IWA Bulletin - 13th September 2017

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IWA News

IWA Objects to Sale of EA Moorings in Ely

IWA has written to Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of EA, to ask him to withdraw the sale of three lengths of moorings in Ely ahead of the advertised closing date for sealed bids of 8th September.  The plots amount to over 300 metres of river frontage in total and IWA considers that disposing of this land is extremely short-sighted given that the businesses and moorings at this location bring in an income to EA as the navigation authority. 
IWA is also extremely concerned at the impact the sale will have on the three waterway-related businesses based on the site:  Bridge Boatyard, which has been operating for over 40 years and which is now the only holiday boat hire company on the River Great Ouse, hotel barge Water Nimf and The Boat Yard boat restoration business.  Bridge Boatyard brings between 2000 and 2500 people on to the river each year on their hire boats, the loss of which would have a serious effect on the tourism and leisure use of the river and consequently on the economy of Ely and other towns and villages along the river through loss of visitor spend.

IWA understands that the land is being sold as it is considered “surplus to operational requirements” but it is IWA’s view that the moorings at the site are essential for income and the future sustainability of the river, and that the land should therefore be retained in EA ownership.  

IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge, said “IWA considers that EA has a statutory duty, through the Anglian Water Authority Act 1977, to support recreational use of the River Great Ouse, not to hinder it.  Whether the Environment Agency continues to be the navigation authority or whether these waterways are transferred to CRT, we think that ongoing income is essential in preventing further asset deterioration and waterway closures, and in optimising the leisure, tourism, health, well-being and economic benefits of these waterways.”  

As well as asking for the sale of these three moorings to be withdrawn, IWA has also asked Sir James for details of any other land, property or assets being considered for disposal elsewhere on the River Great Ouse, or on any other navigation run by the Environment Agency.  Where these are providing an income to EA or being used for moorings, IWA considers that they should be retained for long term benefit.  

In addition to writing to EA, IWA has also written to local MPs and district and county council leaders, many of whom have also stated their concern at the implications of the sale.  Members and supporters have also written to their MPs objecting to the proposed sale.  Local waterway organisations such as the East Anglian Waterways Association are also campaigning about this issue.  Further information and a template for anybody wishing to write can be found here.

IWA has not yet heard the outcome of a meeting that was understood to take place last week between Lucy Frazer MP, the leaders of East Cambridgeshire District Council and EA to discuss the issue, and has to date received no reassurances from the Environment Agency. 
elyboatyardPhoto:  Bridge Boatyard in Ely, under threat by proposed EA sell off

IWA Festival of Water Gives a Boost to Erewash Canal

IWA again showed what it is good at - celebrating Britain's waterways in style.  Over 100 boats arrived at Gallows Inn Fields in Ilkeston over the Bank Holiday weekend to enjoy the spectacular IWA Festival of Water, an annual event that this year came to the beautiful Erewash Canal.  The event was opened by Councillor Chris Corbett, Deputy Mayor of Erewash representing Erewash Borough Council who gave their wholehearted support for this Festival.
Boaters took the opportunity to cruise along the whole length of the 11.5 mile long Erewash Canal, past the historic lock cottages at Sandiacre, and under the spectacular 460 metres iron Bennerley railway viaduct to visit the bustling Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill, where the Erewash meets the partially restored Cromford Canal.
Over 15,000 people attended the three-day event, which included classic cars, live music, craft stalls, birds of prey, children’s rides and the chance to drive a digger under the guidance of restoration experts from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group.  WRG North West reported a brisk trade in second hand waterway books and other boating items, and together with the takings from Martin Ludgate's quiz, were able to donate over £800 to two local canal organisations.
Jane Elwell, Chairman of IWA’s Events Team, said: “We chose Ilkeston for the 2017 IWA Festival of Water because it’s such an attractive yet underused part of the national canal network. Our volunteers also wanted to highlight the threat to the canal from the currently proposed HS2 route to Leeds.”
A 16 metres high railway viaduct at Long Eaton will overshadow the Erewash Canal, including the canal lock close to the East Midlands Hub Station.  A proposed diversion of the M1 motorway to accommodate the high speed rail line may also have to cross the canal.  IWA is working alongside local groups to mitigate the impact on the canal and neighbouring communities.

