IWA Bulletin - 29th November 2017

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IWA News

IWA lobbies MPs over EA transfer

Photo: Dedham Lock on the Suffolk / Essex Stour - closed in 2014

IWA is aware that Canal & River Trust has recently made a formal submission to Defra for the transfer of the Environment Agency’s navigation responsibilities.  IWA National Chairman, Ivor Caplan, has written to the Waterway Minister, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, to assure her of IWA’s support for the proposal. Transfer of these navigations to Canal & River Trust would allow these waterways to benefit from improved maintenance, third party funding opportunities and the economies of scale to be gained from being part of a larger navigation authority.
IWA has also written to about one hundred MPs to ask them to write to the Minister with their support, including MPs with EA navigations in their constituencies, members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, and other MPs who have previously indicated their support for the transfer.  To date 16 MPs have responded positively, confirming that they would write to the Waterway Minister.

Floating pennywort on the Great Ouse

Photo: River Cam just below Bottisham Lock, taken 12 October 2017 - The image shows large rafts of Floating pennywort restricting navigation (photo courtesy of the Environment Agency)

IWA is concerned to hear of the increase in the non-native Floating pennywort on the Great Ouse and its tributaries, and encourages boaters and other river users in the area to assist in the Environment Agency’s plans to control the spread of the plant.
Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides) is a species native to North America which was first discovered naturalised in Essex in 1990, having been introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant for ponds.  It is a particular problem for navigable waterways as it can grow up to 20cm a day forming dense mats of vegetation that can affect navigation, angling and water flow, and can increase flood risk.  The plant spreads easily as plant segments break off and move downstream with the flow or get moved by becoming attached to boats, and will continue growing in a new location.
Floating pennywort has been a particular concern in the Great Ouse catchment area this year.  Recent mild winters followed by warm weather conditions and low river flows over the summer and this autumn have provided perfect conditions for it.  Growth in the River Great Ouse and Cam has been significant with reports of the plant along much of the River Cam downstream of Cambridge and as far downstream as Denver on the River Great Ouse.   Floating pennywort is also known to be a problem on the River Stort, managed by Canal & River Trust, this year.
The Environment Agency has issued a call to boat owners to help reduce the spread of this invasive non-native plant by following the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ principle - visually checking their craft regularly and removing any visible weed and by placing it well away from any river or other water body.
People are asked to report any sightings of Floating pennywort to the Environment Agency via email Anglian-invasive@environment-agency.gov.uk or by calling EA’s national customer contact centre on 03708 506506.   EA is particularly interested in sightings on waterways where it has not been recorded previously so they can monitor the spread and develop a plan of action to combat it.
EA states that there is no funding specifically set aside for the control of Floating pennywort on the Great Ouse River system, but they have pulled together an emergency fund of £30,000 and are preparing weed harvesters and other equipment to start removal work on the River Cam.  This is the only funding available at this time and IWA encourages its branches and individual volunteers to get involved with any volunteering opportunities which are organised to help control the spread of this plant.
More information about Floating pennywort can be found on the invasive species campaign area of IWA’s website…

British Canoeing endorses IWA advice

Navigating Tunnels Safely canoe
British Canoeing has endorsed new advice from IWA on using small unpowered craft on the inland waterways and the safe passage of canal tunnels by all types of craft.
Taking a boat through a tunnel can be an exciting element of any canal journey but it comes with inherent dangers which people need to be aware of, and IWA’s new Briefing Note on “Navigating Canal Tunnels Safely” is intended to highlight some of these issues.  It contains advice for users of powered and unpowered craft, as well as recommendations for navigation authorities.

Small boats such as rowing boats, dinghies, canoes or stand up paddleboards are a great and affordable way to get afloat.  IWA has updated its Briefing Note on “Using Canoes and Small Unpowered Craft” and would encourage everyone (even experienced boaters of other types of craft) to consider trying new ways of getting afloat.   It’s a great way to introduce children and young people to sport and the great outdoors and the briefing note contains lots of information to help you get started.
IWA is grateful to British Canoeing for endorsing these two Briefing Notes and looks forward to working with them in partnership over other issues of joint interest in the future.
Readers of Bulletin are reminded that, as well as the series of Briefing Notes, the website also contains details of IWA policy in a number of areas.  Amongst the policies recently reviewed and updated is IWA’s Towpath Policy, which includes information and advice for IWA branches, navigation authorities and other waterway campaigners. 

Want to join IWA’s staff team?

Our volunteers form the core of the Association and our small staff team works hard to support their work.  IWA’s volunteers work through the branch and region network or via committees where events such as IWA Canalway Cavalcade or IWA’s Festival of Water are organised, Navigation Committee where much of our campaigning work originates and our Restoration Hub which champions, enables and provides practical hands-on support to the restoration movement.  
A new Volunteer Support Officer role has been created to strengthen the assistance we offer our volunteers, particularly those in our branches and regions and those booking onto our Canal Camp or Family Day programmes.  It is an office based, administrative, part-time role (21 hours per week) based in Chesham in Buckinghamshire.  

