IWA Bulletin - 28th March 2017

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IWA News

Latest IWA Response to HS2 Consultation

IWA has responded to HS2’s consultation on design refinements to the Secretary of State for Transport’s preferred route for the HS2 Phase 2b route.  IWA has serious concerns over the impact on inland waterways as HS2 is developed in the west from Crewe to Manchester and the West Coast Main Line, and in the east from near Curdworth to Leeds and the East Coast Main Line.

IWA has objected to a number of the proposed changes to the previous (2013) route, in particular the proposals:

  • to move a rolling stock depot at Golborne to a site at Wimboldsley, north of Crewe, where it will impact the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal with a wider crossing, and noise and visual impact for a 1km stretch alongside on popular moorings;
  • to move the route in the Middlewich - Northwich area in Cheshire up to 800 metres westwards, impacting the Trent & Mersey Canal where a single crossing now becomes 3 crossings on very high (20 metres) viaducts and embankment; and the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal where a single crossing has now become a much wider crossing with 3 lines approaching the New Crofton Rolling Stock depot north of Crewe;
  • to increase the vertical height of the preferred route as it passes into Long Eaton and the ‘East Midlands Hub Station’, so increasing noise and visual impact on local residents and the Erewash Canal, which may also be impacted by a realignment of the M1 requiring a section of the canal to be diverted, which IWA believes is unnecessary.

IWA has also recorded reservations about a number of other proposals which could affect canals and rivers in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and West Yorkshire, including on the Ashby Canal near Measham, and the Chesterfield Canal at Staveley and Norwood.

IWA’s full response to the consultations, which closed on 9th March 2017, can be found through this link.

middlewichsuPhoto:  Pauline McGill - A tranquil view of the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal -what impact will HS2 have?

IWA Statement on the Future of Scottish Canals

The Inland Waterways Association has written to Scottish Canals expressing its disappointment and concern at the announcement from Capercaillie Cruisers, who operate hire boats from Falkirk on the Scottish lowland canals, that they are unable to continue operating after the 2017 season due to the impact of re-negotiation of fees on the company’s long term sustainability.  As Capercaillie Cruisers are also the operating agents for the ABC and Black Prince fleets based at Falkirk, this is the end of the entire hire boat operation on the Forth & Cylde and Union canals.
IWA considers that this is very bad news for the future of these canals as it would significantly reduce the number of boat movements and means that very few people will now be able to experience boating on these restored waterways.  IWA considers that boats are an essential part of the waterways and that the Scottish canals need more boating activity not less.  It appears that there is a large gap between what Scottish Canals wishes to charge and what Capercaillie Cruisers and potentially other operators believe they can pay and IWA has asked Scottish Canals to reconsider the position.

On a separate issue, IWA is concerned to hear that Scottish Canals is still progressing the concept of the Rotate Project.  As stated in IWA’s response to Scottish Canals Pricing Consultation held in 2016, IWA has concerns over this proposal for a static pontoon to be fitted to one of the caissons of the Falkirk Wheel, leaving just one caisson for use by the trip boat, hire boats and any private boats wishing to travel between the two canals.  Whilst accepting that Scottish Canals wish to optimise income from tourists, IWA suggests that the way to do this is to optimise navigational opportunities using boats, for example through additional trip boat operations, hire boat opportunities and more opportunities for people to get afloat affordably.
IWA has asked Scottish Canals to ensure that the Rotate Project will not impact on the use of the wheel by either hire boats or private boats, as that would be contrary to the original purpose of the Falkirk Wheel as a Millennium project to link the two restored canals.
IWA has urged Scottish Canals to urgently reconsider its position and adopt a long term strategy which aims to increase all forms of boating on its waterways, and considers that restricting the use of the wonderful Falkirk Wheel and the closure of hire boat companies is not the way to achieve this.

falkirk1703Photo: Phil Sharpe - Falkirk Wheel, aqueduct, basin and visitors centre

IWA Photography Competition: and the Winner is.....

