IWA Conference Update
IWA has been at the Labour and Conservative conferences. IWA had organised its own private meetings with shadow and serving ministers, MPs and councilors about the waterways, and our agenda for the Canal and River Trust (previously referred to as the New Waterway Charity).
IWA is keen to see the C&RT progress, and has publically supported this move, but still retains a concern that it should not come at the detriment of the sustainability of the waterways especially for navigation matters.
IWA met with the waterways minister Richard Benyon MP for over half an hour without his officials (the real benefit of a conference meeting) and had a very detailed discussion about C&RT finance, considering the true cost of maintenance and what was needed. We fully aired our concerns about trying to do it ‘on the cheap ‘ ie without indexing, or sufficient start up money. We also drew the Minister’s attention to concerns IWA has over ongoing pension liabilities and made suggestions that these could in part at least be retained by government in respect of those who had left service. We also looked in detail at dredging as a funding and practical issue. As a keen fly fisherman and riparian owner of a substantial part of the Kennet & Avon Canal, the Minister was fully aware of the problems of siltation and how boat movements can churn up sediment, and contaminate pristine stretches of the river, but fully understands this isn’t due to the boats per se, but to the lack of dredging being undertaken. IWA discussed the true costs involved and how BW was seriously falling behind on this important task. We also considered how it seemed incongruous that the new charity should be responsible for motor vehicle damage incurred to their bridges, and that this may be an issue to pass on to another government department. He undertook along with the other matters to go away and look at them with his officials, and also his own Secretary of State.
We also discussed the proposals to integrate the EA. We had previously spoken to him about our ideas, following our extensive lobbying. We were pleased to learn that IWA had won the argument. He indicated that he fully endorsed and supported our arguments (which at the time went against all other organizations views and advice). Now however, most accept IWA’s position that the EA is right for integration as part of one national body in the C&RT.
We offered our continuing support for this process and offered our help. We also suggested that whilst Defra, EA and BW were all under his purview he might like to look at un-red-taping operations and looking at a working task group to consider what makes doing certain operations on the waterways, especially dredging, so expensive and to find ways of un hindering them to sensibly reduce costs; ie if river dredging is specifically exempted from EA regulation why not rural canal dredging, etc. He seemed very keen on the suggestion.
The Minister was happy to write himself an aide memoire of a full page of notes concerning our views and concerns.
What IWA will try to ensure is that BW does not get its new status at any cost, ie that it doesn't play down the actual cost of what it needs to government in return for more autonomy and freedom from government.
IWA has also started to have meetings with the new trustees individually, as part of the boating alliance team, and as part of the British Waterways Advisory Forum. We are targeting funding as our number one priority, and will be following up our meetings with the Minister and shadow Minister personally by a series of specific targeted briefings and then ‘man-marking’ key C&RT trustees as they start the funding settlement negotiation proper.
How Can Members and Branches Help?
We have prepared a simple and effective briefing note for local MPs to your area informing them of the key issues and requesting that they support this issue when it comes up for debate in the House. www.waterways.org.uk/pdf/mp_briefing_2011
Please consder writing to your riparian MPs and explain how much the waterways mean to you, and that this important issue is progressing in the House, and ask that they write to the Minister in support of the suggestions that IWA makes in the briefing regarding, in particular, indexation of the funding and the retention of pension liabilities as these are the most impactful and least likely to be resisted by Treasury.
What Else Will IWA be Doing ?
IWA acts as secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group, and as such we will be working with the chair to recall the group and invite the Minister to an inquisitorial discussion on the C&RT and his views and proposals following the release of the new charity consultation response.
We know the matter is being closely looked at in Government as we have been asked by Defra for copies of the Group's report to append to an official report being compiled in the Department.
We will also be working closely with the shadow Minister for waterways and friendly MPs to ask a suite of questions intended to mark out the key issues of concern in the house and gently keep the funding issue firmly in the Minister’s and officials’ view.
