Bulletin Mid May 2010

About IWA


Post Election News

Round up
The waterways lost several long standing ‘friends’ in Parliament following the results of the General Election. Former waterway minister Jonathan Shaw lost his seat in Chatham, former Inland Waterway Parliamentarians of the year Charlotte Atkins (Staffordshire Moorlands) and David Drew (Stroud) were both unseated. Lynda Waltho (Stourbridge), Judy Mallaber ( Amber Valley), Lembit Opik (Montgomeryshire), Paul Rowen (Rochdale), all previously very active waterway MPs  lost to other candidates. Bob Laxton, Tom Levitt and Tim Boswell, also very active waterway MPs retired, and will be missed.

Key Issues- IWA Political Assessment

It is unlikely that given the current state of Parliament and the pressing priorities for government, that anything immediate will be forthcoming relating to the waterways, however, we are closely monitoring the situation.

The last Labour budget included a pledge to mutualise BW as a charity, with a view that the non operational property portfolio might be transferred in a charity locked arrangement.

Clearly the new coalition Government is not bound by the last budget or the pledges, nor by anything in Waterways for Everyone. IWA is currently awaiting details of the comments made to Defra from the consultation on this document, and what is planned for the next stages. We know however, that the coalition has agreed to hold an emergency budget shortly and to shed £6bn from the current budget.

It is therefore inevitable that the new Government will face pressure to fill this £6bn additional hole from somewhere and that the £500m of assets on paper that are provided by BW property is a possible target of renewed interest from the Treasury. Additionally, we can only speculate that grant in aid will also be a target of the expected additional budget cuts in public spending promised as part of the plan to tackle the UK’s fiscal deficit.

So, the next couple of months are therefore critical for the waterways, and IWA will be continuing its SOS campaign to press for awareness of the importance of the waterways to riparian MPs and councillors’, and also to guard against any property raid by Treasury.


Third Sector and Conservancy
However large, a potential crisis of this magnitude can also present rare opportunities for potentially beneficial change as well. BW is probably one of the few agencies that has to an extent anticipated a reducing budget and looked early and seriously at alternative business models – with its third sector proposals. This is likely to be attractive to both Liberal and Conservative thinking through engaging better with the public as stakeholders and in involving community and volunteers, whilst also seeking to reduce dependence on the tax payer through more innovative use of resources and more flexibility in financial investment and management.

This approach does of course still require some government funding on a secure basis, and it also suggests that full access to the property portfolio is essential to make the thing work. The fiscal pressures also support IWA’s view that rationalisation of the various state sponsored navigation authorities is warranted as part of some form of conservancy sooner rather than later and should be integrated into third sector thinking.

New Secretary of State at Defra
Caroline Spelman MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Caroline Spelman’s Meriden constituency, includes part of the northern section of the Stratford upon Avon Canal ( Hockley Heath and Waring's Green to Majors Green), as well as a part of the Grand Union Canal main line between Chessetts Wood and Elmdon Heath, which includes Knowle Locks. (See www.election-maps.co.uk/index.jsp)

She is local, but not the constituency MP to IWA’s national chairman, Clive Henderson, who is in correspondence with her, her constituency is also local to BW chairman, Tony Hales.

Richard Benyon MP Newbury (on the K& A) was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Defra on 14 May 2010.

Mr Benyon served as a Shadow Minister for the Environment, Fisheries and Wildlife. Prior to this appointment he was a Party Whip. He has also served on the Home Affairs Select Committee. He is a Vice president of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust , and a keen angling supporter.

At the time of writing we do not know who the minister with responsibility for waterways will be. more...

IWA MP Reception
IWA is organising a post election reception at the House of Commons for key waterway constituency MPs, to ensure that they are quickly inducted into the benefits of the waterways in their constituencies, to understand the issues surrounding funding, third sector proposals by BW, the IWA’s own conservancy proposals and to encourage the continuation of a strong all party Parliamentary Waterways Group to protect the waterways’ interests in the difficult financial times ahead. IWA will also be issuing guidance for branches on writing to new MPs shortly after the initial ’bedding in’ period has passed.  


WRG Events and Timetable
15 events are being organised by WRG in mid May and June – volunteers are always welcomed whether it’s doing ‘big stuff’ or just helping make the tea - all is considered vital work and as such is much appreciated – . If you would like to know more or get involved please go to http://www.wrg.org.uk/


IWA Events and Festivals - Welsh Waterways Festival 2010  
The Welsh Waterways Festival 2010, incorporating the 2010 IWA National Trailboat Festival, is to be held on an isolated but restored and 'in water' section of the Monmouthshire Canal from the 29th-31st May 2010 at Kimberley Park in Newport, South Wales.

