows, it has been found that explaining ‘ten reasons’ for joining IWA can be really helpful in explaining the value of IWA to a prospective member and in ‘converting’ them to the cause.

Feedback from some members and branches suggested that we could help support this with an aide memoire.

IWA has therefore issued a ‘credit card’ with the ‘ten reasons’ for joining IWA, that active members may wish to keep in their purse or wallet, to remind them, whenever an opportunity to recruit arises.

Please contact your branch for one.

Record Canal Clean-up at Milton Keynes

Over 12 tons of rubbish was recovered from the 10 miles of the Grand Union Canal running through Milton Keynes over the weekend 1st -3rd April by the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA MK Branch), working in partnership with British Waterways (BW) and the Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd (WSC).

This biggest haul ever from the twice yearly cleanups  organised by the IWA MK Branch included two telescopic sighted rifles, a blown safe, 22 shopping trolleys, 38 bicycles, a sunken metal dinghy, 9 mattresses, wheels, tyres, scaffold poles, TVs, fridges , a motor cycle and so on - you name it we found it in the canal by grappling from the back of the towed big collecting workboat and the bank. Then there were some 30 black sacks we filled from rubbish collected from the towpath and adjacent hedgerow between Fenny Stratford and Wolverton.

Some 50 people helped in the clean-up including an energetic band of Leighton Buzzard scouts and a number of new volunteers who responded to the earlier publicity appealing for help and supplemented the volunteer IWA members and their boats, plus BW’s manned special lifting boat for recovery of the some very heavy items including the safe..

Jeff Whyatt, BW Senior Manager, has sent a message of congratulations to all involved with the event and is always staggered by the quantity of discarded stuff recovered.


Award for Rugeley Volunteers

IWA Lichfield Branch has received an award from British Waterways for volunteer work on the canal at Rugeley. The Branch has organised a series of volunteer work parties to clean-up and improve the Trent & Mersey Canal through Rugeley over the past year, with dozens of members and local people taking part.

The award is a framed certificate of the “2010 Volunteer Organisations Recognition Award” and was presented at a User Group Forum meeting in Rugeley on 5th April to Margaret Beardsmore.  The citation says that “Lichfield IWA have worked closely with Central Shire’s Operational Teams and Regeneration Team along with local organisations and businesses to improve conditions along the Trent & Mersey Canal in Rugeley”.

Margaret has worked hard to bring together IWA members, BW staff, local residents, the Rugeley Lions Association, Police Community Support Officers, Community Payback ‘volunteers’ and others to really make a difference to the appearance and environment of the canal over the past year.  Margaret said she was pleased to accept the award on behalf of all those volunteers who had contributed to the success of the Rugeley Project.

Work has been carried out from Brindley Bank aqueduct, through the town to The Mossley, including litter and graffiti clearance, canal bank repairs, vegetation clearance, removal of derelict fencing, repair and repainting of benches, refurbishment of notice boards, etc.  Further work parties are being planned and it is hoped to obtain future grant support for improvements to the path and steps at Brindley Bank.


Sharon Linacre running Half Marathon to raise money for IWA

Sharon Linacre is running the 2011 Shell Chester Half Marathon to raise money for IWA using @

Planning a sponsored event? You can now set up your own fundraising page for IWA on the Virgin Money Giving website: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?charityId=1002870


Advance Tickets on sale for The Waterways Festival 2011

Order your tickets online: http://www.waterways.org.uk/shop/list_products?category=212

Keep up to date with the latest festival news and sign up to the Festival Times newsletter: http://www.waterways.org.uk/em-signup


Inglesham Fundraising Update

£40,099 has been pledged so far.

Works include damming of the canal from the Thames and the construction of a piled landing stage for the lock.

To donate please go to http://www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1294


Help Raise Funds for IWA if you Shop On-Line

IWA now participates in the easyfundraising scheme. It's absolutely free to you and IWA can gain donations from the participating retailers of up to 2.5% or more of the value of your shopping when you use it.

For more information please see http://www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/online_fundraising_


Organise an Event for the Inglesham Lock Appeal

If you or your branch would like to organise an event to raise funds for the Inglesham Lock Restoration Appeal, please contact gemma.bolton@waterways.org.uk


IWA Volunteering Opportunities


Working Holiday Leaders

Interested in becoming a Canal Camp Leader for the Waterway Recovery Group?

As a WRG Canal Camp Leader you will experience the wonderful scenery the UK has to offer, help restore part of the UKs industrial heritage, meet volunteers of all ages and backgrounds and most importantly have fun!

Find out more by joining them on the 14th May for the Leaders Training Day.

For more information please go to http://www.waterways.org.uk/wrg/volunteer/leading/become_a_leader


Canalway Cavalcade 30th April - 2nd May 2011

We are looking for volunteers to assist in running Cavalcade over the weekend to do jobs such as setting up equipment, erecting signs and fencing, bucket rattling, brochure distribution, stewarding and bar staff.

