IWA Bulletin - 13th December 2017

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Merry Christmas from Everyone at IWA

We hope you have a wonderfully festive time and we wish you a very happy New Year. 
Your next issue of Bulletin will be with you in January.

IWA News

No Water for Birmingham Canal Navigations from Chasewater Reservoir

Chasewater Valve HousePhoto: Chasewater Valve House

The Association has raised concerns with Canal & River Trust after being advised that water from Chasewater Reservoir, which is a major water supply to the BCN, was terminated by the owners, Staffordshire County Council, earlier in the year and that no water has been available to Canal & River Trust’s canal network from the reservoir since the Spring.  

On a regular inspection by the Council's Reservoir Engineer the valve which controls the water feed into the Anglesey Branch was declared unsafe to use in April 2017, cutting off the main water supply to the BCN.  For historical reasons, the reservoir is owned by Staffordshire County Council and managed as part of the Chasewater Country Park, although Canal & River Trust has rights to the water.

On further enquiry, it has come to light that the valve that should be used to control the water has been inoperable for a number of years. The valve that is now closed is intended to be used only for the emergency drawdown of the water from Chasewater.  Staffordshire County Council is in continued discussion with Canal & River Trust to develop a temporary alternative form of water extraction from Chasewater into the canal network that provides both a solution for the canal system but also allows the reservoir to operate at a level that does not impinge on the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  Meanwhile, Canal & River Trust has virtually emptied Rotten Park reservoir, which was already low after a dry winter, as well as increasing pumping from the Bradley borehole and using back pumping at Titford, in order to maintain water levels.  

Chasewater Reservoir was created as a canal feeder reservoir in 1797 to directly supply the Wyrley & Essington Canal, and later to maintain levels in the 160-mile Birmingham Canal Navigations network. When the Ogley Locks section of the Wyrley & Essington Canal was closed in 1954 there was a reduced demand for water from Chasewater, and in 1956 it was purchased by Brownhills Urban District Council from the British Transport Commission.  In 1994 Lichfield District Council became responsible for management of Chasewater and the site became a country park in 1998. The reservoir diversified and is a popular public amenity with activities such as water-skiing, sailing, wakeboarding and cycling. Chasewater is the third largest reservoir by volume in the county of Staffordshire and the largest canal feeder reservoir in the West Midlands.

sailing on chasewater reservoirPhoto: Courtesy of Chasewater Innovation Centre, Chasewater Country Park

In 2010 major works were carried out to the reservoir and in May 2011 ownership of the reservoir passed to Staffordshire County Council.  The £5.5 million repairs were completed in April 2012.

Canal & River Trust has informed IWA that work is ongoing with Staffordshire County Council and Natural England to resolve the current issues. 

Book yourself a volunteering spot on one of WRG's 2018 Canal Camps


Photo: Gracing the front cover of WRG's 2018 Canal Camps brochure.  Book your place now.

Waterway Recovery Group’s (WRG) 2018 Canal Camp programme will feature 28 Canal Camps across 13 different waterways.  More than 400 volunteers are expected to sign up to the week-long residential camps, which in 2018 will include four sites where the project is close to completion or return to water, as well as three family camps. The aim of the programme is to support the admirable work being carried out by local canal restoration groups to help return even more canals back to navigation.

The four projects close to completion are;

  • Borrowash Bottom Lock on the Derby Canal, where volunteers will undertake technical restoration work on the partially restored lock;
  • Fosseway Heath on the Lichfield Canal which will see volunteers restore over 100m of retaining wall and  towpath;
  • the Montgomery Canal where volunteers will be working between Redwith Bridge and Pryces Bridge, focusing on repairing a leaking section of a recently restored canal and on the
  • Lancaster Canal where volunteers will be re-lining a section of ‘the first furlong’.

Once these four projects are finished 950m of canal will have been returned to water.  

Following the success of WRG’s first family volunteering weekend in 2017, three further weekends are planned in 2018 - on the Grantham Canal, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation and Uttoxeter Canal. Families with children aged between 8 – 14 will have the opportunity to experience canal restoration first hand.

Book a space on a 2018 Canal Camp or find out more about the full programme.