The Festival is being hosted by the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust and Newport City Council. Two boats will be running trips on all three days plus there will be exhibitions, demonstrations, stalls and live entertainment, providing something for the whole family.

Entry to the site is free, parking is available locally at the Christchurch Centre, follow the brown festival signs from Junction 26 M4, or from Cwmbran / Abergavenny Direction.
For more information on stalls, boats or camping entry contact Chris Morgan on 02920 888 681 or visit the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust website. Or Click here to download a boat entry form  Click here to download a campsite booking form

National Festival News
Special deals for early bookings

Advance tickets now avaliable SAVE £2.50! more

Early Camping available from Monday 23rd August - Price £8.00 per night. Electricity £2.50 per night in addition to the costs for the five days over Festival period. more...

River Canal Rescue offers FREE breakdown cover for IWA National Festival visitors more...

IWA Issues new Waterway Freight Leaflet  
IWA remains a firm advocate of freight transport by water. It is keen to ensure that the key facts about the environmental credentials of water freight are fully understood. To this end it has produced a new leaflet that sets out the salient facts in a graphic way and provides short illustrated case studies from around the country. The leaflet also identifies the principal waterways considered suitable for traffic.

Copies are available free of charge from IWA Head Office - For more information please go to: www.waterways.org.uk/activities/freight/waterways_freight
Or contact the freight team:  freight@waterways.org.uk


Canalway Cavalcade
Over 150 boats booked into the event – a record number along with 70 stalls selling everything from herbs and potted plants to helmsman’s courses, distributed from the eastern end of the South Towpath, along the length of Warwick Crescent (for the first time), and all along the Paddington Towpath to Sheldon Square.

Bathed in glorious sunshine throughout Saturday, there was a buoyant (sic) mood,  in spite of the icy wind and rain,  on Sunday and Monday too. Ovewr the three days approximately 15,000 attended .

The official opening ceremony included speeches made by Cllr Jan Prendergast Deputy Lord Mayor of Westminster, Jon Guest Waterway Manager, British Waterways,Clive Henderson IWA National Chairman and our guest of honour, IWA member and vice president Timothy West

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Other  News


K&A Water-Voles Eat Frogs
British Waterways’ ecologists have discovered some unusual feeding habits of the normally herbivorous water vole after finding evidence of them eating the well known French delicacy – frogs’ legs. more...


Key Sanitary Facilities Close on Nene
Residents and boaters concerned as standards of cleanliness and availability of sanitary facilities decline on riverside in Peterborough city centre as a result of council spending cuts. more...


Community Order Offenders Clean up Canal
Areas of towpath running from Trent Bridge to Castle Marina,on the Nottingham Canaland from Trent Lock to Long Eaton Fire Station on the Erewash Canal in Derbyshire have been adopted by the team, who are working on a regular basis to litter pick, remove graffiti, paint and maintain locks as well as the looking after the general upkeep of the overflows and waterways.more..

Bradford Canal Clean up Scheme for Jobless
Long-term unemployed people in Bradford will join a project clearing up the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in a bid to get them back into work. They will be painting, clearing rubbish, resurfacing tow paths and dry stone walling among jobs to make the waterway more attractive. A partnership, led by Bradford Council and supported by career service Aspire-i and housing trust communities, aims to work with employers to create 1,000 jobs in the district.  more...


New Gates for Stort Lock
Two sets of lock gates weighing more than four tonnes in total have been inched into place on the River Stort in Hertfordshire. Lock thirteen at Spellbrook had to be drained to allow the work to take place. more...

CEVNI  Test Now Available on Line
British boaters planning on crossing the Channel and journeying into Europe's inland waterways can now take their CEVNI test online.

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Committees, Region and Branch Directory
There have been many changes in branches and regions recently as a result of AGMs etc. For full details please refer to our online directory.

Bulletin is issued on a monthly/ bi-weekly basis Edited for IWA by Jo Gilbertson  Jo.gilbertson@waterways.org.uk
Tel: 01494 783453  13 May 2010

IWA Seeks Trustees

IWA seeks nominations for people to stand as an elected trustee (five places available).  Nominations are also sought for the posts of region chairman for East Midlands Region (to serve until 2013 AGM), North East and Yorkshire Region (to serve until 2013 AGM) and South West Region (to serve until 2012 AGM).All nominations should be submitted, in writing (i.e. by post or e-mail), to the Chief Executive or Company Secretary at IWA Head Office by no later than 85 days before the AGM (i.e. Friday 2nd July).

Guidance notes for members considering putting themselves forward for election are available here.

Full information is available at: