IWA Bulletin - 24th October 2017

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IWA News

Hear Hear - Middle Level Bill to Proceed

Boats on Middle LevelPhoto: Revived Bill could lead to improved facilities for boaters.  Photo by Chris Howes

The Middle Level Bill, which ran out of time in the last Parliament, has been given the go ahead to proceed through its parliamentary process, with the House of Commons voting in favour following a debate on 17th October.  Despite suggestions from some MPs during the debate that it should be postponed, the Bill will proceed to the House of Lords before going to an Opposed Bill Committee for consideration of the remaining objections.
The Middle Level Commissioners (MLC) are the navigation authority for the Middle Level Navigations, which comprises 100 miles of navigable waterways in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. The Middle Level Bill would update the legal framework which currently governs their navigation function.

IWA welcomes the revival of this Bill, which would bring MLC into line with other larger navigation authorities by enabling better waterway management powers and increased provision of facilities in connection with their navigation function.  Among other powers it would enable the Commissioners to levy charges in respect of vessels using the Middle Level waterways, including the ability to charge where vessels overstay time limits in force at a mooring place.  It would enable the removal of sunken, stranded and abandoned vessels and it would enable requirement of vessels using the Commissioners’ waterways to have insurance and a boat safety certificate, which is currently not the case.

Middle Level Well Creek sunken boatPhoto: Sunken boat at Well Creek.  Photographer Chris Howes.

The Middle Level is an important part of the East Anglian waterways, and IWA’s view is that it needs these powers in order to continue to run its navigations effectively.  Subject to any charges imposed being reasonable, IWA believes that the Bill’s implementation would be beneficial for all who use these waterways.  MLC would be able to spend money on facilities and moorings for boaters, which they are currently unable to do; the value of the waterways to the local economy through tourism would increase; there would be increased provision of leisure opportunities for the local population; and safer conditions for the boats currently on the system, which are currently not subject to boat safety examinations or the requirement to have any insurance.  

Express your support.  Write to your MP now.
As an Opposed Bill, there is the potential for it to be defeated, and IWA members and supporters are therefore encouraged to write to their MP to express their support for the Bill, particularly if living in the constituencies which include the Middle Level Navigations.  These constituencies are:  North West Cambridgeshire (Shailesh Vara MP), North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay MP) and South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss MP).  See a list of bullet points to assist in letter writing.
visitor mooring middle level three holesPhoto: This visitor mooring at Three Holes on the Middle Level Navigations was paid for by IWA Peterborough Branch, and is one of a minimal number of visitor moorings on the 100 miles managed by the Middle Level Commissioners.  The Middle Level Bill would enable MLC to spend money on providing more moorings and facilities, which it is currently unable to do.
Photographer: Alison Smedley

IWA Welcomes CRT Attempts to Manage Finite London Space

Canal & River Trust wants feedback on their proposals to help make the best possible use of London’s increasingly busy waterspace and improve boaters’ experience of boating in London.  Acknowledging that “London’s waterways are facing a real challenge – that of being almost too popular” CRT has worked with a wide range of stakeholders, surveying boaters, and looking at the capital’s waterways to write their London Mooring Strategy.

IWA’s London Region welcomes the Draft London Mooring Strategy and looks forward to working with CRT to produce a finalised document and an implementation plan.  In particular IWA is pleased to see a commitment to introduce new free short-stay visitor mooring sites and increased monitoring and management of these and existing moorings across the region.  The proposed increase in paid-for pre-bookable moorings will provide boaters with greater peace of mind if they are seeking a guaranteed mooring space when visiting London.  

IWA’s London Region volunteers are also happy to see a commitment to an increase in investment in boating facilities to help meet the needs of the increased number of boats that have arrived in London over recent years and to satisfy the predicted growth in boat numbers.  The proposed new ‘water sport zones’ on the Lee Navigation will help reduce the conflict that can exist between powered craft and the recreational rowing boats and the fine racing boats that use the river.

