IWA believes that CRT has the opportunity to make positive changes to its boat licensing system that would allow it to focus resources and give boaters a fairer deal. The current licensing arrangements have remained largely unchanged for more than two decades and are often cited by boat owners as being complex, out of date and inequitable.
The proposed review of CRT’s licensing structure could potentially address the issue of overcrowding in certain stretches of the waterways system and how services, originally provided for occasional navigating boaters, can be adequately resourced. IWA also acknowledges that the present method of charging by length of boat, rather than length x beam, could be seen as unfair to boaters with smaller, narrower vessels. A further pricing differential would encourage people who would like to start out on a life of boating.
CRT's consultation will be run by Involve, an independent charity and will aim to ask boaters their views on the fairest and simplest way to split the important financial contribution made by the different types of boats and boaters towards the upkeep of the waterways.
The first step in a three-stage consultation is just starting. In stage one, Involve will interview representatives from the main boating organisations to find out their views on how the consultation should work and what it should cover. IWA will be taking part in this and will be putting forward proposals to CRT on possible future licensing options that have been agreed by its Navigation Committee.
During the second stage, which will run from April, Involve will host a series of in-depth workshops with boaters across the country. Participants will reflect the diversity in the boating community.
The final stage will be a consultation for all boat owners to give their views on the options developed during the two previous stages and IWA would encourage members to participate.
IWA’s concerns that some EA waterways may have to close in the future due to lack of funding has resulted in Parliamentary Questions being asked. Written Questions were put to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Northampton South MP, David Mackintosh, with Thérèse Coffey, Waterway Minister, responding on 14th February.
Included in the Waterway Minister’s response was the statement “If there is a safety risk to members of the public then repairs will be undertaken to remove the risk or the asset will be closed.” This response is of particular concern to IWA as it overlooks EA’s statutory obligation under Section 8 of the Anglian Waterways Authority Act 1977 to maintain the main navigable channels and navigation works for recreational navigation. Some further Written Questions, again from David Mackintosh MP, were responded to by the Minister on 20th February. Whilst the statement from the Waterway Minister that “No navigations on Anglian Waterways have been closed permanently since 2006. For health and safety reasons, and to protect the general public and those who use the waterways, the Environment Agency has temporarily closed some assets such as locks and landing stages, that have made some waterways difficult to access for some craft.” is somewhat reassuring, it overlooks the fact that the closure of some locks has in effect made whole lengths of waterway inaccessible for all craft bigger than canoes, such as Harlem Hill Lock on the River Ancholme where the top two miles of navigation is cut off by the lock closure which took place in 2012.
IWA is also concerned about the statement “The Environment Agency will consider the restoration and re-opening of closed navigable waterways depending on the amount of future funding available and the importance, such as the level of use, of the waterway to be re-opened.” In IWA’s view “the level of use” should not be a significant factor in whether or not a waterway is reopened, particularly on those waterways with a statutory right of navigation. Level of use is only indicative of the situation at a particular moment in time, and is something that can change, for example through the creation of new facilities and moorings, in the future.
None of the answers to Written Questions so far give IWA much reassurance other than to confirm that this campaign is essential to securing increased funding from Government for EA waterways, whether or not they are transferred to CRT. Your support for this campaign is critical to achieving this so please do write to your MP if you can.
Over 230 letters or emails have now been written to MPs and local authorities in EA’s Anglian Region, all asking for concerns to be raised with the Waterway Minister. More detailed information about the campaign, and letter templates for writing to MPs and local authorities, can be found in the last Bulletin and on IWA’s campaign web page.
Photo: Mike Daines - Welches Dam, Old Bedford River - will this be a familiar sight in the future?
Finalists have now been chosen to feature in our 2018 calendar and Christmas cards. Over 450 photographs showing a broad cross section of Britain's best waterways in different seasons were submitted to our latest competition.
It's now time to vote for your favourite. The overall winner will receive £150 to spend on Imray books and charts, kindly donated by Imray. See all the shortlisted photos here.