For more information please see http://www.waterways.org.uk/events_festivals/canalway_cavalcade_2011_/volunteer_opportunities


IWA Stand at Crick Boat Show 28 - 31 May 2011

Once again IWA has a stand at the Crick Boat Show, so we are seeking help in manning the IWA stand at this event, which takes place at Crick Marina near Junction 18 of the M1.

The days will be divided into two sessions 10.00 – 2.00 and 2.00 – 6.00. Help to set up on Friday 28 would also be appreciated.

For more information please go to http://www.waterways.org.uk/pdf/crick_helpers_request or contact Liz Payne peterlizanodyne@aol.com 01367 253121 or 07970 773210


The Waterways Festival 29th - 31st July 2011

It takes over 300 volunteers to stage this event , so please if you can spare any time we need your support. On completion of the online volunteer form Ann Myall Personnel Manager will contact you nearer  to the event and organise with you personally how you would like to help and in what are area.

  • During the actual event itself. No previous experience necessary, normally working in two hour slots. Simply complete online form.
  • Local promotions in and around Burton itself. We aim to be out and about for the four weekends prior to the Festival, so need support for this, again no experience necessary as you will always be accompanied. Email if willing to help sandy.jones@waterways.org.uk 


Photo Archivist Required

We are looking for a volunteer archivist to help re-organise our digital photo archive and scan in our paper and slide archives at our Head Office in Chesham. Work hours are flexible and full training will be provided. For further information please email gemma.bolton@waterways.org.uk.


IWA Branch and Region Help Wanted

For a full list of volunteer opportunities go to: http://www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies


Other News

Get Canalside Locations Featured in Countryfile Magazine

To celebrate their 50th issue this August, Countryfile Magazine are planning a special bumper issue and devoting over 50 pages to the 50 greatest locations in the British countryside to escape to.

It could be a day trip, a market town, a mountain range, a heritage site, a walk or simply an idyllic and relaxing area of the countryside.

It would be great if we could get some scenic canalside locations included to promote our waterways!

To nominate your favourite place, please email your suggestions to editor@countryfile.com or fill in an online form at http://www.countryfile.com/ruraltreasures


£110m Spending Boost to Revive Unhealthy Waterways

The government has said that Otters and salmon will benefit from a £110m boost in spending on England's lakes, rivers and streams.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said the funds would revive "lifeless" bodies of water, allowing wildlife to flourish by tackling invasive weeds. She also said that ministers wanted people to become more involved in caring for local waterways and streams.

£92m will be provided over the next four years to combat non-native invasive weeds and clear up pollution. Redundant dams, weirs and landings in England will also be removed.

The funding will be shared between the Environment Agency, Natural England and charities such as the Association of Rivers Trust.

An additional £18m will be provided this year to help farmers protect water courses near agricultural land, the government added.

Source: BBC News


Fish Relocated from Kennet & Avon

British Waterways is relocating over half a tonne of fish from the side ponds of the Caen Hill Flight of Locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The purpose is to improve conditions for aquatic wildlife including dragonflies.

The relocation follows a successful trial project in 2009, which saw a tonne of fish removed from the ponds. Large fish stir up silt causing the growth of algae due to the subsequent release of nutrients in the water. Over recent years, the water in the side ponds has become less suitable for invertebrates such as dragonflies and damselflies, as well as scarce aquatic plants that rely on clear-water environments. By removing the large fish a more natural balance will be created in the ponds.

The 2009 trial was successful with aquatic plants, such as the rare potamogetons and hornworts returning to the ponds, together with an increase in dragon and damselfly populations and other invertebrates such as the water scorpion.

Many of the fish will be relocated along the Kennet & Avon Canal and a proportion will go to Toddbrook Reservoir in the Peak District.


Hydro Power on River Don

The River Don is be used to generate electricity.

British Waterways is pursuing the initiative with the Small Hydro Company. The £1.7 million scheme will lead to renewable power generated from the hydro-electric power being sold to the National Grid with revenue reinvested into the maintenance of the British Waterways network.

The scheme will be designed to allow fish and canoes to pass on the river at Sprotbrough Falls.


Marina Proposed for Market Bosworth

A marina which is potentially capable of holding 150 boats is expected to be built in fields to the west of Market Bosworth.

The intention is that the marina would include a warden’s house or office, a boatshed, toilets and shower facilities, a shop and reception and office, but these are set to be deliberated further in the future. The plans have been submitted to Leicestershire County Council and are due to go to committee on 21 April..