Inland Boating Returns to London Boat Show

Photo: Sandbach on her way to London Boat Show

The best of the country’s inland boating opportunities will be showcased at the 2018 London Boat Show from 10th - 14th January at London’s ExCel.  We have been looking forward to the return of an inland waterways feature to the show and our wish has been granted with exhibits from hireboat and holiday operators. 

The highlight of the feature is a lock which can be admired with a drink in hand from the garden of the Lock Keeper’s Inn.  Two boats will be moored by the lock, a 38ft cruiser and the 35ft historic tug, Sandbach.  Belonging to an IWA team member, Sandbach is a steel tug originally built in 1946 for the London Midland and Scottish Railway for towing on the Shropshire Union Canal, and later on the River Weaver.  

Both rivers and canals will be represented at the show plus IWA will be there to answer questions covering the breadth of the nation’s 6,500 miles of waterways as well as discuss the Association’s campaign plans for the coming year. 

Visit IWA at London Boat Show
Our volunteers will be tempting Boat Show attendees with a special show only IWA membership offer of £12 in the first year. Visit stand WA004 to take up the offer. 

Or take a photo of you in front of Sandbach and publish it on Facebook and tag it with #loveyourwaterways to be in with a chance of winning £20 voucher to spend on books, maps and guides at IWAShop. Make sure your post is set to public.

IWA staff volunteered to spend Saturday 9th December moving Sandbach from her mooring in Apsley to Croxley Green where she will be craned out on her journey to the Boat Show.  See the video here.

For more information about what’s on at the show click here.

IWA Welcomes New Initiative to Combat Licence Fraud

IWA  supports Canal & River Trust’s new mooring validation scheme which should help combat licence fraud.

Canal & River Trust has announced that it will be working with mooring operators to confirm that the records they hold for where boats are moored is correct. This will ensure the Trust is monitoring boats against the correct terms and conditions, and will give mooring operators the confidence that their sites aren’t being used fraudulently.

The roll-out follows a pilot involving twelve mooring operators, with the help of the Association of Waterway Cruising Clubs and British Marine. Following a routine check of the site, the Trust provided the operators with two lists of information to check, comprising boats recorded as having a mooring at the site but not seen, and boats seen moored at the site but not being recorded as having a mooring there. The operators reviewed the lists, following which the boats’ records were updated and, where necessary, boaters were contacted to get an update on the home mooring status for their boats.

The Trust will now ask mooring operators if they would like to sign up to the scheme, which at this stage will run on an opt-in basis. Mooring operators that wish to be involved should contact the Trust via customer services on 030 3040 4040 or the ‘contact us’ page of the charity’s website.

IWA Outlines Response to CRT's Online Mooring Policy Consultation

IWA generally welcomes Canal & River Trust’s proposed revisions to their online mooring policy but will be submitting a response to the consultation highlighting areas where IWA’s agreed policy differs from the proposed changes.

One significant change is that the revised online mooring policy will remove the automatic reduction of online mooring (previously 1 mooring was removed for every 10 new berths created) when new offline mooring provision is created. CRT states that the removal of the online mooring reduction is to ensure there remains a fair choice of both online and offline moorings for boating customers.  IWA considers that this should be considered on a local basis, and that in some parts of the country the need for a reduction of online moorings continues to apply, at a greater proportion than 1:10.

IWA welcomes the fact that the revised online mooring policy does not support large scale development of new online moorings and the criteria against which all new online mooring proposals must be considered to ensure they are only created in appropriate places.  IWA does, however, support the creation of new affordable offline moorings, which should include  residential moorings wherever possible.

Readers of Bulletin are encouraged to respond to CRT’s consultation by the closing date of 21st December.     

IWA’s policy on moorings can be found here...

IWA's Thoughts on EA’s Charges Consultation

The Environment Agency is consulting on proposals for how it will charge for its activities from April 2018.  The proposals, which will only apply in England, include charges for consents and permissions relating to environmental regulations, marine licences, waste, water discharges and flood risk.  It also includes proposals for longer term changes to the way EA will charge for navigation boat registrations as well as changes to charges for abstraction licensing amendments.

The consultation can be found on the gov.uk website.