No, not Moonlight, but Dean Barnes' beautiful winterscape of Whittington on the Coventry Canal received the most votes in the annual IWA Calendar and Christmas card competition so look out for this seasonal scene in IWA's 2017 Christmas card collection.  Congratulations Dean!

Winning Photo:  Dean Barnes, Whittington on the Coventry Canal

IWA asked Dean about how this photograph came about:

How did you come to be in situ to take this photo?  Was it a special event, or chance?
I would say mostly chance.  This image is from March 2013 which pre-dates my interest in canals and boating. I live in Whittington with my wife and greyhounds so I was probably out walking the dog. I am a keen hobby photographer so would usually have a camera with me. This was shot on a Panasonic TZ18 which I still have.

The competition attracted some wonderful images of our waterways so shortlisting was no easy task for the judges.  The two photographs below were runners up after the public voting and will be used in the 2018 IWA calendar.  Thank you to everyone that entered this competition, it's now time to start taking photographs while out and about ready for next year.Photo: Jo Lodge - Consall Forge, Caldon Canal

Photo: Rachel Gibson - Swans in Bridgewater Marina

New Attempt to Navigate the Old Bedford River

Veterans of several attempts over the years to navigate the Old Bedford River, IWA Peterborough Branch members John Revell on his boat Olive Emily together with Chris Howes on his boat Lily May will make a fresh attempt on 4th April 2017, possibly in the company of a third vessel, yet to be confirmed.  The venture follows the most recent attempt on the Old Bedford by John Revell last November, which was defeated by low water levels and a lack of dredging by EA.  

These efforts are being made as the inability to navigate some local waterways not only mars the enjoyment of local boaters, but significantly hampers the development of a tourist industry that could be very important to the Fens economy.  

Chris Howes explains “Following a recent question in Parliament, we have been assured at the highest level of the EA’s Anglian Region that de-silting has been undertaken and with the EA’s support we are hoping to make it all the way to Welches Dam Lock. Despite several attempts having been made, we are not aware that anyone has successfully managed to complete this journey since 2009, but as the Old Bedford River remains a statutory navigation, we are hoping that we will succeed this time”.

The attempt on 4th April will start around 11.30am at Salter’s Lode, PE38 0BL. Onlookers, supporters, and strong bodies prepared, if necessary, to haul the boats through any unmaintained sections, are all welcome!

The Old Bedford River was dug in 1630 as the first of Cornelius Vermuyden’s endeavours to drain the Fens. It connects the Horseway Arm of the Forty Foot Navigation with the River Great Ouse just below Denver Sluice. It has been navigated for over 350 years, since the ‘Pretended Act of 1649’. Navigation was first impeded by the building of a sluice at Welney in 1973, and the connection with the Forty Foot was interrupted when EA closed Welches Dam Lock by inexplicably piling across the face of it. Project Hereward is campaigning to restore the lock and connecting Horseway Arm. The Old Bedford River remains in water but navigation remains difficult through ill considered water level management and a lack of de-silting and weed clearance.oldbedford1704

Photo: John Revell and his boat Olive Emily (right) and Chris Howes on Lily May preparing to navigate the Old Bedford River

Book Now For Festival of Water at Ilkeston - Just Click Here

Joining in the fun at IWA's Festival of Water on the Erewash Canal is easy as booking is now through IWA's brand new online system with payment by PayPal, debit or credit card. Just go to our Festival of Water link to book yourself with your boat, boat & butty or tent in for what is promising to be a fabulous event.  Then all you have to do is get your boat or camping gear to Gallows Inn Playing Field, Ilkeston for 26th to 28th August and hope for sunny weather.

This is a new online booking system. If you have any feedback or experience any issues, we would love to hear from you. Please email event.bookings@waterways.org.uk.

IWA's Role in Restoration

Trustees are aware that some members would like to know more about the development of our Restoration Hub and how this is expected to enhance IWA’s support for restoration.  A meeting is therefore being held for members to hear an update on the progress that has been made with the Hub and to discuss any issues in an open manner.  The meeting will be chaired by IWA's Vice President Tony Hirst starting at 2.00pm on Sunday 14th May 2017 at Lapworth Village Hall, Old Warwick Road, Lapworth B94 6LD.  

