IWA Bulletin - 8th March 2018

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Following publication of the outcome of Canal & River Trust’s licence review consultation on 6th March, The Inland Waterways Association regrets that Canal & River Trust has failed to take the opportunity to produce a modern licensing system that addresses the problems it inherited on its creation in 2012. 

IWA sees this as a missed opportunity to solve some of the issues caused by the current licensing system, and in particular the effect of the continuous cruising option introduced by the British Waterways Act 1995 as an alternative to having a home mooring.  After spending a significant amount of resource on a major review and consultation, it is disappointing that so little has come of it. 

The review does nothing to address two of IWA’s key concerns; the increasing use of widebeam boats on inappropriate waterways to the detriment of other waterways users,  and ensuring that boaters without a home mooring cruise an appropriate distance. IWA will continue campaigning for these concerns to be resolved.

In response to the detail contained in Canal & River Trust proposals: 

  • IWA is concerned that many boaters will face a significant increase in their licence fees within 2 years as a result of the changes to the prompt payment discount
  • IWA considers that a licence based on boat area (length x beam) would have been a fairer and simpler system rather than the proposed three width bands
  • IWA notes the loss of the 1 day visitor licence and considers that it should continue to be available online to encourage compliance by occasional users, eg of canoes and trailable boats, and to encourage more people to get afloat affordably.


hs2_phase2aPhoto: Artists impression of HS2 viaduct by Great Heywood Marina.  Image courtesy HS2

The Inland Waterways Association has submitted its latest petition to Government concerning the effects of HS2 on the waterways. 

The High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Hybrid Bill was given its second reading on 30th January, triggering a petitioning period to 26th February.  IWA’s petition concentrates on the main outstanding issue affecting waterways users; the impact of noise where the railway crosses or runs close to waterways and the inadequacy of the noise mitigation measures proposed so far.

In 2014, IWA's petition against the canal crossings at Woodend, Fradley, led to the route of the Handsacre Link being altered as requested.  Other issues raised in this petition, along with additional matters in IWA’s 2015 petition, were heard by the Commons Select Committee in 2016 and some of these were subsequently resolved.  Two outstanding matters were then raised in IWA’s 2016 petition to the Lords Select Committee.  The realignment of Wood End Lane is still not resolved but is subject to assurances which may yet lead to a resolution, and the other outstanding issue is noise mitigation.

Most canal boats are used residentially for varying periods of time, both when moving and when moored, and on most sections of canal mooring is allowed for up to 14 days.  Excessive noise from HS2 could render whole sections of canal ‘no-go’ areas for mooring and have a negative impact on the many users of the canal towpath.  However, HS2 continues to regard all canal users as transient and not worthy of consideration for noise mitigation, except for a limited number of permanent residential moorings.

HS2 will provide noise mitigation measures, such as noise fencing and earth bunding, only for what they consider to be permanently occupied residential sites.  Thus a marina or a popular mooring area along the canal which is used by a succession of boats, each being used residentially for varying periods, is dismissed on the grounds that it is not the same people all the time.  IWA’s view is that occupied boats, whether on recognised residential moorings, on permanent moorings, or on visitor or casual moorings should all be treated as residential, and therefore similar to residential buildings for the purposes of noise mitigation.  Providing adequate noise protection for all areas where boats may at present moor up in the vicinity of HS2 would automatically also provide protection for towpath users and help maintain public use and enjoyment of the waterways.

The additional cost of providing adequate protection would be small.  On Phase 2A some noise fencing is proposed at and north of Fradley Junction and at Great Haywood, but it has not so far been designed to provide sufficient protection for canal users and needs to be extended and raised in height.

IWA is asking HS2 to recognise all canal boats as residential and all canals as residential locations, with the provision of appropriate noise mitigation at all canal interfaces in Phase 2A, and also in previous and future phases.