Festival awards were presented during the weekend for achievements such as best flower display, or longest journey by boat. See full list of award winners.
Next year’s Festival of Water will take place on the River Great Ouse in Riverside Park in St Neots. Booking is open for boats and campsite pitches through this link
ilkestonboatsPhoto by Paul Dennan:  Boats at IWA's 2017 Festival of Water

shrekilkestonPhoto by Margaret Beardsmore:  Shrek leading the procession at Ilkeston

wrgdiggerPhoto by Margaret Beardsmore:  A young WRG volunteer in training

Significant Steps for the Stour Thanks to Legacy

Back in early April, IWA announced it was awarding £200,000 in grants to four restoration projects, thanks to legacy money generously donated by canal expert and enthusiast Tony Harrison.  There has been progress since then so, as part of Remember a Charity Week, IWA brings an update on one project that has made very good use of its legacy.

The River Stour Trust applied to IWA for support in enabling them to restore the Stratford St Mary Lock, a pivotal part of their long running restoration project. The Trust had been lucky enough to secure a large proportion of the funding in the form of an £85,000 Landfill Tax Grant, however they needed match funding in order to unlock it. This is where IWA were able to step in and provide the additional £8,500 that was needed.  The restoration of the Stour, on the Essex and Suffolk border, was one of three key projects mentioned by the founders of the IWA as far back as 1946.  The other two projects have long been complete, but the Stour still awaits full restoration, so it feels very significant to have been able to help this project get a step closer to completion.

Since April, the River Stour Trust has managed to make significant progress and the lock has now been successfully replaced.  The lock chamber required a huge amount of preparation work, to rid it of a large volume of mud and silt; in some places the mud was three metres deep and all of it had to be removed by hand.  Volunteers managed to complete the task after three weeks of hard graft and this paved the way for the remaining work.  Next, the old lock gates had to be removed and measured; amazingly, some of the old fixtures and fittings were salvageable, including the Pintles, Gudgeon plates and even the old winding mechanism which is unique to the River Stour and can actually be seen in John Constable’s famous paintings of that area. The Trust then handed over to the lock gate manufacturers, who completed the construction of the new gates at the end of July. The gates are now in-situ and the Trust has even been able to take their electric trip boat, Kathleen, through for a test run.

Following twelve years of hard work, the trustees were keen to have achieved this next milestone and officially open the Stratford St Mary Lock Gates as part of their 50th birthday celebrations in 2018 - IWA is delighted to have been able to support this project and have helped them successfully achieve this.

You can find further details of the projects Tony Harrison’s legacy has supported on the news pages of our website, or to find out more about how you can leave a gift in your own will to support the future of our waterways, please follow this link

mudsiltstourPhoto:  Mud, mud, glorious mud - Stratford St Mary Lock before volunteers got to work

stourgatesPhoto: Stratford St Mary Lock gates ready for installation

IWA Responds to EA Consultation on Charges

The Environment Agency has asked organisations representing boaters who attend its National Navigation Users Forum to respond to its national consultation on proposed increases in charges for the year beginning January 2018.  EA has asked responding organisations to answer a series of questions with regard to the consultation and IWA’s response is as follows:

1. Do you support the need for an increase to Environment Agency boat registration charges?

Yes. IWA did, with other boating organisations, advise EA it should raise charges regularly and in line with CPI to ensure waterways were sustainably funded and boaters contribute their fair share through increased charges. At the time in 2015, EA decided not to do so. EA must also bear down on its costs as any other organisation is expected to do.   As a replacement for government funding, boaters appear to be expected to pay EA for the money government has withdrawn from EA funding. This is not acceptable and HMG needs to free the navigation service from government short termism as it has done for the national canals network, to allow a stable long term future to be achieved before a major asset failure is caused.

2. Do you support the level of increase proposed through this consultation?

No. The level of increase should be CPI, since in all likelihood anything above will be expropriated by government through further reducing EA’s funding.

3. If not, what level would you support?

EA needs to work harder on setting out clearly the activity based costing of the Navigation Service, to address the current shortfalls in contributions to Navigation Services activity from, for example, water resources abstractions.  Once this is clear, contributions need to be obtained and allocated to each waterway area based on the work they are doing to support that service and others.  Before that consistent and transparent allocation of costs is available, IWA does not consider it appropriate to allocate differential charges to the three areas based on nothing more than an estimate of what is needed, and Defra’s arbitrary reduction of GiA funding for weirs and sluices. A consistent national increase based on CPI should be proposed.