Vote for your favourite photo now!
It will soon be time to launch IWA's 2019 photography competition so get out your cameras and get out on the waterways.
Scottish Canals has announced the outcome of its pricing consultation carried out last year. IWA was one of 78 respondents whose comments can be seen in the results of the consultation. Detailed comments, including those from IWA, are shown in a matrix which runs to 23 pages on the Scottish Canals web site.
As a result of the consultation, Scottish Canals has announced that some customers will see prices rise while others will see them fall. IWA welcomes Scottish Canals’ decision to use CPI instead of RPI for future increases (one of the points made by IWA in its response to the consultation.) Amongst the other various consultation outcomes agreed by the Scottish Canals Board is the announcement that Scottish Canals will develop a paper, by April 2018, regarding the introduction of user operation of locks and bridges on the Lowland canals, one of the wider issues raised by IWA in its response to the consultation, the full details of which can be found on IWA’s campaign web page.
Photo: Neil Edwards - Scottish Highlander on the Caledonian Canal
Photo: Neil Edwards - A kelpie on the Forth & Clyde
IWA's Events team is looking for people who can help the annual Festival of Water obtain sponsorship from local businesses and help develop and run fundraising opportunities during the weekend. Over the last three years the Festival of Water team has run successful events in Saul, Northampton and Pelsall and this new role will be very much a part of a happy, organised team who each year want to exceed the success of the last. If you would like to bring your fundraising, communication or persuasion skills to help or advise this small, enthusiastic team please contact the Committee Chairman Jane Elwell on 01635 324 252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IWA is saddened to report the death of Mike Carter on 22nd February. Mike was North West Region chairman from 2015 and northern deputy chairman of IWA's Navigation Committee until he retired in November last year due to ill health.
Mike's interest in canals started in 1975 when he had a part interest in a converted lifeboat at Preston Brook and hired boats regularly, at first on the Caledonian Canal and then on the Shropshire Union. In 1984 he purchased his own boat at Preston Brook and boated extensively around the UK waterways. He joined IWA in 1984/5, attending many national festivals. In 1998 he was part of the River Mersey and Weaver convoys, leading up to the national festival at Salford Quays.
After organizing various River Mersey convoys in 2009 and 2010, he was invited to join Chester & District Branch committee and in 2014 he was elected as deputy branch chairman.
Becoming more active in the region as CRT emerged, he established regular CRT Waterways Managers' liaison meetings bringing together all the regional CRT Waterway Managers to encourage good partnership working. During his time as North West Region chairman Mike led the team that organised IWA's festival at Eldonian Village in 2016 which was a great campaigning success as it encouraged local people to engage with their canal. Mike challenged Peel Holdings over their management of the Bridgewater Canal Company, particularly in connection with their licensing charges and stoppages on the Canal.
IWA sends its condolences to his widow, Christine and their daughters. Mike will be greatly missed throughout the organisation. His funeral is to take place at Liverpool Anfield Crematorium on 8th March at 2.40pm.
Photo: Mike Carter who died on 22nd February
IWA is also saddened to report the recent deaths of two former MPs who were both great waterway supporters. Sir John Wells, who died on 8th February, aged 91, was a Conservative MP for Maidstone from 1959 to 1987, an IWA vice president for many years and chairman of the all party Parliamentary Waterways Group for a period in the 1970s. Nigel Spearing, who died on 8th January, aged 86, was a Labour MP for Newham South (1974-87) and Acton (1970-4). He was a life-long waterways supporter, including being an IWA member for 44 years and a life member since 1995. Nigel was unfailingly helpful to IWA, especially on technical navigation issues over a long period.
IWA is sad to report the death of Laurie Pearce in January. A canal enthusiast, already an IWA member and active with the Kennet and Avon Canal Association, Laurie teamed up with several others passionate about the waterways restoration movement to form, in June 1967, the Southampton Canal Society, with which he was active for over 49 years.