Take a look at the full application pack. 

Applications should be received by Wednesday 3rd January with interviews to be held on Thursday 11th January 2018. 

Could you help provide strategic direction to our restoration activities?

IWA is looking for volunteers who are passionate about waterway restoration to join our Restoration Hub High Level Panel. This is an exciting opportunity to help give our restoration activities strategic, high level direction.
The Panel is a key component of our work to champion restoration at a national level – encouraging, promoting and enabling waterway restoration to galvanise the attention and support of the media, influential politicians and other key stakeholders.

The Panel will be made up of a small team of individuals who have experience in waterways restoration at a strategic level. Working together, members of the Panel will discuss key barriers facing the waterway restoration movement in order to give feedback and strategic direction to IWA trustees on how the Association can best support restoration.

If you are interested in offering your time, skills and knowledge to support restoration take a look at the more detailed information here.

Reminder to Have Your Say in Boat Licensing Consultation

Bulletin readers are reminded that stage 3 of CRT’s licensing consultation closes at midnight on 18th December.  IWA would encourage all CRT licence holders, boating organisations and other interested individuals to take part.  Anyone who hasn’t received the questionnaire can request one by calling CRT on 0303 040 4040.  More details about the background to the current stage of the consultation can be found in the IWA Bulletin of 24th October.  IWA has now submitted its response to the questionnaire, details of which can be found on the consultation responses page of IWA’s website.

220 gold rings

Well, mooring rings actually.  Over 220 new rings have been installed so far as part of IWA’s Cheshire Ring Mooring Ring Project with the most recent additions being added on 2nd and 3rd November at Fools Nook on the Macclesfield Canal by 12 volunteers.  The project has exceeded the original scope in terms of the numbers of ring installations planned and with more work parties in the diary over the winter months, we are always looking for new volunteers to come and join us.

3 volunteers at Fools Nook on the Macclesfield Canal installing mooring rings
If you are interested in getting involved with this successful project, get in touch with Alex Melson – firstname.lastname@waterways.org.uk 01494 783 453 ext 610.

IWA Announces Two New Deputy Chairmen

Ivor Caplan, IWA’s recently appointed national chairman has named his two deputies following a meeting of the Association’s trustees on Saturday 25th November.  They are Paul Strudwick who is also Chairman of IWA’s London Region and Rick Barnes who sits on the Waterway Recovery Group board as well as acting as IWA’s representative on the Cotswold Canals Partnership.   
Ivor announced IWA’s new vision and five year objectives to members in the most recent edition of Waterways magazine highlighting the key themes of:

  • Speaking for the waterways
  • Protecting the waterways
  • Restoring waterways
  • Inspiring support for and usage of the waterways

Rick’s long experience of hands-on restoration and Paul’s championing of volunteering and personal interest in the promotion of lesser used waterways will serve to ensure the organisation moves forward to succeed in the delivery of its ambitious plans. 

IWA Branch News

IWA West Country Branch

IWA West Country Branch Bridgwater Docks eventPhoto: Guests of IWA West Country Branch attended a tour of Bridgwater Docks.  IWA's Branch Achievement Award takes centre stage having been presented to IWA West Country Branch volunteers

This month, IWA’s West Country Branch celebrated their win of the Branch Achievement award in Bridgwater Docks alongside members of the local council and other invited guests.  Mayor of Bridgwater Graham Granter was there to thank volunteers for their contribution to the town.  The branch has been working with Bridgwater Town Council on the regeneration of the former docks and also on the Tidal Barrier Campaign. 

Guests were invited on a tour of the docks by committee member Mike Slade who briefed them on IWA’s aspirations for the regeneration of the docks, which includes restoration of Newtown Lock and the Barge Lock and in addition restoring the 1841 heritage bascule bridge across the docks, thus re-establishing navigation  between the River Parrett and the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal.  Town Council Leader Brian Smedley said “We are at a crucial time for our waterways. No one can fault the IWA for their dedicated campaigning to refocus our town on our maritime heritage and inspirational leading by example not just making the case for a water-based future but physically getting down and doing the work needed to clean up, restore, maintain and enhance what we have.”

IWA Manchester Branch

October 2017
Volunteers gathering at Lock 7 on the Ashton Canal were offered a choice of tasks including a planned paint touch up, towpath vegetation cutting and garden path laying. 

The first job was to avoid the downpour but once the sun came out and the lock beams were dried off work could begin on re-painting the numbers.  Two human excavators squared up a path trench and barrowed the base limestone over to the far side of the lock.  Meanwhile the scorched earth policy team got stuck into the huge bramble patch and then chopped merrily along the towpath, discovering a block of apartments hidden in the vegetation!  The volunteers’ technique of rope binding reasonable sized bundles of cut vegetation for ease of handling paid off and the pile in the pickup area grew.  A natural break in the brush clearing occurred just after lunch and as the clouds were once more gathering the team decided to finish early, everything was stowed away as the downpour started and a dry but satisfied team said their farewells.
The Branch holds regular work parties. Find out more or follow the branch on Facebook.