Environment Agency News
IWA attended a special meeting of the EA’s National Navigation User Forum on 23rd August in London. This was advertised as a harmonisation forum but it soon became clear that this meeting was a ‘softening up’ of stakeholders in preparation for large increases in cruising licenses for EA waters.
As part of the introductions Stuart Taylor, EA navigation manager, introduced Andrew Gullog who from September will be working for Stuart in charge of the “Navigation Project”. This was the first users had heard of this project. It is apparently to look at how EA manages its navigations up until 2015 when there may be a transfer to the newly created Canal & River Trust. Issues such as detailed ownership of assets, etc. are a part of this project. EA current thinking only seems to go out to 2015, but any decisions on how navigations are to be funded might well endure beyond this date if the government backs down on its wish to transfer to NWC. There are also separate debates going on within EA on what constitutes a navigation asset. This is critical for the Thames where changes in the way flood risk management is funded means that the weirs on the Thames may not get flood defence funding. IWA was not informed as to the situation is on East Anglian waterways, but understands that weirs on the Medway are already funded from the navigation budget.
The position on EA funding is essentially that a 50% cut in Grant in Aid has been imposed. EA is therefore looking at the principles of how boaters are to be charged and the intimation is that registration fees should cover running costs for the particular navigation whilst GIA and other income could cover capital investment. EA stated that its priorities to 2015 are to:
To users' general surprise the EA is likely to put on hold consideration of harmonisation of registration charges. This caused concern from users - IWA and the Great Ouse Boating Association having to raise concerns. The rationale apparently is that large increases in registration fees are necessary and some would be even more severely affected if harmonisation were attempted in parallel. Furthermore if merger into C&RT is to take place in 2015 then this would necessitate further harmonisation. More worrying was the strong hint that each of the three waterway areas were expected to be treated in isolation with each expected to raise its running costs. In IWA’s opinion, this will be fine for the Thames with its very large customer base but this would be bad news for East Anglia and potentially disastrous for Medway. Figures were presented to show what proportion of running costs is currently raised by registration fees for each of the three areas. Shortfalls in East Anglia and particularly the Medway were proportionately considerable.
IWA is aware that EA may seek to impose registration costs of 8 and 10% over each of the next three years.
EA Waterways Under Threat - Welches Dam Lock off the Forty Foot Level in the Fens.
Notorious for being connected by the system's smallest lock (47 ft) to the system's leakiest cut, this lock has been closed by stealth by the EA for several years by a “temporary” coffer dam, ostensibly to prevent water seepage, but in fact severing passage, of which there is a statutory right enshrined in law. Unfortunately EA denies it has a statutory responsibility to fix the lock, and even if they did, it’s too costly for the limited use in the current circumstances regarding funding.
The issue might eventually be sorted by the provision of the final stage of the proposed Fenlands Link, should this ever reach fruition. But in the meantime an important principle is at stake, what to do about a navigation authority not acting to carry out its legal responsibilities. It’s a matter that is currently taxing IWA’s Peterborough Branch and IWA’s Navigation Committee. IWA has taken preliminary legal soundings citing an option to pursue a court case incurring a possible legal bill of over £100,000.
IWA national chairman Clive Henderson and Navigation Committee chairman Paul Roper are to meet with representatives from the Peterborough Branch shortly to consider possible campaign options. In addition to legal action, an alternative course may be to investigate acquiring a temporary lease for the waterway and utilising volunteers to restore the waterway possibly with a larger lock, as was historically undertaken for the southern Stratford-upon-Avon Canal.
British Waterways has published an update to the 2004 ‘mooring guidance for continuous cruisers’; guidance for boats without a home mooring.
The updated guidance reflects the judgment in the case of British Waterways v Davies in which the Court found that moving up and down within a 10 mile stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal with no home mooring did not amount to bona fide navigation. The new, shorter, guidance explains what is meant by bona fide navigation and seeks to clarify the nature of the movement that must take place.
