The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has launched its briefing for Members of Parliament and local government politicians for the party conference season.
The document is entitled ‘THE INLAND WATERWAYS: How a Conservancy Would Get the Best For Your Community’. It outlines how important the inland waterways can be for local people and communities and argues that the best way for these to be secured is for the government now to merge the two main publicly funded navigation authorities in the form of a charitable trust with a long term rolling funding package. The right decisions by the coalition Government under the Comprehensive Spending Review can secure the waterways for the future.
The Waterways Minister, has stated a preference for a third sector model to manage the waterways by civil society. IWA also believes that this is the best approach. We are in no doubt that the first building block for the third sector model should be the merger of British Waterways and Environment Agency navigations.
However, IWA support is not unconditional. A third sector model will not suddenly become a body that does not require public funding. IWA believes any new organisation will need to retain British Waterways’ property portfolio and a long-term central government service contract to reflect the public benefits for which there are not, and there can never be, income streams.
IWA’s position and its ongoing campaign on the proposals for the movement of BW into the third sector, and IWA’s wish to see the EA navigations incorporated into the new organisation were discussed at length by officers and members at a pre-AGM meeting on Saturday 25th September.
Whilst there was general consent for the continuing stance by IWA, which is conditional on, integration of EA navigations, stable and secure funding , and there being suitable stakeholder inclusion in the governance arrangements, there were several useful and interesting questions from the floor which together with others recently asked by branches, may be of interest to readers and are offered as a compilation below .
Q. What are the perceived chances of BW alone moving into the third sector / Civil Society - as compared with a new Inland Waterway Conservancy (BW+EA) body. What is the latest thinking on time-scale to implementation (either alone or combined with EA).
A. We believe that the odds are now much better than ‘even’ for a merger of some sort. It would be difficult for government to justify not doing it. There would undoubtedly be a large grant cut likely next year and this would make maintaining the status quo on EA’s own navigations untenable (to quote EA’s head of Navigation) joining forces with BW would serve to include EA navigations under BW’s property portfolio funding umbrella and allow consideration of a long term funding contract – which would help with operations planning and sustainability.
Q. Governance. How do BW’s ideas of what they would like to see (in terms of structure, governance, etc.) for their modified / replacement body, differ from IWA’s ideas for a conservancy?
A. We believe that these are now getting pretty close – IWA has been lobbying hard within Defra for localism – ie proper stakeholder representation in agenda setting and in how money is raised and spent locally. We believe that locally raised monies ought to be able to be prioritised and spent locally. BW is also asking IWA what more could be done to promote localism we are participating in that dialogue.
Q. Viability: BW’s ‘best estimate’ of ‘funding gap filling’ seen by some members suggests that – even if they were successful in attracting funds from all their known charitable trusts and other similar sources – this would barely half-bridge the existing (but growing) funding gap. How does IWA view BW’s ‘business model’ ? - And, if gaps can’t be bridged, what is the perceived future of the existing inland waterway network?
A. We expect and are arguing for the trust approach to come with a long term funding contract which would bring more financial certainty and allow access to charitable funding – if it doesn’t come with a long term funding deal, IWA would not be supportive of the proposals and would see the deal as simply a palming off of BW (and the EA) navigations by government.
Whatever the outcome of the funding negotiation, however, it is our view that it is becoming clearer that waterways within the new body are more likely to have a better future than if they stay within the current management arrangements where they are open to the yearly predations of government cuts in grant, as this makes any kind of business and operations planning very difficult.
Q. Do we know why BW favours trust or charitable status along the RNLI lines – rather than any other model? Are BW directors aware that ‘the gravy train’ is about to enter the terminus?
A. Everyone is now talking about “the charity” so that seems to be the way we are going. This is probably down to the ability to access charitable funds. Yes, those funds are tight at the moment but we are looking for a long term solution way beyond the current recession.
Q ‘Civil Society’ vibes, and other ‘noises’ to date by BW ( K&A experiments etc.) suggest significant local input into future (local) decision making. a) Is IWA happy about the mix of interests considered for inclusion in these local bodies, and b) Are problems in terms of ‘micro / macro’ conflict, or confusion (issues ‘falling between stools’ etc) being considered ?
A. Yes, especially by BW and Defra.
Q . Do we know any of the thoughts that BW have for the future of The Waterways Trust ? What are our thoughts on this?
A. We are aware that discussions are taking place on this subject. BW currently make the major financial contribution to TWT, so IWA believes that something will eventually have to happen as it would seem illogical to maintain a sister charity as a separate organisation.