Photo: Laurie Pearce
On Monday 13th February, volunteers from IWA’s West Country Branch led a local community group Litter Pick for Wildlife at French Weir Park in Taunton, as part of a ‘Celebration of the River Tone’, a week of nature-based family activities organised by Somerset Wildlife Trust. This occasion marked an additional celebration, as it was IWA West Country Branch’s 100th work party since May 1st 2016. The Branch holds regular weekly work parties on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal, leading and assisting with work parties such as this in the local area. Overall 3121 volunteer hours have been worked since May 1st 2016, by over 100 volunteers registered with the branch.
Led by Volunteer Co-ordinator Mike Slade, much has been achieved in maintaining and significantly improving the areas in and around the canal, for waterway users and visitors to enjoy. At the litter pick there was an good turn out of 35 adults plus eight accompanied children from areas around Longrun & French Weir. IWA and Tesco Stores volunteered to carry out an intensive litter pick along the River Tone footpath. Work was undertaken at French Weir, Longrun Meadow, down the riverbank towards Goodlands Gardens, and round the leats near Tesco. Eighteen sacks of litter were collected over the course of the afternoon and the effect of the removal of this amount of litter from the area bodes well for local wildlife. Those taking part may have been rewarded for their effort by seeing a kingfisher, or maybe an otter, as two sightings have been seen in the area since the New Year.Photo: Evidence of an effective litter pick at French Weir Park
Following this successful event, on Wednesday 15th February, 10 IWA West Country Branch volunteers and team leaders from Somerset joined members of The Friends of The Grand Western Canal for a work party on the Grand Western Canal at Jay’s Cutting, Cothay near Wellington. Although some water was present the site is located in the ‘dry’ Somerset section of the GWC. Much was achieved on the day and volunteers were involved with cutting back and removing floating and rotting wood, debris and other flotsam, extensive brambles, overhanging tree branches and hazel saplings, as well as strimming the canal footpath. There is a long held dream to restore the Grand Western Canal and connect up the River Tone in Taunton with the 10 miles of Barge Canal in Devon (the Grand Western Country Park). Tentative plans are beginning to emerge to restore the first 2.3 miles from Taunton to Norton Fitzwarren.
Photo: A misty day for volunteers working on the 'not quite dry' section of the Grand Western Canal.
IWA West Country Branch have been successful in their application for a grant from the One Stop ‘Carriers for Causes’ scheme. The branch will receive £957, half of which will be used to purchase tools and equipment and the other half will be used to fund RYA helmsman training for volunteers, to enable more people to use the work boats on clean ups and task parties.
The One Stop fund is one of a number of grants that have been set up since the 5p bag charge was introduced, with all profits from plastic bag purchases going to local causes and community groups. The ‘Carriers for Causes’ scheme has particular focus on outdoor improvement projects, such as clean up days and community gardens.
IWA’s Fundraising Officer, Sarah Frayne, said ‘’I would encourage as many branches as possible to apply for this type of funding, from One stop and other supermarkets, as much of our work aligns very closely with what they are looking for. I was very pleased to be able to assist West Country Branch in securing this grant.’’
IWA Chelmsford Branch, in partnership with Essex Waterways, has succeeded in getting through to the in-store vote for a Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ grant, with a project to transform the towpath along the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation.
Their project, along with two other successful projects in the region, will go forward to be displayed in Tesco stores where customers will decide the outcome by voting for their favourite project each time they shop. Voting will take place from Wednesday 1st March to Saturday 29th April and the organisations will be notified by the end of May 2017 confirming the amount of funding they will receive. The project with the highest number of votes across the region will receive up to £5,000, the second placed project up to £2,000 and the third placed project £1,000.
The ‘Bags of Help’ scheme is funded by the 5p charge now levied on disposable plastic bags, with all the money going towards community ‘green space’ projects. Chelmsford Branch’s proposed project is to undertake vital towpath improvement work along the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, between Chapman’s Bridge and Tesco, Fullbridge; this will link two other recently improved stretches of path, creating a circular walking route for local people and visitors to enjoy.