The guidance is a schedule of the licence terms and conditions which have been updated accordingly. For more information please go to www.britishwaterways.co.uk/mooringguidance.
IWA supports the document, IWA's policy is as follows:
IWA has a strong track record as a campaigning organisation undertaking waterway projects at local level for the benefit of all waterway users and in pursuit of maintaining the nation’s canals and rivers for navigation.
IWA is seeking to strengthen its well established credentials in this area by recruiting a new campaign team member to work directly with the Campaigns and Communications Manager to offer peripatetic support for branches to help plan, support and coordinate local projects and engage new local volunteers as part of IWA’s ongoing commitment to local campaign work.
Reporting to the Campaigns and Communications Manager your role will be to work with the campaigns team and local IWA volunteers at branch level to identify distinct project opportunities for IWA to undertake, and to help project manage the prioritized projects through to completion. Providing assistance to branches in recruiting and coordinating and leading volunteer activity as required.
The role will involve travelling and some out of office hours work.
Download Role Information
Download Application Pack
IWA National Appointments
Trustees elected the following at their August meeting. Clive Henderson was appointed as national chairman for a further term of one year. Les Etheridge and Paul Roper were elected as Deputy national chairmen. Les Etheridge was reappointed to the post of National treasurer for a further term of one year.
Doug Tomlinson was a member of IWA's Ipswich Branch for many years and had spent several years cruising the canal on hotel boats.
Doug left a donation to the branch in his will and it was felt by the committee that they would like to remember Doug by putting a bench seat in a position by the River Gipping as it was somewhere Doug would have enjoyed spending a few hours.
The bench seat has been put by the river at Hawks Mill, Needham Market and displays a commemorative plaque. We felt it was appropriate to invite his good friend Brian Wilkinson along to Hawks Mill to unveil the bench.
Julia Hones was a past chair of IWA's Gloucestershire and Herefordshire Branch and a tireless worker for the IWA locally, regionally and nationally, serving for 3 years as an IWA Trustee. A tree has been planted by the branch in her memory by the canal near Saul.
A plaque will be unveiled by the tree on Sunday 30th October in the presence of her family. Everybody is invited to attend and you should meet at the Cotswold Canals Trust Heritage Centre at about 1.00pm for the unveiling at 2.00pm. If anybody is interested in attending please contact Roger Holmes email@example.com
Wanted - Waterway Photographs for use by IWA
Do you have any interesting or great looking photographs of the waterways? You can now upload your photos to the IWA website to appear in photo galleries of each waterway, for example the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation www.waterways.org.uk/waterways/canals_rivers/chelmer_blackwater/photo_gallery. Please include a brief description of the waterway location when uploading your photos.
IWA Calendar Competition
We are also looking for photos for the 2013 IWA Calendar and offering three free calendars to the photographers who's photos are used. Photos entered for the calendar competition will be displayed on the IWA website. The photos will then be shortlisted and voted for. Please include a brief description of the waterway location and 'CALENDAR COMPETITION' when uploading your entries. Photos for the Calendar need to be digital with a resolution of at least 300 DPI
To upload your photo to the website (up to 2mb) using our easy online form. www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_image_gallery/upload. Users need to be registered for the IWA website and logged in to use the upload form. Unregistered users can sign up as a 'forum member' for free here www.waterways.org.uk/account/register/
Alternatively, or for larger images, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos uploaded may be used by IWA for publicity purposes, on the web site, in marketing material, our Annual review or as part of our IWA Calendar. Any photos selected for use will be credited where possible.
Please read the Photo Gallery Terms & Conditions www.waterways.org.uk/image_galleries/image_gallery_terms
Committee Officers can now order business cards from Head Office which use the corporate template.
Costs of printing the cards will be recovered from your commitee.
For more information please go towww.waterways.org.uk/private/officer/business_cards
Please note that you will need to be logged in to access this page.
Skippers have only two weeks left to complete their registration for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla taking place on Sunday 3rd June 2012.
The Queen will lead a flotilla down the Thames of up to one thousand boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world.