See the full text of IWA’s Petition on Phase 2a


wendy_morton_mp_parliamentarian_of_the_yearPhoto: Wendy Morton MP receives her award from Ivor Caplan, Chairman IWA

IWA has acknowledged support for the inland waterways by a West Midlands MP at its 2018 Parliamentary Dinner.  Wendy Morton, MP for Aldridge-Brownhills, was presented with our Parliamentarian of the Year Award at the evening event, which took place at the House of Commons on Tuesday 6th March. 

Presenting the award, IWA National Chairman Ivor Caplan said “Wendy has been a great supporter of the inland waterways over a number of years, not least when IWA held its Festival of Water at Pelsall, in her constituency, in 2016, and more recently in her support for the Middle Level Bill when it returned to the Commons in October 2017.”

The dinner was hosted by John Grogan MP, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways and included MPs and peers as well as representatives of several navigation authorities and other national organisations.  Those present heard Ivor Caplan call for increased funding for the publicly funded navigation authorities, and he reminded MPs and peers of the importance of navigable waterways to the health and wellbeing of the UK population and the contribution they make to the UK economy through regeneration, tourism and leisure.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, also addressed the gathering, saying:  “The Environment Agency manages over 2,500 assets which include locks, weirs, laybys and bridges for the benefit of 26,000 boat users over 1000km of inland waterways. These are an intrinsic part of the landscape but there are challenges ahead. We need to look at new ways of raising revenue. Our aim is to create a 5 year charging plan and a charging scheme that is fit for the future. The Inland Waterways Association is a vital champion of safe and sustainable navigations, so partnership working will help ensure waterways continue to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone.”


middle_level_pophams_eauPhoto: Middle Level, Popham's Eau

The Middle Level Bill has now been passed by the House of Commons and has gone to the House of Lords for the next stage of the parliamentary process.

The Middle Level Commissioners (MLC) are the navigation authority for the Middle Level river system, which comprises 100 miles of navigable waterways in Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough City Council) and Norfolk. The Middle Level Bill, a Private Members Bill, would bring MLC into line with other navigation authorities by enabling better waterway management powers and increased provision of facilities and moorings in connection with their navigation function.
A motion to revive the Middle Level Bill in this session of Parliament was approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords in October 2017.   It was then passed, subject to a number of amendments, by the Opposed Bill Committee who met from 15th to 17th January.  Chris Howes, IWA Eastern Region Chairman, represented IWA at the Committee on behalf of the Middle Level Commissioners, as a witness to speak in support of the Bill.

The Bill received its third reading in the House of Commons on 28th February and had its first reading in the House of Lords the following day.  The petitioning period in the Lords runs until 12th March and that will be followed by a second hearing, with possibly an opposed Bill Committee stage after that.  Royal Assent is expected by Christmas.

IWA welcomes the positive progress of the Bill through Parliament, as it will 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.
The Bill would enable MLC to generate income specifically for boating and the provision of more moorings and better facilities.  It would also enable the removal of sunken, stranded and abandoned vessels and it would enable requirement of vessels using the Commissioners’ waterways to hold insurance and to comply with the Boat Safety Scheme, which is currently not the case.

IWA supports the Commissioners’ proposal to set up a formal Navigation Advisory Committee to advise the Commissioners on the exercise of their navigation functions, and welcomes their commitment to achieve at least IWA's published minimum standards for the provision of boaters’ facilities.


Following a productive meeting with Environment Agency senior management on 19th February, IWA looks forward to renewed partnership working and positive benefits for all waterway users on EA’s river navigations.  The meeting took place at the request of IWA, and saw IWA’s Chief Executive, Neil Edwards, and Chairman, Ivor Caplan, meet EA Chair Emma Howard Boyd and Cheif Executive, Sir James Bevan.

emma_howard_boyd_chairman_eaPhoto: Emma Howard Boyd, Environment Agency Chair addresses MPs and Lords at IWA's Parliamentarian of the Year Award event

The meeting discussed general principles of mutual support and co-operation and EA made it clear that IWA was viewed as a supportive partner.  There is much potential for greater volunteer involvement in EA waterways, both on the ground (through work parties and other activities) and in working with a wide range of partners to achieve common objectives.  This could include improved funding sources, better enablement of user enjoyment and wider community benefits. 