The projects will be displayed in stores across eastern Essex, so the Branch needs all local members to shop in store, vote and spread the word! With your help we hope to be able to secure as much funding as possible to get this work underway.
IWA is back in Leicester in 2017 celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Leicester Riverside Festival and the 50th anniversary of the 1967 National IWA Rally in Leicester.
IWA Leicestershire Branch is delighted to have been asked by Leicester City Council to take on the 'harbour master’ job for this year’s Riverside Festival which takes place on 3rd and 4th June. The Branch will be organising the boat entries and moorings for the private, trading and historic boats attending the Festival.
Chairman Ian McDonald said “It is great to be involved again with the Festival, and I know it will be a fantastic weekend. We anticipate a high turnout, so book early to be sure of a good guaranteed mooring. ”
Boat entry forms are available by emailing IWA Leicestershire Branch. Paper copies of the form can be sent if required.Photo: CRT - Leicester Riverside Festival
Following news of the demise of the Banbury Canal Day (Mid February Bulletin) there could well be a reprieve for the event in 2017. A revised planning application for the Castle Quay development has been submitted which will mean construction work will not start until at least September 2017. This delay could leave the coast clear for Canal Day this year but, as completion of building work is scheduled for Christmas 2018, it would almost certainly mean no Banbury Canal Day for next year.
So, in summary, there seems little reason for the Town Council not to carry on with Canal Day 2017 unless there are other reasons for it not being held.
IWA Northampton Branch had another fantastic work party in February with 15 volunteers turning out to carry out the following:
Photo: Gayton looking like a new pin
IWA is organised through a network of eight Regions and 33 Branches across the country. To find a Branch near you click on this link which will take you to information about the Branches, their newsletters, contacts and the local waterways in their area.
Visitors and boaters to Lapworth will be able to enjoy better facilities and experience a spruced up environment thanks to the efforts of local volunteers who have secured funding from Warwick District Council and Lapworth Parish Council for a £10,000 grant to improve the towpath along the Stratford upon Avon Canal that is one of two canals running through the village. The application for the grant came from one of the village’s volunteer lock keepers who wanted to improve the canal for local people and visitors. The successful award means that around 720 metres of towpath will be resurfaced from the centre of the village at Brome Hall Lane north to the lock flight behind The Boot Inn.
The work, which is due to start in the Spring, will be carried out by CRT's volunteer 'Towpath Taskforce' supported by members of IWA's Warwickshire Branch. Once completed, a towpath of a better hard standing with a flatter and improved surface, will be established making it more enjoyable for walkers and cyclists. The project follows recent works to improve and repaint a major water aqueduct that crosses the canal at Lapworth. Volunteer lock keeper Fraser Pithie from Kenilworth, a retired senior operations manager for Severn Trent Water, contacted his former employer to encourage them to carry out the works. Fraser didn’t leave it there though, while lock keeping he noticed how many people liked to walk the towpath but that sections of it were, in parts, uneven and muddy during wet weather.
Photo: Fraser Pithie, volunteer lock keeper who has spearheaded a funding bid for Lapworth
A multi-media production will be taking place at Bridgwater Library from 21st March to 8th April. From the Bristol Channel into Somerset’s rural heartlands, this is a colourful portrait of an extraordinary landscape along the River Parrett as seen through the eyes of the people who live and work there.
Somerset Libraries and Theatre Mélange have been working together over the last nine months on this Out of the Mouth of the Parrett project to collect local people’s thoughts, memories and pictures of the river Parrett to display in a one-of-a-kind creative exhibition. Theatre Mélange have been filming the spectacular sights and sounds of the river alongside personal stories from an of array colourful characters: dockers to willow growers, sea pilots to mud-sleigh fishermen, boat builders, birdsong, wetlands, watermills, ropewalks and pumping stations. This story can be followed through Somerset County Council's website.
The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a review and call for evidence on the efficiency, effectiveness and governance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Every government-sponsored public body is reviewed at least once in each Parliament to ensure it is fit for purpose and provides good value for money.