The most relevant part of the consultation from a navigation perspective is Section 7.2, where consultees are asked what factors should determine how boat registration charges are calculated and what should be included within a revised boat registration charges scheme.  The consultation also asks consultees to rate certain elements of service - channel dredging, tree and vegetation clearance, assisted passage, routine patrolling by staff on patrol launches, compliance and enforcement checks and provision of facilities.  IWA’s response will be consistent with current IWA policy and with recent submissions on relevant aspects of other navigation authorities’ licensing consultations.

The proposed changes may also affect restoration schemes, and IWA’s response will put forward arguments for limiting any increase in cost or scope of charges as being an unreasonable burden on the voluntary sector.

The consultation runs until 12th January.  Anyone who has any comments on the consultation which they would like to incorporated into IWA’s overall response is invited to send them to Alison Smedley, Campaigns Officer (firstname.lastname@waterways.org.uk).

Tell Us How You Use IWA's Website

We are trying to work out how to improve IWA’s website and make it as accessible and useful as possible.  In the first instance we would be very grateful if you could complete this short survey to tell us more about how you use the site.  Armed with this information we hope to understand better what improvements could be made and identify what developments you might hope to see in future.
Complete our website survey now

Buy an IWA raffle ticket and you could win £1000

Buy an IWA raffle ticket and you will be supporting IWA's Restoration Hub.  The Hub provides a range of expertise, advice and general practical hands-on help to restoration societies across the country.  Our aim is to bring as many waterways as possible back in to water and in 2018 the Hub aims to support projects (amongst several) that will deliver a further 1km of water. 

Buy a ticket and you could win....

  • 1st Prize - £1,000 Cash

There are many more prizes available.

Buy a ticket now and help support IWA's restoration work. 

IWA Branch News

IWA West Country Branch


The Branch team worked alongside Taunton Deane’s Direct Labour Organisation and local Maidenbrook residents to transform neglected and unkempt sections of drainage ditch stretching from the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal up to and including the pond on Waterleaze.  All in all, an outstanding example of what can be achieved by organising and pooling resources.  The workforce was coordinated by Cheddon Fitzpaine’s Parish Clerk, Jo Pearson, to encourage residents to take the project forward themselves.  IWA volunteers, led by team leader Steve Bulgin, went on to build ‘dry hedges’ as an environmentally-friendly way of recycling the bulk of branches and hard vegetation removed during the clean-up.

West_country_maidenbrook_workparty_teamphotoPhoto: Parish Clerk Jo Pearson pictured front row, second from right, next to IWA West Country Branch Co-Ordinator, Mike Slade. 

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

Environment Agency Announces £1.4m Anglian Waterways Investment

Environment Agency has announced they will be spending £1.4m on the waterways in their Anglian Region this winter.  As well as eight lock refurbishments, work will be carried out to lock landing stages and much-needed de-shoaling work will be carried out, two issues which IWA has been campaigning about in recent years.   

The capital investment programme will include repairs and upgrades across the Anglian Region’s 353-mile network and should ensure the structures remain in good working order for years to come.

The work covers locks at Wadenhoe, Woodford, Titchmarsh, Orton, Cotterstock, and Ashton on the River Nene, and Eaton Socon and Brandon on the River Great Ouse and Little Ouse respectively.  These are among the busiest locks on the Anglian Waterways network, with EA stating that they see around 7,000 boaters and an estimated 1.1m other visitors every year.

The locks will have to close during the work to be drained of water and allow full access to the chambers and the gates.  Work started in November and continues throughout the winter months, and should be completed by the spring.  Boaters can sign up for email updates about closures by visiting gov.uk and searching for ‘Anglian Waterways river closures’, or calling the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506 and asking for Anglian Waterways.

The investment programme will also include de-shoaling work on the rivers Great Ouse and Nene.  This will remove underwater gravel that builds up naturally and can hamper navigation.  

Also included are investigations into improving the Nene’s landing stages, where boaters can disembark, and upgrading control panels at the locks to the same model, making them consistent and easier to use and maintain across the region.

Chris Howes, IWA's Eastern Region Chairman observed “Brilliant news that EA is investing in their East Anglian waters. And even better news that the works will be finished well ahead of next year’s IWA Festival of Water in St Neots. The Rivers Nene and Great Ouse are particularly lovely and I can thoroughly recommend their clear flowing waters as a refreshing change from the still brown waters of our canals. Well done EA!”

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. 

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