Q Volunteers : Does IWA think that its right that the increasing use of volunteers should be a factor in determining part of the financial remuneration of executives in a trust or charity?
A. This is for the trustees of the trust to decide ultimately, but as use of volunteers is fundamental to the business plan, IWA thinks it ought to be in scope.
Q, Volunteers 2: Are BW’s projections of volunteer participation in their business model reasonable?
A. We see no reason to doubt their ability to increase volunteering by the stated 10 fold increase in monetary value over the ten year period stated.
Q.Volunteers 3: In view of the fact that one of BW’s problems (as seen by a significant number of their boating stakeholders) is lack of enforcement of mooring conditions / overstaying on moorings: does IWA believe that directly employed bank staff will be reduced to the point where volunteers will be put in positions where they have to enforce by-laws etc.?
A. No - our discussions with BW on this subject indicate that enforcement is a specific task and needs a motivated and professional approach – it will remain a non volunteer task – IWA supports this line. BW indicates that enforcement will be stepped up and the changes it is implementing for overstaying charges are intended to help fund better enforcement. However, BW will ask for assistance in identifying transgressors and reporting them to the teams from the public.
Q.Volunteers 4: Assuming that IWA members start to sign up in more significant numbers to work for a new IWC ‘type’ body; do we foresee confusion, inefficiency and ‘churn’ problems when:- a) volunteers come from widely disparate sources; but more importantly b) because conflicts arise between directly employed and volunteer personel ?
A. It doesn’t appear to be an issue on many other volunteer schemes around the country (not necessarily waterways based) – many local authorities adopt volunteers under professional supervision for restoration and reclamation schemes these days .
Q The future. It would be interesting to know whether Aickman’s view of the future of IWA in the advent of a conservancy being formed ever went on record.
A. IWA is not aware that Aickman (surprisingly) ever made his thought known on the subject. He did express a view that a Conservancy needed to be run by professional and well remunerated staff so that the highest standards of ability could be attracted. But, as regards IWA, it will undoubtedly need to be considered in time – our work is to support all waterways, past and future, and to ensure that the user has a voice – this may mean working both within the new organisation and externally to it as a watch dog. Under current plans it seems that restoration wouldn’t be covered in a significant way, nor would any of the other non-government funded waterways be included in the scope of the new organisation – so IWA clearly still has a role.
Branch and Region Roles Presentation.
Clive Henderson national chairman, made a presentation on the roles and responsibilities of branches and regions, at the pre –AGM meeting, there followed a brief discussion. Further information and a revised paper will be issued shortly to branches and region officers.
Minutes of the 2010 IWA AGM are available at http://www.waterways.org.uk/pdf/minutes/agm_2010
• Trustee Election Results
There being three vacancies during the year, and following two retirements, there were five vacant places for nationally elected trustees. Seven nominations had been received and a postal ballot had been held.
281 votes had been cast [180 by post, 19 by e-mail and 82 via the web site]. Votes were as follows:
Ivor Caplan 249
Gordon Harrower 64
Alasdair Lawrance 188
Jerry Sanders 199
Jim Shead 180
Paul Strudwick 157
Ian West 212
Ivor Caplan, Alasdair Lawrance, Jerry Sanders, Jim Shead and Ian West were duly elected.
Nominations had also been sought for three region chairmen posts where terms of office had been completed. In each case there had been only one nomination, and appointments were therefore:
John Pomfret, chairman of East Midlands Region until the 2013 AGM
Peter Scott, chairman of North East & Yorkshire Region until the 2013 AGM
Chris Birks, chairman of South West Region until the 2012 AGM
Chris Birks appointment had commenced on 2nd July, there being no existing chairman in office at the time nominations closed, and his appointment being for the remainder of a three-year term ending at the 2012 AGM.
For full details about IWA trustees please go to
• IWA Award Winners
The Cyril Styring Trophy, the Association’s most prestigious award, was presented to Tony
Harrison in recognition of his work as an Honorary Consultant Engineer, as chairman of
Restoration Committee, his 15-year term as a trustee and long membership of Finance Committee and the Investment Working Group.
The John Heap Salver, for fund-raising work, was presented to Clive and Jill Field for their
enterprising support for the Cotswold Canals restoration over many years, including organising the Saul Junction Festival.