IWA Lichfield Branch - Donation to Lichfield Canal Restoration - November 2017

Photo: IWA Branch Chairman Phil Sharpe presents cheque for £1000 to Christine Bull, Chairman LHCRT

At the branch meeting on 15th November, Chairman Phil Sharpe was pleased to present a cheque for £1,000 to Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust Chairman, Christine Bull.  Over the past 30 years IWA Lichfield Branch has donated £44,000 to waterway restoration projects, including £23,000 to Lichfield & Hatherton.

Christine said the donation will be put towards their Tunnel Vision Appeal which has already raised £400,000 towards the £1m target which they hope to achieve by early 2019. See our most recent Bulletin for more details 

IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch

Locks 47 & 48 Trent & Mersey Canal work partyPhoto: The painting team in front of the completed locks.  At CRT's request we no longer paint the black section on new lock gates. These are paired locks but only one side is operational. Hopefully one day funding will enable them all to be put back into use!

This month volunteers have contributed the full time equivalent of 6.5 days of work to work parties on the Trent & Mersey Canal.  The biggest chunk of time was targeted to the painting of Church Locks 47 & 48 at Church Lawton which have been waiting for a new coat of paint for over two months due to wet weather.  Two volunteers spent 14 hours litter picking and a mooring ring survey was completed further north along the canal.
Work parties will begin again on the 3rd Thursday of January and on throughout 2018.  As work has finished in the Red Bull area, the branch will move to Hassall Green.  Keep an eye on the website for more details.

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

Help Save a Lost Section of the Thames & Severn Canal 

Cotswold Canals Trust needs your help to support a planning application to reinstate a lost section of the Thames & Severn Canal at Marston Meysey.

A 1km section of The Thames & Severn Canal was filled in after the Navigation closed and in the 1980s, the area was proposed for gravel extraction.  Following representations from CCT and other campaigners, a condition of the planning permission stated that a programme of restoration work would be submitted, but many years later and now with quarrying coming to an end, this condition has still not been fulfilled.

There is a real risk that the quarry site will be restored with no canal across it.  CCT has submitted this application because as it stands, the canal itself does not have planning permission.   

You can add your support by registering your support for the application.  The deadline for submission is 14th December.

Increase in incidents on the Tidal Thames

Tidal Thames
The River Thames has seen a 42.3% rise in reported recreational incidents compared to the previous six months according to a report by the Port of London Authority.  It also highlighted that incidents between Crossness and Teddington accounted for 23.4% of all incidents reported in this area.

The majority of these incidents could have been avoided by adhering to PLA’s regulations and guidance.

The Tidal Thames, is as a busy commercial waterway so it is important that users comply with the various regulations and directions.  

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) V Regulations for pleasure vessel under 150GT has been recently revised (full details here) but particularly Regulation 34 (Voyage/Passage Planning) as this is now a formal requirement prior to getting underway.
Boats should be appropriately prepared for tidal conditions and check that all mechanical functions are fully operational. The PLA has produced the following Safety Bulletins over the past couple of years.
River users can join the Tidal Thames Navigators’ Club for free and receive copies of the PLA’s Recreational User Guide and the annual Port Handbook and Tidal Information booklet.  The Club focuses on supporting and informing recreational user and allows the PLA to direct specific, relevant information to members of the TTNC as and when it is available.  Join the Tidal Thames Navigators’ Club via the PLA recreational website –    River users can also sign up to receive PLA Notices to Mariners via email.

£2.6m National Lottery investment in the Nene Valley


Photo: The Nene by Alison Cross/Nenescape
The Nene Valley has been given a boost by a £2.6m investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This project will bring together partners from along the River Nene between Northampton and Peterborough. Communities and visitors will benefit from 16 projects delivered over the next five years by developing skills, improving access, restoring wetland and wildlife habitats and developing tourism.

The River Nene Regional Park is leading the project in partnership with a wide range of organisations.  Find out more here.

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

Buy your Christmas Cards Now

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:  Your favourite Christmas Card.  Buy any of our selection of Christmas Cards and support IWA.   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 now.  £5.50 includes free postage

Photo:  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

This month IWA’s West Country Branch celebrated their win of the Branch Achievement award in Bridgwater Docks alongside members of the local council and other invited guests.  Mayor of Bridgwater Graham Granter was there to thank volunteers for their contribution to the town.  The branch has been working with Bridgwater Town Council on the regeneration of the former docks and also on the Tidal Barrier Campaign.  Guests were invited on a tour of the docks given by work party leader Mike Slade who showcased the ongoing work his volunteers are engaged in such as painting railings, litter picking and promoting the waterways.  Town Council Leader Brian Smedley said “We are at a crucial time for our waterways. No one can fault the IWA for their dedicated campaigning to refocus our town on our maritime heritage and inspirational leading by example not just making the case for a water-based future but physically getting down and doing the work needed to clean up, restore, maintain and enhance what we have.”