4. If we were not to increase charges, what elements of the service would you be prepared to see reduce or stop?

IWA is prepared to support an increase as above, to allow boaters to assist the creation and maintenance of a sustainable inland waterway network.  IWA wants EA to continue its work on establishing a sound cost base for navigation services based on work carried out to support other activities sharing and requiring the performance of assets that have been moved into the Navigation Services area. EA also need to pursue Defra for GiA to fund any asset investment needed to raise the condition of these assets to that required to carry out their joint function safely and reliably. IWA understands these assets are in general in poor or unsatisfactory condition, and likely to fail at some point in the short or medium term. As IWA has already made the position very clear to the Waterways Minister, IWA will continue to press for adequate funding, and remind the Minister of the consequences of their failure.  IWA has been, and continues to be, a supporter of the proposed transfer of EA navigations to CRT together with a suitable investment programme to bring necessary assets up to a sustainable ‘steady state’ condition. IWA believes this remains a better solution than the present situation, where HMG is pushing EA to engage in asset stripping on Defra’s behalf, and failing to meet its legal obligations as navigation authorities.

Follow this link for IWA's full consultation response.

IWA National AGM 2017 - 30th September

This year the IWA Annual Members meeting and national AGM is in Langley Mill on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border. It is an important annual event in the IWA calendar and we would very much like to see you there.

The programme is below which will include 'IWA Over the Next 10 Years', which immediately follows the formal AGM at 12.30pm. This is an important issue for IWA as we face up to significant changes in the way our waterways are managed, used and financed for the next 10 years. IWA must change to take up the opportunities and challenges that will occur, and those we can create, and this is your opportunity to listen and contribute to the way forward.   Please make every effort to attend and demonstrate that IWA members are fully involved in shaping the future of our Association.   

Programme for the Day:
The Annual General Meeting is the formal part of the day-long Annual Members' Meeting, the full timetable of which is as follows:
09.30am     Hall opens for members.  Teas and coffees available
10.00am    Welcome: Followed by presentation: Local success, grass-roots campaigning
10.40pm    Presentation of National Awards
11.10am    Interval for teas and coffees
11.30am    Annual General Meeting
12.30pm    Presentation: IWA over the next 10 years
1.00pm    Lunch (free of charge, but must be pre-booked, see below)
1.45pm    Depart for Afternoon Visits to The Cromford and Erewash Canals.  

Lunch Bookings: Lunch will be available from about 12.45 pm and must be booked in advance:  Book your lunch and optional afternoon activities through this link or by contacting IWA Head Office on 01494 783453.  

IWA Responds to Scottish Canals about Union Canal Towpath Study

IWA has written to Scottish Canals to raise concerns over some elements of its recently published Edinburgh’s Union Canal Towpath Study which can be seen through this link.   Whilst many of the proposals contained in the report seem reasonable, IWA is concerned that the interests of boaters have not been taken into account.  

The study, which was funded by Sustrans Scotland, has been prepared by Harrison Stevens Landscape Architects who were appointed by Scottish Canals to carry out a consultation to identify opportunities to improve the towpath along the Union Canal from Lochrin Basin in Edinburgh for about 10 miles to the Almond Aqueduct.
IWA feels that the remit of consultation did not take account of the waterway's primary purpose as a navigation, with boaters (boat owners, hirers or operators) not being taken into account in the research and key findings. The only boats referred to seem to be canoes and unpowered craft which access the canal from the towpath in specific locations, with no consideration being made of larger powered boats travelling along the canal from Falkirk to Edinburgh as a destination.  In particular, IWA has objected to the proposal for cantilevered sections of towpath which would restrict navigation through the bridge for boats.  IWA does not wish to see any reduction of navigable width through any bridgeholes.  Other proposals such as increasing the length of the existing narrowed section through a bridgehole, and the use of mirrors (made of a suitably vandal proof material) for visual affect, would be more acceptable.  

The study also suggests that the minimum width required for the canal is four metres.  IWA objects to any loss of waterspace as a result of intrusive widening (eg extension of the path into the water space via deck/pontoons) which would reduce the navigable width of the waterway.  The proposed minimum width of four metres through bridgeholes and other narrowings such as aqueducts is acceptable (given the craft gauge of the waterway of 12’6”/3.81 metres) but IWA considers that the remainder of the channel should be more than eight metres, to allow for two boats of craft gauge to pass each other comfortably. 