For more information please see www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/campaign_news/join_iwa_for_the_queen_s_diamond_jubilee_flotilla_down_the_thames
IWA Events Volunteering
Find out about volunteering opportunities at our 2012 IWA events www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/volunteer/event_volunteers
IWA Branch and Region Help Wanted
Ipswich Branch Minutes Secretary - The Minutes Secretary will be required to liaise with the Chairman, issue meeting agendas, take the minutes for committee meetings and issue them.
For a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches and regions please go to: www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies
IWA is looking for an additional volunteer to help out at our Head Office in Chesham. Work hours are flexible and full training will be provided. For further information please email email@example.com.
The transition trustees of the new charity have announced that it will be called the Canal & River Trust and have unveiled its new symbol.
The Welsh name for the new charity, Glandwr Cymru, translates literally as ‘Waterside Wales’.
The Canal & River Trust is expected to launch in April 2012 and will hold 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales, including the third largest estate of listed structures, in trust for the nation.
The “British Waterways” brand will stay in Scotland, where the waterways currently managed by British Waterways Scotland will be kept in the public sector and will not form part of the Canal & River Trust.
For more info please see the British Waterways website www.britishwaterways.co.uk/newsroom/all-press-releases/display/id/3200
Waterways trustees report on Canal & River Trust progress
The transition trustees of the newly named Canal & River Trust, which from next April will take responsibility for the 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, have published their first report on what has been achieved since they took up their posts in May 2011.
To read the report please go to www.britishwaterways.co.uk/media/documents/Trustee-Announcement-The-Canal-and-River-Trust.pdf
British Waterways Annual Meeting
The BW Annual Meeting was held at the Bond Company Fazeley Street Birmingham on 13th October 2011.
Presentations were given by the new charity's transitional trustees, Lynne Berry concerning, the Fundraising plan, and John Dodwell on funding negotiations with Government, which commenced on 12th October and expected to run for a month.
Jim Stirling BW Technical Director made it clear in a presentation on Steady State, that the current funding was inadequate, and that £103 million was needed to run the navigations per year, and an additional £20 million was needed to rectify the deterioration experienced in recent years from having to reduce spend on navigation inorder to focus on repair of principal assets. This is of course in addition to the additional funding needed to actually run the organisation and its other functions.
New Bridge Enables the Restoration of Runcorn Locks on the Bridgewater Canal
On 3rd October, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond gave the green light for up to £470m of funding for a new bridge across the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes.
This is good news for the proposed restoration Runcorn Locks, on the Bridgewater Canal, which has been under consideration for some years. The restoration of Runcorn Locks has been, in principle, supported by Halton Borough Council, but because of issues associated with the current road layout of the approaches to the existing ‘Silver Jubilee’ bridge across the Mersey, progress with the proposed restoration was unlikely to go ahead until a replacement Runcorn to Widnes Bridge was built.
Construction of the new bridge – known as the Mersey Gateway Bridge – is expected to begin in 2013 and is due to be open for traffic in 2016.
The existing Silver Jubilee Bridge, located 1.5 miles to the west of the planned bridge, will be converted into a local traffic bridge with priority for buses and improved conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
For more information please see the Runcorn Locks Restoration Society website runcornlocksrestoration.org/RuncornLocksRestoration/Runcorn_Locks_Restoration_Society_-_Welcome.html
The Whitchurch Waterway Trust has unveiled its proposed design for a new canal basin estimated to cost approximately £475,000.
Whitchurch residents have been invited to comment on their plans for the extending the Whitchurch Arm (of the Llangollen Canal) towards the town centre.
The comments and suggestions received so far have included:
The Trust is now seeking the support of the Town Council to help with the costs for further design work and applying for planning permission.
For more information and detailed plans please go to www.whitchurchwaterway.org.uk/
Nominate Your Favourite Project for the Waterways Renaissance Awards
The 2012 Waterways Renaissance Awards are now open for entry. This year there is a new category – Volunteering – to recognise the work undertaken along the canals and rivers by volunteers.