CRT’s other proposals include: the development of new long-term moorings to be supported and prioritised in quieter/less busy areas (primarily outer London) and the development of long-term moorings from a diverse range of providers, improved provision, maintenance and management of short-stay moorings.

Boaters can take part in the consultation up until 18 December 2017 by completing the consultation survey online or by filling in a paper version of the consultation survey.  The survey is being sent to all boaters the Trust has sighted in London over the past year, either by email or letter depending on the contact details the charity has for them.   

Click here for further details of the London Mooring Strategy, including the proposals and details of events.   IWA’s London Region plans to respond to the Strategy and encourages all boaters to respond privately too.  If you would like your viewpoints to be considered for inclusion in IWA’s response please email IWA’s London Region Chairman, Paul Strudwick (firstname.lastname@waterways.org.uk).

Turning Point for the Basingstoke Canal

Photo: Basingstoke Canal by Malc Lawes

Hampshire and Surrey County Councils have announced new discussions with Canal & River Trust to find a feasible way of transferring management of the Basingstoke Canal to the Trust.  Over the next five years, the two Councils will explore ways to make the Canal as sustainable as possible, by increasing income generation and undertaking capital works to reduce the backlog of repairs.  The plan is to transfer the management of the waterway and its assets to CRT, so that it is no longer reliant on public sector funding.  

Both IWA and the Basingstoke Canal Society have welcomed the Councils’ commitment, which has the potential to secure the long-term future of the 32 mile long Canal.  This is a development for which both IWA and the Society have long campaigned.  The Society will also be encouraging the other members of the Canal Partnership, and particularly the riparian districts, to step up their support for the Canal not only by paying their agreed contributions to the Canal’s budget but also by pursuing non-monetary objectives such as taking maximum advantage of planning gain, publicising the canal through their community initiatives, etc.  The Canal was reopened to navigation in 1991 following 18 years of restoration work and a long campaign by IWA and the Society dating back to IWA’s formative years.

Red Diesel Taxation – the Saga Continues

IWA continues to be concerned at the implications for boat owners and boatyard operators following confirmation that the European Commission still intends to take the UK Government to court over current UK laws which allow leisure boaters to purchase red diesel.
This is despite the agreement made with HMRC in 2008 whereby boaters can purchase red diesel for propulsion whilst paying the required standard rate of tax, with a form of self-declaration allowing a proportion of the diesel used for heating and lighting to be purchased at a lower rate of tax.  The European Commission referred the matter to the European Court of Justice in July 2014, stating that the UK was "not properly applying" European excise rules.

On 1st September 2017 the European Commission announced the case number against the United Kingdom for it taking action relating to Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, stating that it considers that, by allowing the use of marked fuel for the purposes of propelling private pleasure craft, the UK has failed to fulfil its obligations under Council Directive 95/60/EC of 27 November 1995 on fiscal marking of gas oils and kerosene.
Further background can be found in IWA’s Briefing Note on Red Diesel and also in IWA’s recent response to HM Treasury’s call for evidence on the use of red diesel.

No Applause for the State of the Leek Arm

Leek Arm in terrible statePhoto: Narrow boat “Beatty” ploughs its way through the silt and the weeds at the end of the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal.  Photographer Nick Beatty

IWA has raised concerns about the near-unnavigable state of the last quarter of a mile of the connected waterways system.  The end of the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal in Staffordshire has become silted up over the last few years, with reed growth encroaching the navigation.  IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch has written to CRT asking when the arm will be dredged, but have so far received no response.  

At the moment boats are unable to reach the end of the canal without difficulty, and the winding hole which previously allowed boats of up to 45ft to turn is unusable so any boats that do venture through the less-than-7ft gap through the reeds and the mud are having to reverse back to the full length winding hole. The situation puts most visiting boats off stopping and exploring the nearby market town of Leek.

IWA members, with support from the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, have offered to help get the arm navigable again through utilising volunteers, and are hoping CRT will take up this offer so that by working together the three organisations can get the full length of this scenic canal navigable and well-used again.

New, Easy Online Booking for IWA Canalway Cavalcade

Photo: Join in the fun at IWA Canalway Cavalcade.  nb Webbies dressed for Wind in the Willows in the festival's annual pageant.  Photographer Marion Birch

Reserve a mooring at next year's IWA Canalway Cavalcade and join in with the parades, dress up your boat, take part in the handling competitions, or simply enjoy the spectacle with a drink from your boat.
Places have sold out well ahead of the event in recent years so get in early to avoid disappointment
Reserve your mooring at IWA Canalway Cavalcade now

Fundraising made simple with Restoration Hub Webinar

Free workshops and webinars are being offered to those involved in bringing derelict waterways back to life.  The next event in the calendar from IWA’s Restoration Hub is a Fundraising Webinar to be held on 14th November 2017 in the evening.  This webinar will explore the current fundraising climate and opportunities that waterway restoration groups could make the most of to increase their income.  Led by Terry Cavender (Buckingham Canal Society) & Sarah Frayne (IWA's Fundraising Officer) this is an online webinar which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
Reserve your spot on the Fundraising webinar here.

Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Campaign

IWA has submitted its response to the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) on the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Scheme (the Scheme), which was issued by the Environment Agency (EA) for comment in mid-August.  IWA is a stakeholder in the Scheme and a consultee under Schedule 5, categories 3 and 4 of the Transport and Works (Applications and Objections) Procedure (England and Wales) Rules 2006.
The intention to provide facilities on the River Parrett both upstream and downstream of the barrier to allow vessels to moor so that they can wait safely at times when the barrier is closed is welcomed by IWA.  The Association has offered to discuss in detail with EA the facilities that ought to be provided for this purpose.
Although there is currently little commercial or recreational navigation on the stretch of the River Parrett where the barrier will be built, IWA has requested that information regarding each expected barrier closure, for whatever purpose, and the expected closure duration, is published on appropriate websites.
The intention to provide a slipway to allow small boats to be launched for inspecting the barrier from the water is also welcomed by IWA.  It  has suggested that the EA Opportunities and Enhancements sub-group should consider the possibility of the slipway being made available for use by Trail Boaters when not otherwise required for use in connection with the barrier.
IWA has requested that where the PEIR refers to the removal of the bypass channel temporary diversion, followed by reinstatement of that area, that reference is also made to making passive provision for the construction of a lock and approach channels in the footprint of the bypass channel in the future (as happened, for example, at the Tees Barrage) and for the relevant land to be formally reserved for this purpose.
IWA has welcomed EA’s recognition that recreational usage of the river could increase in the future and that due to the anticipated increase in the number of barrier closures in future epochs (due to sea level rises), the impact on navigation between Dunball and Drove Bridge could therefore be greater in the future.  This will be the subject of further assessment by EA.
For more information take a look at IWA West Country Branch's web pages

IWA Branch News

IWA Milton Keynes Branch - What a Haul!

IWA Milton Keynes Branch Canal Cleanup October 2017Photo: Hard-working volunteers take a well-earned tea break.  An essential part of any IWA work party, especially when collecting 10 tonnes of rubbish!

IWA often gets asked “What’s the strangest item to have been hauled out of the canal on one of your work parties?”.  Well, IWA Milton Keynes Branch may have the answer.  

46 volunteers turned up over the weekend of 13th and 14th October to support the Branch’s Canal Cleanup through Milton Keynes.  Clocking up over 400 hours of effort, walkers cleared the towpath and hedges of litter and larger items of rubbish whilst volunteers working from a “pan” (shallow-draught workboat) cleared the non-towpath side of the canal.

As always on the twice annual event, an amazing but depressing variety of items was recovered, including an engine, a washing machine, a fibreglass dinghy, a double mattress, a toilet, a rucksack, numerous bikes, motorbikes and supermarket trolleys, timber, plywood and fencing panels, plastic sheeting, the usual bottles and cans, a garden heron ornament and a headless plastic elephant!  The haul of rubbish amounted to an estimated 8 – 10 tonnes.

IWA Milton Keynes Branch Canal Cleanup October 2017 headless elephantPhoto: What's the strangest thing ever hauled out of a canal?  This elephant could be head of the list!

IWA Milton Keynes expressed thanks to CRT staff and volunteers, Parks Trust volunteers and to Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd for sponsoring the event.   The Branch plans to stage its next Canal Cleanup in the spring of 2018.

IWA Warwickshire Branch

IWA Warwickshire Branch canal cleanup October 2017Photo: Who wants to go shopping in the canal?  One of 40 shopping trolleys found on one day by IWA Warwickshire Branch on their canal clean-up
Three hours, one mile, 80 volunteers and more than 40 shopping trolleys.  IWA Warwickshire Branch held a clean-up of the Grand Union Canal on 15th October between Tachbrook Road (bridge 41) and Clapham Terrace (bridge 38) in Leamington Spa.    

IWA volunteer numbers were swelled by Sydenham scouts, 3rd Warwick Scouts, University of Warwick student volunteers, CRT regular volunteers, local boaters and residents.  In addition to the 40 trolleys, 28 cycles, 3 motorbikes, over 20 tyres, a complete sign from a pay and display car park, a street sign for Llewellyn Road, several pushchairs, a pram, sundry barriers and road works paraphernalia and a mooring ring embedded in concrete were all hauled from the water. A litter pick produced over 20 sacks of rubbish.

The Branch would love to hear from anyone who would like to come and help out in future. Please email info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk for more details.

IWA Lichfield Branch - Winter Work Parties

IWA Lichfield Branch volunteers are being offered training to carry out specific roles as part of CRT’s offside vegetation clearance project on the Trent & Mersey Canal during the winter months. The clearance will take place from Great Haywood down to Rugeley (and beyond if possible).
Each work party will have a:

  • Helmsman/woman - anyone with a helmsman certificate should be able to steer the boat. However, if you have experience of boat handling but no certificate CRT is prepared to do ‘on the job’ assessment of your boat handling and if that is ok you will be signed off to steer
  • Wood Chipper - one-day course (probably at Fradley Junction) and a mix of classroom and practical work.
  • Pole Pruner - essentially a chainsaw up a pole and therefore needs one-day training plus one-day assessment. Please note that this job is NOT SUITABLE FOR ANYONE WITH A BAD BACK.
  • One other

The current plan is that IWA will work on designated Fridays - the frequency will depend on availability of our volunteers and the weather.  There is no commitment on anyone’s part to do work on a weekly basis, but CRT is asking for a commitment of at least three days over the winter months.  
Please contact Margaret Beardsmore (firstname.lastname@waterways.org.uk) if you are interested in any of these roles.

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

CRT Licence Review

CRT licence holders will have received an opportunity to take part in the third stage of CRT’s Licensing Consultation.  The consultation will run until midnight on Monday 18th December and the outcome of the consultation will be communicated to stakeholders in early 2018.
CRT states that the aim of the consultation is to ensure the long-term sustainability of their waterways so that boaters and other waterway users can continue to enjoy them now and in the future.  The consultation aims to help CRT to identify an approach to licensing that is more simple and administratively less burdensome than the current system, as well as being robust and workable and balancing pricing and affordability.
The previous stages of the consultation saw discussion with boating organisations to establish a broad understanding of different perspectives and opinions, with stage 2 seeing boat licensing customers invited to apply to attend one of nine workshops held across the country to further explore initial ideas from stage 1.  Stage 3 of the licence consultation invites all CRT current licence holders to share their views on the outcomes from stages 1 and 2 by taking part in an on-line survey.
With the outcome from this final stage CRT intends to identify a future approach to its licensing framework that is fair (the survey asks boaters how the financial contribution made by the different types of boats and boaters towards the upkeep of the waterways can be generated through licence fees in the fairest way) and straightforward, simple to understand and sustainable.  The intention of the licence review is not to increase the proportion of CRT revenue from boat licences, but to make sure that the contribution from boat licences is distributed more fairly.  IWA encourages all holders of CRT licences to take part in the survey.