IWA's full response is available through this link
unioncanalPhoto by Phil Sharpe:  The Union Canal Towpath at Ratho is part of the 10 mile stretch of towpath featured in the Scottish Canals’ study


Rob Davies

We are saddened to report the death in early September of Rob Davies, known to many members as part of the ‘National Waterways Festivals’ team in the early 1990s, but also a former treasurer of IWA West Midlands Region, an officer for many years with Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, the Shropshire Union Fly Boat Restoration Society and (voluntary) administrator of the Russell Newbery Register (the boat club for boaters with Russell Newbery engines).  He was awarded the Richard Bird Medal at the Nottingham AGM in 2004. 

robdaviesPhoto by Waterway Images: Rob Davies

Linda Wilkinson

We are saddened too to report the death, on 11th September, of Linda Wilkinson, former treasurer and chairman of Chichester Ship Canal Trust and leading campaigner for the restoration of the canal for over 25 years.  Without her drive and enthusiasm over many years, the Chichester Ship Canal would not have been restored to the extent it has and become the great success that it is today.  The residents of Chichester and many visitors to the Canal owe her a big thank you.  As recently as July she attended the Trust's AGM and played her usual assertive role in the discussion.  The Trust will be placing a bench as a memorial to her at the location she had requested.

Paul Mills

We are also saddened to report the death, on 6th September, of Paul Mills, who was, for 20 years, fundraising and project officer for the Shropshire Union Canal Society and five years ago formed the Small Task Team Volunteers working on the Shropshire Union Canal and adjacent waterways.

IWA Branch News

IWA North & East London Branch

IWA North & East London Branch was one of the financial contributors to IWA's donation towards the restoration of Carpenters Road Lock.  It was a longstanding objective of the Branch to get the unique lock reopened. For the opening event on August Bank Holiday Monday, member Andrew Phasey organised a series of cruises around the waterways of the area and over 50 boats took part.  Paul Strudwick, IWA's London Region Chairman, took part in the opening ceremony at the lock itself. The Branch  had a stand at this East London Waterways Festival and ran a quiz to test peoples knowledge of the area's waterways.  Roger Wilkinson from the Branch acted as a Waterways Champion, giving visitors a brief tour of the site and the IWA London Walks team also organised a conducted walk around the area.  
nelbranchPhoto: Roger Squires from IWA North & East London Branch welcomes visitors to the East London Waterways Festival in the Olympic Park on August Bank Holiday Monday.

It's been a busy few weeks for IWA's North & East London Branch as they attended the Angel Canal Festival on the weekend after the opening of Carpenters Road Lock.  This successful event was a tribute to the two outgoing organisers for the past 18 years, Sash Keir and Beryl Windsor who have both decided to retire.  Thankfully, it looks as if they have identified suitable successors to take over the reins.  A floating hot tub, complete with bathers, made a change from the usual vessels at this festival.  

angel1Photo: Outgoing Angel Festival organisers, Sash and Beryl, doing the honours at their last event

hottubPhoto:  Bathers at the Angel Festival - hope the water in the tub was clearer than the water outside

IWA West Country Branch

On Sunday 13th August, 11 volunteers from IWA's West Country Branch cycled the 14 mile length of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal along the towpath to familiarise themselves with the canal and its environs. On their journey they identified sites where future work parties could improve towpath access and the appearance of the canal by trimming overgrown foliage and collecting litter.

The day culminated with a BBQ where the cyclists were joined by more volunteers and their families.  Certificates were presented to six of the volunteers who had recently completed a first aid course. 
westcountrycyclePhoto: IWA West Country Branch saddling up for their survey of the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

IWA Oxfordshire Branch

The popular Banbury Canal Day has been revived only six weeks before the big day – Oct 1st!  With developers moving into the event area, Banbury Canal Day 2017 had been cancelled until Banbury Town Council made a U-turn decision that now has IWA Oxfordshire Branch preparing the water space for the event in six weeks rather than the usual nine months.

