Minister Considering 10-15 year deal for New Waterway Charity.
IWA was present at an AINA conference on 15 November which considered the proposed move of the waterways into the third sector. Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP, made the key note speech, and remained for questions afterwards.
The Minister expressed the view that Government saw the 'Big Society' involvement in running former state run operations as a flagship policy and was keen that British Waterways evolution into a new charity should be set up so that it could succeed. He stated that that the new organisation would not be financially worse off than if it were to remain within government control. He also confirmed that he envisaged that there would be a long term funding contract for the new charity, of between 10 and 15 years, and the property portfolio would be transferred , in order to ensure that the new body could be put on a stable financial footing.
The Minister additionally reiterated the need for a completely new form of governance arrangement with localism at its core.
On the subject of Environment Agency integration, he stated that work was ongoing to consider the full ramifications of such a move, and a decision would be made prior to consultation on preferred solutions to be made in the early new year.
Speaking later, Robin Evans from British Waterways confirmed that the new governance model envisaged the ministerial appointment of seven trustees to oversee the transitional arrangements to the new organisation who would be in place by April 2011. Three trustees would be from the existing board to ensure continuity, but four would be completely new appointees and be specifically appointed with a background capable of supporting and guiding the new charity during its formative stages.
Tony Davis, a member of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) for 42 years and IWA’s representative on the Environment Agency’s (EA) Thames Waterways Working Group (TWWG) and its predecessor committees for the last 33 years has announced that he is to stand down from formally representing the IWA at the end of the year.
‘It has been a privilege to serve IWA for so long and in my time the IWA contribution to campaigning, working together with other Thames representative organisations, has seen many improvements to the Thames. I especially value the contribution to the TWWG, collaborating with others who value the Thames as much as IWA. Over a period of years, some of the developments that I prize are the EA re-engineering of lock consoles to allow out-of-hours use (final one completed this year); trials to determine the speed limit on the river; reciprocal licences with British Waterways resulting in the Gold Licence; better licence purchase arrangements and conditions for visiting boats; and input to the Customer Charter and the Thames Waterway Plan.’
He went to say:
‘More recently I was proud of the IWA role – again alongside others – in successfully campaigning for the EA to reverse its decision to sell Lock Keepers’ cottages. Furthermore, this year, after 4 years of campaigning, given my personal involvement, I was delighted to see the new and improved moorings open at Weybridge; and colleagues in IWA made a significant contribution in lobbying for the new moorings at Wallingford, which also opened this year.’
Clive Henderson, IWA chairman commented:
‘We are lucky to have people like Tony in IWA. It is their determination and continued resolve to protect and improve their local waterways – in Tony’s case the Thames – that ensures good waterways for all to enjoy. I value his contribution over many years and wish him well in enjoying the fruits of his labours.’
He finished by saying:
‘The Thames is a major component of the waterways network and a vital corridor between so many other navigations. The lower reaches of the Thames are well patronised, and the future for even better network links is looking very promising. Changes in navigation authority management currently being put forward by Government provide a 'once in a generation' opportunity to simplify the multitude of different navigation management arrangements in this area.
IWA is also pleased that the upper reaches of the Thames have become more popular, especially with visiting boaters. The new moorings at Wallingford are important as they give boaters a place to easily moor and spend their money to support the local economy. IWA is supporting further extension of the boating network with its fundraising appeal to restore and re-commission Inglesham Lock on the Thames and Severn Canal at its junction with the Thames near Lechlade. This will reopen the gateway to the Cotswold Canals restoration. In time, a restored Wilts and Berks Canal will also add to the cruising routes available from and to the Thames, and good progress is being made with the restoration of the Wey and Arun Canal. When completed, this will re-open a non-tidal route from the Thames to the English Channel. IWA has recently provided the Trust with two grants to help fund development work.
IWA is and always has been a keen supporter of the Thames. Over 10% of our membership is in the Thames corridor. We reflect that support in our annual National Festival. It has been on the Thames 4 times in the last 13 years. We will be back again soon.’
Want to get more involved with your local waterways and fancy yourself as a newsletter editor, secretary, treasurer or planning officer? These are some of the volunteer opportunities available in local IWA branches and regions. For more information and contact details please see: http://www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies
Branches and Regions are reminded that they can send out their newsletter mailings through Head Office. Our postage cost is 25p per C5 envelope, up to 100g. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
British Waterways Canal Open Days
British Waterways is inviting members of the public along to stoppage open days where they can see the replacing of lock gates, repairing of lock chambers, relining of canals and other tasks. At some sites places are limited and pre-booking is required. For further information please go to http://www.waterscape.com/canal-open-days
The Chesterfield Canal Trust was deeply saddened by the untimely death of David Trickett on 4th November, aged 64. He had fallen ill soon after the Canal Festival in July. Chair of the Trust, Robin Stonebridge said “David’s boundless energy and passion for the canal runs through everything the Trust has done for the last decade. His knowledge and understanding will be greatly missed.” http://www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk
It is with great regret and much sorrow that the Wilderness Boat Owners Club announces that Keith Hadden, Chairman since the post was created in May 2001, passed away suddenly on Tuesday 9th November 2010 due to an un-natural heart condition. http://www.wilderness.org.uk/