IWA Bulletin November 2010

Top Story

Government Publishes Draft Public Bodies Bill

IWA was pleased to learn that that the many hard won commitments and concessions gained over the years in successive legislation are unlikely to be ‘swept away’ in the invention of a new charitable organisation, which will take over the running of the waterways currently managed by BW, through the implementation of the Public Bodies Bill published on Friday 29 October 2010.

The Bill although primary legislation , is a relatively ‘simple’ document, that allows the Minister to do whatever he or she likes with BW and its functions, by means of ministerial order, but so long as no third party loses rights or protections as a consequence.  The implication of this is that all the existing legislation concerning BW will remain in place, but all the rights, duties and obligations of BW may simply be transferred to whatever body or bodies takes over BW's work.  All the safeguards of the 1968 Transport Act and 1995 BW Act, for example, will be untouched.

The Bill also allows for similar powers (i.e. the Minister can do whatever he or she likes - ranging from abolition to 'nothing at all') with the Broads Authority, Environment Agency and internal drainage boards (which includes the Middle Level Commissioners), and the National Parks.

It appears to IWA that there is nothing in the Bill that is contrary to IWA policy or objectives or that IWA is likely to object to. However, when the relevant draft statutory instruments are published, IWA will want to look at them carefully, to check that there is nothing unforeseen, but the indication from this Bill is that there should not be a problem through losing any current existing protections for the waterways, in fact there may be some unexpected benefits relating to the possible need to upgrade ( unspecified in this bill)  to cruise-way status through the need to protect water rights for remainder waterways. IWA will of course be closely monitoring this situation.

IWA Adjournment Debate

In the meantime IWA’s campaign team are continuing to monitor and engage politicians and officials in the development the New Society model for BW. IWA is currently speaking to friendly MPs to see if  an adjournment debate can be arranged that could to focus Parliament’s attention on what IWA see as key issues, particularly regarding:

  • What progress is being made in the consideration of including the EA navigations in the new waterways charity that is being set up?
  • How is a long term service contract from Government for the charity developing  – will it perhaps be 10 to 15 years – reflecting public benefit?
  • How will the long term contract be priced so that when the charity is launched it is financially viable?
  • Can the Minister confirm that the charity will have the benefit of ALL the BW property portfolio?
  • Can the Minister provide an update on how governance model is developing to ensure that local communities and special interest groups have a greater input to local and national management of the waterways?

New Defra Team

IWA is also aware that a new Defra team is being assembled to handle the transitional arrangements; for British Waterways move to the third sector and for the consideration of any possible inclusion of EA navigations. IWA’s campaign team has arranged an early meeting with the Defra Team leader to discuss the IWA agenda and seek ways to help shape the outcome.

IWA Branch and Region Vacancies

There is now a page on the IWA website where branches and regions can advertise any vacancies they may have or requests for assistance. http://www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies

If your branch or region has any posts that need filling, please could you email the following details:
•    What the position involves
•    What the time commitments are
•    Contact information to find out more about the role
•    Any other relevant information

(Could you also please let us know when a position is filled so that we can keep the website as up to date as possible.)

IWA photo bank – request for photos

IWA is still seeking members photographs for inclusion in IWA's 2012 calendar, IWA also needs photos for campaigning and publicity purposes so please have a look back at your recent shots to find some that you could contribute to IWA. We need 13 horizontal postcard format shots for the months included (January to January) and one high quality vertical shot for the front cover, which is always the most difficult picture to find. If you have some good photos of canal or river scenes please send them to gemma.bolton@waterways.org.uk

IWA speakers directory 

IWA promotions and communications team are compiling a new up-to-date list of speakers and presentations for use by branches, if you know of a good speaker please let us know at membership@waterways.org.uk

IWA Local Recruitment coordinators – would you like to help with leaflet distribution?

We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to adopt a marina or boatyard or boating business and keep them supplied with recruitment literature. Please contact Lesley.sanders@waterways.org.uk
 or phone HO on 01494 783 453

Inglesham update- shopping list of tasks needing funding

Inglesham  ‘Guardian Angels ‘ required -We are also seeking ‘guardian angels’ to finalise the funding of the purchase of the canal bed; in £1,000  units on behalf of the trust. – if you would like to be recognised as a ‘Guardian Angel and specifically fund the purchase of the track please contact us at jo.gilbertson@waterways.org.uk.