Find out more about how the Branch support this event on IWA's Oxfordshire Branch's web page or keep up with their news on Facebook.   
banburydayPhoto: A previous Banbury Canal Day

IWA Northampton Branch

IWA Northampton Branch was able to demonstrate publicly what can be achieved by volunteers working to maintain and improve the canal environment alongside a growing community involvement.  Chief guest at this occasion on Tuesday, 29th August was Andrew Lewer, the new MP for Northampton South, who arrived at Lock 17 on the Northampton Arm by boat.  After helping to lock through from the river up to the canal, he then unveiled the first of the mosaic plaques, designed by local schoolchildren, which will eventually form a mosaic nature trail at each of the 17 locks along the whole length of the four and three-quarter mile Arm.  On his hands and knees, wielding trowel and cement, Mr Lewer eased the final piece of mosaic tiling into position, observing: “I’ve taken part in many ceremonies like this over the years, but this has been the most fun and innovative so far!”  The plaque is sited at the nearby “narrows” upstream of the lock.  The MP revealed a previous and very tangible connection with the canals as the Founder and Chairman of the Cromford Canal Partnership.  This came about during his Leadership of Derbyshire County Council from 2009-2013 when he was also the Cabinet Member for Culture as well as being Chairman of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site between Derby and Matlock Bath. 

In the four years since IWA Northampton Branch adopted the Arm, working closely with CRT, volunteers and other supporters have clocked  up over 5,000 volunteer  hours.  In 2015, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Arm, a mural was created at Gayton Junction and a mosaic bench installed at the bottom lock at Far Cotton by the Branch.  The idea of linking up the two was the brainchild of Branch secretary Sandie Morton.  She explained: “I wanted to encourage more people of all ages to walk and cycle the Arm.  So I came up with the idea of a nature trail with mosaic plaques at each of the 17 locks.  Local children from Briar Hill and Delapre Primary Schools created the beautiful designs and manufactured them under the guidance of mosaic artist David Bowers from Mosaic Madness.”

The project is being supervised by Mick Butler, the Branch Joint Task Party Organiser, who said: “Given reasonable weather, I reckon we should have all 17 of the mosaic patterns in place by next spring, when we can get the children who were involved in the design of the patterns together for a grand unveiling.”  Funding for the project is through the legacy left to the Branch by John Faulkner.

northantsmpPhoto: A future WRG volunteer?  Andrew Lewer MP launches IWA Northampton Branch's mosaic nature trail

IWA Notts & Derbyshire Branch

With very little time to recover from the Festival of Water, on Sunday 3rd September the Notts & Derbyshire Branch gathered for this year's Cleanup on the Nottingham Canal at Meadow Lane Lock.  It was attended by 23 people including a sizeable group from the Branch's commercial partners Xylem (a global water engineering company with an office in Nottingham).
With CRT's workboat and crew with the necessary equipment the volunteers immediately found the first of many bicycles, to the satisfaction of the photographer from the Evening Post. By lunchtime they had filled the workboat, and the litter-pickers had worked to Castle Lock and back. The afternoon saw the team complete the grappling of the canal  parallel to London Road, removing two further boatloads in the process. Notable finds included some very long and heavy lengths of pipe, and a number of deckchairs of the type often used by anglers. The traditional supermarket trolley was relatively scarce, but there were still many bicycles as usual for this canal.

With this fifth cleanup, the Branch has tackled the whole length of the Nottingham Canal at least once, but there is probably plenty more rubbish to be found by the determined grappler.  The Branch are grateful to all who participated, or lent equipment, and especially to the very enthusiastic guys from CRT who crewed the workboat.nottsderbyPhoto by Archie Roberts:  IWA Notts & Derbyshire clean up

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

East London Waterways Are Open for Cruising

The East London Waterways Festival on August Bank Holiday Monday (also see North & East London Branch report) celebrated the long awaited opening of Carpenters Road Lock with two Olympic medallists cutting the ribbon.  Fifty boats formed a flotilla to mark the event in the Olympic Park and 500 people enjoyed a free trip on passenger boats through the lock.  Around 700 people took advantage of the waterways to kayak, row, paddle board or dragon boat race around the site watched by over 10,000 visitors.  

The Olympians, rower Jessica Eddie and kayaker Joe Clarke MBE, said they were delighted that the legacy of the 2012 London Olympic Games was now being realised with the park and waterways now accessible to all. 

olympiansPhoto: Olympians, Jessica Eddie and Joe Clarke, perform the opening ceremony at Carpenters Road Lock in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park accompanied by CRT's Richard Parry and members of the East London Community ChoircarpenterslockPhoto: CRT's boat, Jena, working through Carpenters Road Lock during its first official day of opening

olympicwaterwayPhoto: Vessels taking advantage of the newly opened Olympic Park waterways in the shadow of the iconic swimming centre

How Much for Overstaying?