The Christopher Power Prize for restoration work was awarded to both Colin Turner of IWA’s Ipswich Branch and the River Gipping Trust, and to Shropshire Union Canal Society. Colin Turner and Terry O’Brien, chairman of the Society, accepted the Prize.
Clive Henderson then announced the winners of the 2010 branch achievement award as IWA’s Northampton Branch, particular for the branch’s many successful rallies on the Nene, an excellent and well-attended series of public meetings, a first-class newsletter and good presence on the Association’s web site. The award was presented to Liz Payne, a former chairman of Northampton Branch.
Harry Arnold presented Richard Bird medals to Denis and Janet Farmer (Shrewsbury District and North Wales Branch), Roy and Lois Parker (Warwickshire Branch) and Ruth Symonds (North Lancs & Cumbria Branch), who were all present to receive their awards. Richard Bird Medals were also announced to Graham Whorton (Birmingham Black Country & Worcestershire Branch), John Ashley (Middlesex Branch) and Michael Essex-Lopresti (North and East London Branch), who were unable to be present.
• IWA membership Rates 2011
As from 1st January 2011, IWA subscriptions will be as follows:
Ordinary Member (UK) £28.50
Family or Joint Adult Membership (UK) £35.50
Overseas Membership (per single address outside UK) £61.50
Senior Citizen (UK) £20.50
Senior Citizen (UK – two members aged over 65) £24.00
Corporate – Non-profit making bodies £49.00
Corporate – Profit making bodies - up to 20 employees £54.50
Corporate – Profit making bodies - more than 20 employees £108.50
Single Life Membership (UK) £570.00
Joint Life Membership (UK) £710.00
Overseas Life Membership (per single address outside UK) £1,230.00
National Campaign Rally
IWA has announced that Northampton will host their National Campaign Rally in 2011, over the May Day weekend, 30 April to 2 May 2011.
The aims of the Rally will be to celebrate 250 years of the river Nene becoming navigable to Northampton, to encourage greater use of this lovely river, supported by better facilities, and to contribute to the process of reconnecting Northampton with its waterfront. The new marina currently being constructed by the Environment Agency will be complete, representing the first step in revitalisation of the riverside.
Organised by IWA’s Northampton branch, the event is also supported by Northampton Borough Council, the Environment Agency, British Waterways and the Association of Nene River Clubs and will be one of a series of events being held throughout 2011 to highlight the Nene and its importance to the local area.
Rally organisers hope to have traders, entertainment and activities for children during the weekend. There are extensive moorings on the river, adjacent to the Rally site, and it is also hoped to run a temporary campsite in conjunction with the Caravan Club’s Northampton Region, which will enable more visitors to join in the celebrations. There will be free admission for the general public to the waterfront boat moorings and the rally site in Beckett’s Park.
The 91 mile River Nene has played a vital role in the area since the Bronze Age with significant finds being made, particularly at Flag Fen in 1982, where a visitor centre and museum record the discovery of 3000 year old timbers which had been perfectly preserved in the moist soil. However, the navigable section up to Northampton from The Wash was only finished in 1761. The first navigable link to the main canal system via the Grand Junction Canal (now the Grand Union), at Gayton Junction, was completed in 1815.
With 38 locks, many with electrically operated guillotine style gates, and (usually) a gentle current, the Nene is a relatively easy waterway to navigate. It also passes through large towns and attractive small villages and is regarded by many as a perfect representation of an English river.
Organisers would welcome enquiries from anyone wishing to join the celebrations during the weekend – whether traders, entertainers, boaters or campers. For further information
IWA Stoke-on-Trent branch is holding a “Waterway Community Day” on Saturday 2nd October, 10.00am to 5.00pm, at Canal Cruising Co. Ltd, Crown Street, Stone, ST15 8QN, by Yard Lock (No. 28) Trent & Mersey Canal.
Visit Canal Cruising Co on Saturday 2 October - the boatyard at the heart of canal town Stone – and explore taking a holiday afloat, life on board a working narrow boat and restoring the lost canals of Staffordshire with volunteers from the branch.
Family-run business Canal Cruising Co is a great supporter of IWA’s work and is delighted to host an IWA Waterway Community Day during Stone’s annual Food & Drink Festival. Visitors can explore on board a modern holiday boat, look in the back cabin of an historic working narrow boat and go Wild Over Waterways –WOW – with free children’s activities exploring life afloat, traditional canal art and water safety.