It would help us in arranging the meeting if members planning to attend could notify Jenny Black along with notification of any questions that they might wish to ask to help us try to ensure that answers are available on the day.  

IWA's Essex Waterways Ready for Spring Re-opening

The plan to re-open Heybridge Lock after replacing the top gates is on schedule for the 1st April 2017 but, due to significant delays caused by the unexpected conditions, the new steel sea gate, or caisson, will now not be installed until the winter of 2017, with a closure starting from 2nd Oct 2017 and anticipated completion of mid December 2017.  To help reduce the impact of this work on the area around the lock, the new sea gate will be lifted in by sea via a barge, rather than using a landside crane, which was required  for the timber gates. 

This major project has been managed and financed by Essex & Suffolk Water as part of the agreement which allows them to extract water from this waterway. There are plans to provide further information of this construction phase of the project and the future plans in an open evening at Heybridge, date and venue to be confirmed but probably towards the end of April 2017.

seagatePhoto:  Essex & Suffolk Water - Heybridge sea gate awaiting assembly

Barn Dance Gives a Kick to WRG Fundraising

On Saturday 18th March, IWA's WRG enjoyed an early reunion party in the form of the ever popular Barn Dance. The event was raising funds for this year's canal camps and was attended by nearly sixty WRGies and local IWA members from Warwickshire Branch.

The event was led by fantastic band, Rogue Music and dancers were treated to a veritable feast of curry and trifle thanks to top WRG cooks, Jude Palmer and Eli Mathieson. There was also half-time entertainment in the form of a raffle and other games. Local XT beer went down very well and generous bar-goers helped boost overall profits significantly!

Rogue Music band leader, Matthew Rogers, who is running the marathon for IWA's WRG in April, also raised some additional sponsorship on the night, bringing his current fundraising total to £630.  With the London Marathon less than a month away the pressure is now on to make Matthew's efforts worthwhile - please make a donation online  through his Virgin Giving page

Overall, the event raised a fantastic £600 – thank you to everyone who volunteered, danced or drank and helped make the night such a success! See you next year!

IWA Branch News

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch

North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, working with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society, had a work party on 16th March at Lock 42, Red Bull, Kidsgrove to paint locks, manage vegetation and remove rubbish to improve the appearance of the area.  Eight volunteers completed the painting of lock 42 after a number of months where progress has been limited by bad weather. In addition, painting of masonry around lock 43 was done as a safety measure to mark edges; and the steps to the canal at the bridge between the locks were cleared. The previous day two members of the group undertook a litter pick from Rode Heath to Red Bull to generally improve the area.  The next work party will be on Thursday 20th April when the branch will start on Lock 41, the last lock before Harecastle Tunnel. 

lock42Photo:  Completion of work at Lock 42

IWA Northampton Branch

IWA's Northampton Branch will be holding their Boat Gathering at a new venue this year.  The event will take place at Stoke Bruerne from 19th to 21st May.  Further details are available at this link.
northantsstokebPhoto:  Jeff Mills - Stoke Bruerne, always a popular place for boat gathering

IWA Warwickshire Branch

On Sunday 19th March Warwickshire Branch held their latest clean up of the canal and the adjoining towpath between Tachbrook Road, Bridge 41, and Myton Road, Bridge 44,  on the Grand Union Canal in Leamington Spa.  This section is under a mile long and produced an enormous haul of rubbish in just three hours.

CRT supported the event, providing all the equipment, including a large hopper, to transport all the rubbish back to Hatton for unloading. The organisers were delighted with the excellent turnout of over 70 volunteers. In addition to IWA members, the numbers were swelled by Sydenham Scouts, CRT regular volunteers, local boaters and residents.

By far and away the most prolific item pulled out of the silt was shopping trolleys, including a large one from a DIY store. Over 50% of the 40 plus rescued trolleys were found under bridge 42, which is the footbridge over the canal near the retail shopping park.  It seems this is a local dumping ground for abandoned trolleys, which came from a variety of stores, not all close to the canal.  Many were intertwined and had been pushed into the silt. The group of volunteers struggled valiantly on both sides of the cut and from the top of the bridge often needing three or four grapples to shift one stubborn trolley at a time.