Signs from Waterside Mooring, an entity of CRT, have appeared in two regions advising boaters that unauthorised mooring will attract a charge of an eye watering £150 per day which is enforced through an outside contractor, District Enforcement.  This is a trial set up on 16 permanent/long term mooring sites in London/South East and East Midlands to ensure that boaters who have a contract with CRT for renting a mooring space can return to it without finding it occupied.  As anyone that has had dealings with parking enforcement companies will know, an enfringement of terms and conditions as stated can lead to a hefty charge with little hope of any flexibility.  

Further details of Waterside Mooring can be found through this link but boaters are advised to check when mooring that the space is not subject to an Overstay Charge. 

watersidemooringPhoto:  Boaters beware -  it could be a very costly mistake

Open Day at Stover Canal

The biennial Open Weekend will take place on the 23rd and 24th September. This year marks the 225th Anniversary of the canal reaching its  terminus at Ventiford Basin.  A replica wagon will be in place on the granite rails there along with the plans for the area. There will be a ceremony at Graving Dock Lock on the Saturday to mark the completion of the restoration project which was helped along by WRG work camps.  The display area alongside the ‘old’  Exeter Road will be set out at the Sibelco entrance to the East Golds works as usual, grid reference SX 85792.  Free parking will be available along the haul road, also courtesy of Sibelco. Displays by the RSPB,  the Barn Owl Trust, Bovey Heritage Centre,  Kelly Mine,  the Ball Clay Heritage Society and others will be on show between 10am and 4pm each day. Refreshments will be available for a donation to Trust funds.

CRT Publishes Winter Moorings Information

CRT has published the list of sites it will be offering for winter moorings in 2017-18.  The Trust is offering a range of winter mooring sites across the country which will be available from 1st November 2017 to 16th March 2018, finishing ahead of the Easter holidays and the start of the summer cruising season.  A final list of the sites and prices can be found through this link to their website.

All winter mooring permits will be charged at a ‘per metre, per month’ rate, and boaters will be able to book the spots in increments of one month, or two weeks in March 2018.  Winter moorings are divided into four price bands reflecting each site’s relative attractiveness, for example location and facilities, and to ensure the Trust stays in line with the pricing of both private mooring operators and its own long-term mooring sites.  This year most mooring prices will be held at 2016/17 levels.  Some sites have changed price band in response to the high or low levels of demand last winter, with popular sites increasing in price and less popular sites seeing a price cut.  The highest price band has seen a small increase of 50p per metre per month to £15.50 (a 3.5% rise).  At a few sites facilities have been improved and this has been reflected in the pricing.

Both continuous cruisers and boaters with a home mooring will be able to take up a winter mooring.  However, as with last year, boaters who are not meeting their licence requirements may not be eligible.

Bookings for the winter moorings will open at 6am on Monday 2nd October and will be made through the Trust’s boat licensing site which is open from from Wednesday 13th September.

Walsall Lock Open for Visitors

Vital repair work is underway to keep the Walsall Canal in good condition for the local community.  As part of the work, CRT is holding a special event on Saturday 23rd September to give visitors the chance to explore Lock 5 on this flight of locks, which runs through the heart of Walsall in the West Midlands. The Trust’s team of experts, including engineers, apprentices and ecologists, will be on hand to explain about the history of the canal in Walsall, the work of the charity and the impressive works carried out to the lock.

Additionally, visitors to the event will be able to try their hand at canoeing and fishing at taster sessions running throughout the day. A display of all the weird and wonderful things found in the canal will also be on show at the event. 

The bottom gates at lock 5 are nearing the end of their life due to wear and tear and rot. Unusually the gates will be changed while the canal is still full of water, as the surrounding area will not support the huge crane required, and instead a crane boat will be used. Other work to the lock involves inspecting the brick walls and flooring for damage.

The Walsall Canal runs for seven miles from Ryders Green Junction to Walsall Town Wharf. Walsall Town Wharf has undergone major redevelopment in the last decade and has totally transformed the area, which was previously run down and on the verge of being lost forever. It now provides moorings for boaters and access to the town’s attractions, including the Leather Museum and the Jerome K Jerome Birthplace Museum.