A plan of the site together with a list of tasks needing undertaking is available

If you would like to sponsor a specific job so that WRG can make a start next year on site please contact Jo.gilbertson@waterways.org.uk

Repairs to the Islands at Paper Mill Lock 2010 

The major Essex Waterways Ltd project for this year has been bank piling at Paper Mill Lock. This had to be undertaken during the summer when the risk of flood conditions was (hopefully) at its lowest.  The poor condition of the lower bank between the two weirs was quite evident when seen from the mill pool below the lock. Here the plastic and timber piles were obviously failing with the risk of further bank collapse. If left unchecked, this would have resulted in failure of the weir structures which are especially prone to heavy flood flows. For the full story please go to: http://www.waterways.org.uk/essex_waterways/navigation_work/paper_mill_lock_weir_repairs

Local News

Banbury Canal Day

IWA Oxfordshire Branch members were busy running trip boats, for the sixth year in a row, in Banbury for Banbury Canal Day on Sunday 3rd October. Banbury Town Council is the organiser of this very substantial and successful event which seems to have to some extent become weather proof. Turnout this year was good despite indifferent weather. Over 300 people had a free short ride (many kindly made donations to IWA funds) in the boats kindly loaned (again) free by Tooley’s Boatyard and Oxfordshire Narrowboats.

Sussex Ouse Autumn Public Meeting

The Autumn 2010 Meeting of Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust  (SORT) will take place on Thursday 18th November, 7:00 for 7:30pm, in the Upper Room, Haywards Heath Methodist Church, Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 3DN (near the railway station, about 200yds past the Clair Hall).

Dr. Peter Brandon will present an illustrated talk entitled 'Key Sites on the River Ouse'. Peter is a well-known historian of Sussex, whose published books include: The South Downs, The Shaping of the Sussex Landscape, The Discovering of Sussex, The North Downs, The Kent & Sussex Weald etc.

This will be a joint meeting with Solent & Arun Branch and Kent & East Sussex Branch of the IWA, but all those who are interested are welcome.

Wey and Arun Canal

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has announced that ‘Heads of Agreement’ with the National Trust have now been been reached, whereby a section of National Trust land situated between the River Wey and Stonebridge on the A281 in Shalford, near Guildford, Surrey, will be leased to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust (WACT).

For the Wey & Aun Canal Trust, this is a significant step forward to initiate its local objective of re-establishing the northern section of the Wey & Arun Canal.

The land concerned, ‘Gun's Mouth’, is shortly to be the focus of WACT's activities at the north end of the canal. These activities will initially involve preliminary surveys and site investigations to enable plans for a landing stage to be prepared for approval.

Information about WACT, the canal, and the trip boats at Loxwood is available from the WACT office at The Granary, Flitchfold Farm, Loxwood, Billingshurst, West Sussex RH14 0RH. 01403 752403, office@weyandarun.co.uk

Kennet And Avon - Boaters’ Community Towpath Tidy

The Boaters Community plan to do another boaters' towpath and water clean-up between Bath and Bradford on Avon on Saturday 13th November. They have a work boat (Ishtar) available that day. They need some people to help organise it.

The last clean-up they did went well, and this one is promised to be easier – ‘less vegetation to hide the rubbish, and no sunstroke’. All are welcome to take part. Please contact enquiries@camelotmedia.co.uk and they will forward your name.

Wendover Arm

Wendover Arm Trust will be holding two canal working parties; 5 to 11 November and 4 to 9 December 2010. Call Roger Leishman, on 01442 874536 to book a place or for more information.

The Trust is also urgently seeking someone who could act as  Chairman since the previous incumbent is now concentrating on Fundraising.  The position is not onerous, and the candidate need not own a boat but an interest in the restoration would be preferable.  Possibly someone who has taken early retirement.  Acting Chairman, Roger Leishman, can be contacted on 01442 874536 for an informal discussion.  

Contact Us

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

01494 783 453


Bulletin is edited by Jo Gilbertson & Gemma Bolton