The review will look how NHMF and HLF carries out its role in supporting the heritage sector, and how HLF operates in distributing National Lottery funding to heritage projects across the UK. It will also consider how the organisation engages with the public, and works with partners across the country. There is more information about the launch of the review on the HLF website.
Heritage, natural environment and other cultural organisations, as well as members of the public, are invited to submit their views by completing an online survey over the next six weeks.
This year’s Grantham Canal Discovery Day is on Sunday 8th October 2017. The Grantham Canal Society is hoping to attract more visitors this year to raise significant funds towards the Canal restoration.
Historic Narrow Boat Club (HNBC) has organised an auction of canal antiques. There will be 181 lots including portholes, candle sconces, tiller arms, windlasses, tools and some lucky dips.
The auction is planned for Saturday 25th March at Weston Village Hall, Green Road, Weston, near Stafford, ST18 0JQ. Viewing is from 9am with the auction starting at 11am and taking place over three sessions. The auction is open to all HNBC members and to guests of HNBC members. If you are not a member of HNBC but wish to attend as a guest, please download the registraton form and arrange for an HNBC member to sponsor you. Bidders may register in advance and should be registered before the start of the auction.
For further information and to download and read the catalogue visit HNBC’s website.
To find out what branch activities and working parties are going on in your area have a look at IWA's events calendar. By volunteering for these clean up events you can make a big difference to your local waterway. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
Waterways World Annual with FREE route planning map is now available from IWA's online shop for £6.99 plus p&p. The 2017 Annual contains comprehensive information on owning, buying and selling a boat; hire boat fleets; restoration; fitting out a narrowboat; boatyard services; moorings; surveyors & examiners. Plus the Canalmanac: the definitive guide to who does what on the inland waterways, and your free route planning map!
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Blackwater Boats, Essex CO4 5HF - 10% discount off boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
Canal Boat Magazine - 5 issues for £5.00
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
Jenny Wren, London NW1 8QS - 10% discount off cruises
Middlewich Narrowboats - 25% discount off hire price of Willow
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices
Bounty Pub, Bourne End SL8 5RG - 10% discount off food
Clifford Arms, Staffordshire ST18 0SR - 10% discount off food
Fingerpost Pub & Restaurant, Pelsall WS3 5AU - 10% discount off food
Kings Lock Tearooms, Leicester LE2 8LT - 10% discount off food
Waterside Inn Leamington Spa, CV31 3JZ - 15% discount on food from main menu
Ring 'O Bells Pub, Marple SK6 7AY - 10% discount off food
Three Locks Pub, Soulbury, Stoke Hammond MK17 9DD - 10% discount off food
Wharf Pub, Bugbrooke NN7 3QB - 10% discount
Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - Special offer on ladies walking boots
Kings Lock Chandlery – 5% discount on purchases excluding all fuels (diesel, gas, coal, wood, etc)
Marine Mega Store Ltd - 15% discount
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro- 5% discount
Solar Technology International- 10% discount on PV Logic Narrow Boat Kits & Foldup Panels
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard
Zead - Free Postage & Accessories
Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
Forge Studio - 10% discount
I Love Meet and Greet Ltd - 15% discount
Lee Sanitation - 10% on orders over £100
Paper Wizard - 15% discount
River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on selected training
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 the IWA Members discount page.
For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.
Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription
IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters
It is so easy to do your shopping via easyfundraising. Every time you do, a percentage will be donated to IWA and it will cost you absolutely nothing extra.
There are over 3,100 shops and sites for you to browse and buy through on the easyfundraising site. Usually the thing that stops people raising money in this way for their favourite charity is that they simply forget. Since we launched IWA onto easyfundraising we have raised over £1000 so it is a brilliant way to support IWA. Find out more about easyfundraising.
How to remind yourself to raise money for IWA via easyfundraising:
By using the app, the reminder toolbar or shopping through the easyfundraising site, you can help IWA raise hundreds and hopefully thousands of pounds.
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453