The event will be held on Saturday 23rd September from 10am-4pm. No pre-booking is required.   Parking is not available for the event however the lock is a short walk along the towpath from the town centre.  Access to the towpath is off Birchill’s Street.  Site post code is WS2 8NG.

Wey & Arun Trust are Looking for a Heritage Programme Leader

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust are recruiting a Heritage Programme and Outreach Officer for a fixed term contract to create a stronger public profile and encourage new membership by means of publicity, outreach projects and displays. The post is likely to be 18 hours a week, days and times worked will be by arrangement. This paid post is based at the Trust’s Surrey office in Shalford near Guildford although some home working could be considered. The successful applicant will be responsible for developing a plan for the Trust’s outreach activity. The person will need to be able to demonstrate success in working with community groups and bidding for Heritage grants.
For further information on the position and how to apply please contact the Trust at support@weyandarun.co.uk.

Closing date for applications 31st October 2017.

Team Work on the Lancaster Canal

The Owd Lanky Boaters and CRT have formed a partnership to work on a community conservation restoration project on the Tewifield Locks, near Carnforth, Lancashire.  Led by Colin Ogden of Owd Lanky Boaters, with support from CRT, talks and planning have been under way for some time to decide the best way to repair and bring back to life the Northern Reaches lock system.

Work got underway in early August with clearing out Lock 8 by-wash in preparation to emptying the lock and pointing and repairing the stonework, before further work can be attempted.  Many local firms have pledged their support and all health and safety issues and risk assessments have been overseen by CRT, along with their help supplying shovels, picks, safety equipment and life jackets.  Around 14  volunteers, split into groups, managed to clear the by-wash, before moving on to further tasks.

Colin said. “I cannot stress too much how helpful CRT staff have been in this unique event. Local landowners have given permission for access where needed, and firms loaning scaffolding and the like don't need asking. It has been touching, and quite emotional, at the response and friendliness” owdlanky1Photo:  Owd Lanky Boaters Group at work on the Lancaster Canal

owdlanky2Photo: Owd Lanky Boaters Group showing their presence at Tewifield Locks

Waterways Ombudsman Issues Annual Report

The Waterways Ombudsman and the Waterways Ombudsman Committee have issued their Annual Reports for 2016/17.   The Report shows that the number of complaints entering CRT’s complaint process rose slightly, from 222 during the previous year, to 234.  During the year the Ombudsman received 39 enquiries about the Trust.  Although there were 47 enquiries in the previous year, seven were about one situation, so the number of distinct sources of complaint is virtually unchanged.  Fourteen new investigations were opened, which was one fewer than the previous year, and the number of completed investigations was unchanged at 17.

  • Of the 17 investigations completed, two were partly upheld and although two others were not upheld a goodwill award was made for customer service shortfalls;
  • Two of them were not about boating issues, but were about fishing rights;

As before, the complaints covered a very broad range of topics, but there were some common themes, including continuous cruising guidance and the impact of boaters mooring near residential properties.

Anonymised summaries of all investigations completed during the year are available on the website.   The Waterways Ombudsman scheme deals with complaints about CRT which are referred to the Ombudsman after completion of the Trust’s own complaints process.
The annual report of the Waterways Ombudsman Committee and the Waterways Ombudsman for 2016-17 is now available online .

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

It's September So We Can Mention Christmas Cards

Send seasonal greetings to family and friends with the added benefit of supporting IWA by buying our waterways themed Christmas cards.  Go to our shop page to see the attractive designs available. 

iwaxmas20017Photo:  Some of the range of images available on IWA Christmas cards.  Click here to go to IWA's shop page.  

....And Now For 2018

For those of you wanting to put social and IWA dates in your diary for 2018, next year's IWA calendar is just what is needed.  The brilliant waterway photographs featured are all winners of our annual photographic competition.  Click here for the link to IWA's online ordering.
2018calendarPhoto:  A collection of prize winning photographs and dates for 2018 - it's IWA's famous calendar, available online.  

IWA is already searching for the best waterway photographs for its 2019 calendar so keep your camera with you while out and about on the water or towpath.  Follow this link for details of how to enter this competition. 

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
Harbour Clean - 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