For more information please contact Julie Arnold, IWA Stoke-on-Trent branch Tel: 07712 897075 email@example.com
Karen Wyatt, Canal Cruising Company Ltd….Tel: 01785 813982 www.canalcruising.co.uk
On Sunday 26th September, IWA Lichfield branch brought together local volunteers to improve the canal towpath walk and navigation through Rugeley on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
The 32 volunteers made a huge difference to the appearance of the area along the canal. Benches were repaired and painted, vegetation was cleared, notice boards were replaced (and now have information in them!), and the canal bank was repaired in places. Four bikes and a shopping trolley were pulled from the canal with grappling hooks. The graffiti at the Brereton end of the towpath was removed, and the Community Payback Team cleared vegetation from the sloping bank at Station Road Bridge.
Although the towpath improvements were an IWA initiative, BW supplied the equipment, back up and management of the work party, with a workboat and crew to facilitate the work.
Rugeley Lions Association had a team of 8 people who made a great contribution to the day, and Rugeley Town Councillor, Justin Johnson, and Police Community Support Officer Liz Dale worked hard to remove the graffiti – community support in the ‘real ‘meaning of the words.
This is the third volunteer event in Rugeley, and IWA Lichfield believes it is making a real difference to the way the waterway looks, for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. More work parties are envisaged for the future, and will be publicised nearer the time.
Parts of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 come into force on 1st October. The key feature of the Act is the division of risk.
An overview of all flood and coastal erosion risk management is given to the Environment Agency. The EA are responsible for the development of a national strategy for managing coastal erosion and all sources of flood risk for England.
Unitary and county councils however, are to take the lead in managing the risk of all local floods within the national and their own local strategies. These lead flood authorities will have powers to designate structures and features that affect flooding or coastal erosion and which are relied upon for risk management. Once a feature has been designated, the owner must seek consent from the authority to alter, remove or replace it. If works are conducted without consent, the authority may issue an enforcement notice requiring restoration of the structure or feature.
Unitary and county councils will also be responsible for the approval of proposed sustainable drainage systems (”SuDS”) in new developments and redevelopments. Approval must be obtained before a developer can commence building. It is to be sought and obtained at the same time as planning permission. A non-performance bond, repayable if and when satisfactory works are completed, may be sought and local authorities will have a duty to adopt and maintain SuDS once completed to their satisfaction. Adoption agreements will be required before connecting into the public sewage system. The Environment Agency has already produced a Flood Map highlighting the predicted risk of flooding in any particular area.This can be viewed via the Agency’s website. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/
IWA believes that there could be very significant advantages for some waterways (especially derelict ones) – but potentially there are implications for presently navigable ones where major, or diversion, works may fundamentally change an existing waterway if it is designated as one relied upon for risk management. It is presumed that proof would be required to be provided that changes to the structure would either improve the existing drainage situation or, at the least, did not make drainage any worse.
Bridge Centring Available
Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust has a bridge centring (an arch former) designed and built by volunteers available for loan to other groups. It was designed for the restoration of Ell Brook Aqueduct. It comes in large pieces and is adjustable please contact Caroline Jones at Caroline.Jones@thewaterwaystrust.org.uk
Ashby Canal Snarestone Opening
A ceremony to officially open the newly restored length of canal at Snarestone, was held on Friday 17th September. Amongst the dignitaries present were the Chairman of Leicestershire County Council, Peter Osborne, (who performed the opening ceremony), and IWA national chairman, Clive Henderson. Also represented were: Ashby Canal Association, IWA Leicester branch, Measham Development Trust, The Ashby Canal Trust, British Waterways, East Midlands Development Agency, and the National Forest Company. Two ACA members’ boats had earlier conveyed the official party from the Globe Inn at Snarestone.
Before boats were admitted to the restored canal, A new swing foot-bridge was dedicated by ACA chairman, Audrey Boston, who funded it in memory of her late husband, the Revd Teddy Boston. A new slipway was then also inaugurated by a ceremonial launching of the trail-boat “Maggie B”.
ACA has fought tirelessly for the canal’s restoration ever since it was founded 44 years ago. ACA also wishes to record its thanks to Leicestershire County Council for its continued support for the restoration scheme.
Ashby Canal Association has recently launched a new appeal to ‘buy a pile for £25’ further. Details on www.ashbycanal.org.uk
Obituary – Tony Mason
We regret to report the death of Tony Mason. Tony was a former national chairman of the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs for fourteen years, during which time he led for AWCC on negotiations with British Waterways and the Boat Safety Scheme.
IWA Head Office , Island House Moor Road, Chesham , HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Jo Gilbertson 01494 783453