The Waterways Renaissance Awards are free to enter and anyone can nominate a project.
The categories for 2012 are:
The closing date for entries is Friday 9 December 2011. For details of the assessment criteria and how to enter, visit www.thewaterwaystrust.org.uk.
Further information is also available by contacting The Waterways Trust on 01452 318208 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A suspected arson attack has caused deadly chemicals to pollute some West Midlands canals, killing thousands of fish and at least two swans.
Sections of the Birmingham Old Main Line Canal, between Wolverhampton and Short Heath, and the Wyrley and Essington Canal, which runs for almost 17 miles from Wolverhampton to Brownhills, have been affected.
It is believed an arson attack, at a Midland industrial estate, causing aerosols, paints, thinners and detergents to explode is behind the pollution.
Read the full article www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2011/10/11/thousands-of-fish-killed-in-birmingham-and-black-country-canals-after-chemicals-cause-pollution-97319-29572098/
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 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.
Please see below for a list of canal restoration and clean-up events.
21st - 29th October - Grand Western Canal, Nynehead Historic Lift (WRG Forestry Camp)
Details: This year's WRG Forestry camp will continue working on preserving the structure with plenty of scrub bashing, tree felling and restoration work along the course of the canal. The camp costs £64 for the whole time or £8 per day.
Contact: email@example.com or visit www.waterways.org.uk/wrg/regional_groups/wrg_forestry/wrg_forestry_canal_camp
22nd - 29th October - Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (WRG)
Details: Cost: £56. Get stuck into various improvement works including bank protection, painting, towpath clearance and repairs. Accommodation for the week is on a barge moored in the tidal estuary, converted for residential use. Some spaces available for experienced volunteers - contact Jenny Black for more details.
22nd - 23rd October - Somerset Coal Canal (London WRG)
Details: London WRG volunteers will be spending the weekend working on the Somerset Coal Canal. www.coalcanal.org. New volunteers welcome.
5th - 6th November - Inglesham Lock, Cotswold Canals (London WRG)
Details: Scrub bashing & other works to help with the restoration of Inglesham Lock. New volunteers welcome.
5th - 6th November - Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (Essex WRG)
Details: Volunteers will spend the weekend helping maintain the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. Accomodation will probably be on the Haybay Barge.
To advertise your upcoming cleanup/restoration events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/
22nd October - Sussex Ouse Navigation (Kent & East Sussex Branch)
Details: Meet 10:30 at ‘The Sloop Inn’, Sloop Lane, Freshfield, West Sussex RH17 7NP (north of Scaynes Hill). LR TQ385243. (Park in the main Sloop car-park adjacent to and south of the pub, not the one on the opposite side of the road; please park as far away from the pub building as you can). Return approximately 12:30. The Sloop serves good meals. Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust event to which all are welcome.
23rd October – 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, email@example.com.
27th October - Shropshire Union Canal (IWA Chester and District Branch)
Details: Meet at The Old Trooper on the A41, Whitchurch Road, Christleton (CH3 6AE) at 10.15am. The walk leaves Christleton in an easterly direction across open fields before heading south to join the Baker Way. The path leads to the Shropshire Union Canal, then back to the pub after a walk of about 4 miles. Map reference 436 656 OS Explorer 266.
3rd November - Shugborough & Cannock Chase (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: Forest, Country Park and Canal Towpath Walk (Shugborough Estate and Cannock Chase). Meet at the Clifford Arms, Great Haywood, ST18 0SR. 10.00 for 10.15 am start. Approx 4 miles, easy walking, no stiles. Optional meal afterwards.
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
6th November - Paddington Branch, Grand Union (London Walks)
Details: Paddington Basin, Little Venice, Paddington Branch Grand Union, meet 2.30pm Edgware Road Station (Circle Line).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, email@example.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To advertise your towpath walks in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar http://www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Gemma Bolton