The most usual item dragged from the canal bed was a fruit machine, minus its cash. It was assumed this had come from one of the two nearby pubs. Other different items included a model of Buddha, two motor scooters (a 57 and a 51 registration) a lawnmower, a vacuum cleaner, a complete cycle path sign, tyres, a cassette player, a Charles Wells  advertising stand, traffic cones, roadwork signs, guttering, a settee, metal gang plank, and some steps. This was in addition to the usual haul of over 30 cycles and 28 bags of litter from the towpath and surrounds.

warwickfruitPhoto:  Warwickshire volunteers hit the jackpot!

warwickboatPhoto: A fantastic haul from IWA Warwickshire's work party on the Grand Union Canal

IWA Branch and Region Network

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.

Other Waterway News

More Good Reasons to Visit Paddington Basin

We know that the waterways around Paddington are the place to be during IWA's Canalway Cavalcade on the early May Bank Holiday weekend but it now looks as if IWA has started a trend. CRT is planning new projects to transform the waterspace in London’s Paddington Basin into a hub for boaters, residents, workers and visitors all year round.  There will be hire boats, a water taxi, an information boat and floating café, a Floating Pocket Park and additional trade and visitor moorings to provide capacity for boaters.  

GoBoat, a Copenhagen-based boat hire company will be introducing their first boats to the UK in Paddington Basin. The boats are powered by electric engines and built from sustainable materials, seat up to eight people and have a maximum speed of 4mph. The boats are available for anyone to hire to explore Paddington, Camden and Little Venice by water.  GoBoat will operate from two moorings on the pontoons at the end of the basin with two new visitor moorings being created on the opposite side of the basin. GoBoats will be available to hire from the spring.  GoBoat will also be running a free water taxi two days a week to take passengers from under Bishop’s Road Bridge by Paddington Station to Little Venice and to Merchant Square.  If the service proves popular then the water taxi will become a permanent feature.

Two new business boats will be arriving in the basin in May and will be situated near Paddington Station’s Hammersmith & City Line exit. The first boat will provide information about the history of Paddington Basin and its regeneration, as well as running a small gift shop and coffee outlet.  The second boat will be a floating café run by Beany Green, serving coffee, brunch, salads, cocktails and more.  British Land was awarded the tender for the two business moorings but boaters will be able to continue mooring at the spots until the British Land boats arrive on site.

As reported previously in Bulletin, a temporary Floating Pocket Park has been designed to for the water space at the far end of Paddington Basin The space, which has been unused and originally reserved for business barges, will host 730 square metres of open lawn areas, dense planting and communal seating, as well as a spot for trade boats. The floating park is being created by European Land and Property Limited who lease the waterspace from the Trust. It is anticipated that work on the park will completed during the spring.

Boat Registration on River Thames - High Court Backs EA

The Environment Agency has been waiting for the outcome of a High Court appeal hearing in their prosecution case against the owners of 22 boats found unregistered in the Thames and Kennet Marina in Caversham and Penton Hook Marina in Chertsey in 2014.  EA's position was that these marinas form part of the River Thames as defined by the Thames Conservancy Act 1932 and therefore, under the terms of the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010, these boats should be registered with the Agency. The boat owners disagreed.

The prosecution case was heard at Reading Magistrates Court in November 2015. The District Judge did not share EA's position on the critical point of law – that marinas connected to the main River Thames should be considered part of it – and found in favour of the boat owners.

EA exercised its right to seek an appeal to the High Court which was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in December 2016. Lord Justice Lindblom and Mr Justice Singh heard the arguments from both parties’ legal representatives, but reserved judgement until the New Year.  The judgement has now been handed down by the High Court in favour of EA.