In addition to current licence holders, CRT is also asking for views from boating organisations and other interested individuals. IWA will be submitting a response on behalf of the Association. IWA is also aware of a number of CRT licence holders who have not received an invitation to take part, and would encourage people to request a link to the questionnaire by calling CRT on 0303 040 4040.

Environment Agency Launches £1.4m Winter Programme of River Thames Lock Works

The Environment Agency embarks on its annual winter programme of major repairs and refurbishments to locks along the non-tidal River Thames at the end of this month.  From 30th October, work will start at 6 out of the 45 sites it owns and operates - 2 in Oxfordshire, 1 in Berkshire, 2 in Surrey, and 1 in Middlesex.  Together, they will have a total of £1.4m spent on them.

The most significant project is at Blakes Lock in Reading, Berkshire. At this site, which is the ‘gateway’ lock between the town’s two main waterways – the River Thames and the Kennet and Avon Canal, £750,000 is being spent on refurbishing the lock chamber and all four lock gates, and numerous other improvements.
Another major project is at Teddington Lock in Middlesex. This sites marks the border between the non-tidal and tidal River Thames and uniquely, contains three different locks. The largest of these, the barge lock, is, at 650 feet (198.12 metres) long and holding 1.75 million gallons (8 million litres) of water, the largest lock on the non-tidal Thames by some considerable margin. Here, the two downstream or ‘tail’ gates, each weighing 11 tonnes, are being lifted out and taken away for refurbishment.

Gates from Shifford Lock near Bampton, and Clifton Lock near Abingdon, both in Oxford, are also being refurbished, and at Molesey Lock in East Molesey, Surrey too.  At Bell Weir Lock in Egham in Surrey, the rubbing timbers are being replaced . These protect the walls of the lock from impact damage by boats,.

EA says that all the work being carried out this year will require the locks to be closed for a period of time. The longest closure is at Blakes Lock. Due to the scale and complexity of the work, the lock may need to be closed for up to five months.

Click here for the latest updates on the programme.

Canal Projects in the race for Aviva Community Fund

Have a read and get ready to vote for your favourite project.  The deadline is 21st November 2017 at midday. 

Wey & Arun Canal Trust has applied for a grant to create a two-kilometre circular walk for the enjoyment of the whole community on the canal at Birtley, between Bramley and Cranleigh.

Avon Navigation Trust is looking to develop an ecology/wildlife area on Pershore Lock Island turning it into a wildlife and community haven, attracting tourists and residents alike.  The island, located in the heart of Pershore, Worcestershire, on the River Avon, was cleared through a major dredging programme in May 2017. As a result, it now offers a blank slate to secure the long term biodiversity of this hard to reach land.

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 Christmas Shop

Choose from 6 New Christmas Card Designs

This year our range includes three photographic designs and three paintings.  Send seasonal greetings to your family and friends with the added benefit of supporting IWA.  Visit IWA's Christmas shop online to buy one or more of the attractive designs.

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

2018 Calendar Now Available

Every page includes a lovely waterways postcard sized photo with a perforated side so that the image can be used as a postcard once you no longer need it as a calendar.  A wonderful 2 in 1 idea making the calendar a unique and useful gift.   Postage is included in the price of the calendar and it costs just £5.50. 

Buy your calendar here. 
2018calendarPhoto:  A collection of prize winning photographs and dates for 2018 - it's IWA's famous calendar, available 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
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