Previous applications to build a canal boat marina, in 2009 and in 2008 were refused by Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, apparently because the plans failed to adequately demonstrate that the proposal would not harm the Ashby Canal Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The current application is understood to be supported by information which seeks to overcome the issue and as consultees H&BBC have made no objections.


Ealing Streetwatchers Clean-up Grand Union Canal

Over 80 volunteer Streetwatchers have taken part in a massive clean-up of the Grand Union Canal organised by Ealing Council.

Four tons of rubbish was pulled out including mattresses, a washing machine, plastic toys, a few TV's and even a kitchen sink. The council’s graffiti contractors also removed 318 square metres of graffiti.

The Streetwatchers are local volunteers who take an active interest in Ealing’s streets and parks. They report problems such as fly-tipping and graffiti so that the council can deal with them.


Project to Improve Boating facilities on the River Nene

 It is reported that a major project to improve boating facilities on the River Nene and boost tourism in Peterborough has been launched. It involves the Environment Agency teaming up with Peterborough City Council to revitalise the banks by spending £600,000 on a host of improvements at Orton Mere.

The works are said to include new moorings, the re-profiling of the riverbank, replacement of failing river piles and the creation of a fixed landing stage and 48-hour visitor mooring. Facilities for canoe access and storage will also be provided.
The council has helped fund the project to ensure that as Peterborough grows, access to green spaces and waterways are improved and intends to use sympathetic materials to increase its sustainability.

Navigation restrictions will be in place on the river during the project, which will take until June to complete but it is planned that Orton Lock will re-open for the Easter break, from 22 April to 2 May.




IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

  • 5% Discount at Midland Chandlers
  • Special Hire rates to IWA members with Europcar

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 http://www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/member_services/member_discounts_special_offers_public

For IWA members that receive a hard copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.


Events and Festivals

29th April - 2nd May: National Campaign Festival, Northampton
30th April - 2nd May: Canalway Cavalcade, London
27th - 30th May: Welsh Waterways Festival & IWA National Trailboat Festival

10th - 12th June: Stoke Bruerne Gala Weekend

29th - 31st July: The Waterways Festival, Burton-upon-Trent; Craft Workshops; Ticket


Upcoming Work Parties

Please see below for a list of canal restoration and clean-up events.

 14 - 15 May - Thames & Severn Canal  (NWPG)
Contact: Bill Nicholson 01844 343369 or email bill@nwpg.org.uk

21 - 22 May - Thames & Severn Canal (London WRG)
Contact: Tim Lewis 07802 518094 or email london@wrg.org.uk


Upcoming Towpath Walks

17 April – Bow Back Rivers & Olympic London  (London Walks)  
Details: Meet 2.30pm, Bromley-by-Bow Station. Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

24 April – Regent’s Canal (London Walks)
Details: Kings Cross to Hitchcock’s Hackney, meet 2.30pm, King’s Cross Station taxi rank. Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

28 April – Llangollen Canal, Ravensmoor (Chester & District Branch)
Details: The Farmer’s Arms at Ravensmoor (CW5 8PN) is about 2.5 miles south west of Nantwich.  From the pub this four-mile walk heads west across green pastures before turning north to follow the towing path of the Llangollen canal. After roughly one and a half miles the route turns off the towing path to cross undulating pastures before heading south on quiet lanes to return to the pub.  Map reference 621 506.
Contact: Branch Social Secretary 0151 608 6487.

30 April - Basingstoke canal (Basingstoke Canal Authority)
Details: Dawn Chorus walk led by Canal Ranger Peter Bickford down the Canal, listen and learn about birdsongs. Peter will be focusing on resident birds for this walk. Booking essential £3.00. Howfield Cottage, Brookwood, Surrey, GU24 0AG. (SU943568) (Deepcut Bottom Lock)
Contact: Basingstoke Canal Centre 01252 370073

30 April - Stourbridge Canal (Broadfield House Glass Museum)
Details: 10.00am start. Jewels on the Cut is a leisurely stroll along the Town Arm of the Stourbridge Canal examining the industrial heritage of the area with particular reference to the Stourbridge Glass Industry.
Contact: Broadfield House 01384 812745

1 May – Kensal Green Cemetery, Grand Union - Little Venice (London Walks)
Details: Meet 2.30pm, Kensal Green Station. Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

5 May - Bluebell Walk, Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: A circular walk of about 3 miles along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and through Hopwas Hays Woods to see the bluebells.  Note: the path up through the woods rises about 50 metres. 10.30 for 10.45 am start at the Red Lion PH, Lichfield Road, Hopwas, near Tamworth, B78 3AF.  Optional pub lunch afterwards. 
Contact: Mike Moorse 07799 140068 or email mike.moorse@waterways.org.uk

To advertise your towpath walks in the bulletin please email details to news@waterways.org.uk.

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

01494 783 453


Bulletin is edited by Jo Gilbertson and Gemma Bolton