The background of the case is as follows:
•    The introduction of the Environment Agency (Inland Waterways) Order 2010 in April 2010 changed the law governing boat registration relating to the rivers for which EA are the navigation authority.  This allowed a more consistent approach for boat registration, by updating historic navigation legislation on the River Thames, River Medway and Anglian waterways;
•    For the Thames, one of the key changes of the new legislation was that any boat ‘kept’ on the river, needed to be registered. Previously, only boats ‘used’ on the river needed to be registered. This new requirement of the legislation, along with others, was introduced for the first time in 2011. The new legislation also required boats to have, as a minimum, third party insurance before they could be registered. 
•    Some owners of boats in marinas challenged EA's interpretation of the Act, claiming that it was wrong to conclude that its definition of the Thames included marinas, and that boats kept in marinas did not need to be registered as a result;
•   Queen’s Counsel advice to EA supported its interpretation so EA resumed boat registration checks in marinas in September 2014.  Marina owners were advised of its intention in advance to allow a reasonable amount of time for customers who had not already registered their boats with EA, to do so.
•    Checks in two marinas resulted in the prosecution of 22 boat owners.
eathamesrulingPhoto: EA - River Thames Waterways Operations Manager, Barry Russell (left) and River Thames Waterways Operations Enforcement Manager, Nick McKie-Smith (right).

New Life Along the Lancaster Canal

Cumbria’s forgotten canal is to be rediscovered with the construction of a new £184,000 towpath trail from Kendal to Natland, thanks to members of the Lancaster Canal Regeneration Partnership.  The Lancaster Canal, which is due to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2019, is currently un-navigable past Tewitfield, just north of Carnforth, due to the M6 and other road crossings constructed across its route.  Much of the canal north of Stainton is not in water and some of the canal bed has since been in-filled but most of the route is still clearly identifiable. The plan is to create a new all-weather, disabled access-friendly towpath trail for walkers and cyclists.

A grant of £140,000 from South Lakeland District Council has unlocked a funding package which includes donations from Cumbria County Council, Kendal Town Council, Lancaster Canal Trust and IWA.  Work could start on the project as early as autumn 2017. Once complete, the plan is then to extend the towpath trail to Lancaster and then a second phase down to Preston, the start of the Lancaster Canal.

The new trail will add further weight to a long term aspiration to restore the canal to navigation as far as Kendal by promoting the waterway route as a visitor destination.
lancasterPhoto: Brian Mansbridge - Lancaster Canal near Tewitfield, the limit of navigation

Stoppage on the River Derwent

Kexby Old Bridge, near York, a three span masonry arch bridge passing over the River Derwent approximately three miles south of Stamford Bridge will be undergoing major structural work for the majority of 2017.  The OS coordinates of the bridge are SE 70538 51084. This section of the River Derwent near the bridge will be closed to boats during the work which will run for at least nine months from early April.  As this bridge is upstream of the lock at Elvington/Sutton, which is currently closed, the boats affected will be those based on the stretch of river between Elvington and Stamford Bridge, including those moored at the moorings above Elvington Lock.

Music, Theatre and Fun at Hereford River Carnival

Hereford River Carnival takes place on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th April 2017.  Over 12,000 people joined in the festivities last year and so many people from across the community got involved and had such a great time that Visit Herefordshire chose the event for its coveted Best Community Festival Award for 2016.  This year the Carnival will receive a musical boost as the award-winning team behind the boutique family festival, Nozstock, The Hidden Valley will join in the celebrations bringing its own brand of family-orientated festivity to Castle Green. 

New for 2017 will be a theatrical spectacular with a performance through the streets of Hereford from the Cathedral and onto Bishop’s Meadow.  Creatures from the City’s iconic Mappa Mundi will come to life in the streets and in a torch-lit procession down the River Wye.  Further details are available on the river carnival website.  

herefordPhoto: A new species of water bird?  A guest appearance at a previous Hereford River Carnival

Upcoming Volunteer/Cleanup Events

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

IWA Shop

Carry On Cruising

Planning your 2017 boating?  To check out your routes, available water taps, waste disposal, winding holes and, most importantly, shops and pubs you need the latest Nicholson guides to the waterways.  Get yours from IWA by shopping online.

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

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

Eating Out

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

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

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

Boat Insurance

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

Free Donations to IWA Every Time you Shop Online

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.

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453