IWA’s concern about water abstraction licences and flood defence consents, and their impact on restoration projects, was raised, and it is hoped that accommodations can be reached to mitigate some of their potential adverse effects. 

Sir James Bevan is a regular boater, understands and supports navigation interests, and accepts that a transfer of EA’s navigations to CRT is the right way forward in the longer term, but advised that Government’s distraction with Brexit and lack of willingness to commit the necessary funding has frustrated this for the moment.

Sir James recognised that there will be difficult time ahead regarding funding for all navigations and he valued any support that IWA can give.  As well as practical support through volunteering Sir James recognised the high profile that IWA has in Parliament and the ways in which IWA can promote the benefits of all waterways to national and local politicians. 

The meeting will be followed up with a meeting between EA’s Navigation management team and IWA where more specific waterway issues will be discussed.


broken_water_tap_monmouthshire_canalPhoto: Broken water tap at Cwmbran on the Monmouthshire Canal
Concerned at increasing reports of short term or permanent closure of boaters’ facilities, IWA has launched a new policy document outlining IWA’s view on the minimum standards of facilities provided by navigation authorities.

Whilst IWA appreciates that all navigation authorities are looking at reducing their costs, the provision of the most basic facilities is a necessity for all boaters.  Water points and rubbish and sewage disposal at appropriate distances are required to avoid environmental issues and hardship for boaters, whether they be holiday-makers on private or hire boats, or people living afloat.

In addition to the new policy document, IWA’s existing briefing note on the same subject has been updated.  Included in the new version are a number of suggestions contributed by readers of IWA’s Waterways magazine, following the recent article about facilities and the appeal for reports of where facilities are missing, broken or inadequate.

So that IWA can obtain an even fuller picture of the issues across the whole country, readers of Bulletin are invited to send in reports about where there are current gaps in provision between waterway areas or navigation authorities, where previous facilities have been taken out of use and not replaced, where broken equipment has not been repaired, or any other issues concerning boaters’ facilities which you feel may be relevant.

Please send any reports to IWA Campaigns Officer, Alison Smedley, by emailing alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk


Following on from the closure announced in the last Bulletin of the Forth & Clyde Canal due to Scottish Canals being unable to repair two electrically operated lift bridges, IWA has written to Glasgow City Council objecting to a planning application by Scottish Canals which includes a proposal for a new electrically operated moveable bridge across the Glasgow Arm of the Forth & Clyde Canal.

The planning application, for the proposed regeneration of Firhill Basin and the adjacent length of the Glasgow Arm on the Forth & Clyde Canal, also includes environmental works for green and water activity infrastructure (with associated signage, furniture and artwork), activity and meeting space, 26 residential moorings, 12 floating pontoons, and 75 electricity hook-up points for temporary moorings.

While IWA supports in general the provision of the residential moorings, floating pontoons and temporary moorings, IWA has objected to one aspect of the planning application – the proposed design of 3 pedestrian bridge crossings. 

An electrically powered retractable bridge, which would be operated on request at certain times of the day, has been proposed for the new crossing of the Glasgow Arm.  IWA has suggested that if a moveable bridge is necessary, it should be of a much simpler manually operated design and should be capable of user operation 24 hours a day, in order to allow access by all boats to the rest of the branch canal at all times.

Two bridges over the entrances to Firhill Basin are also proposed.  IWA has objected to the proposed 1.8 metre headroom under the proposed fixed bridge, and has requested that the proposed bascule bridge should be capable of user operation 24 hours a day.

IWA has also raised concerns over the proposal for 75 linear temporary moorings along the Glasgow Arm, each with electric hook up, which seems an excessive number of moorings for the amount of boats likely to visit the area.  IWA has suggested that electric hook up is not required for all of the moorings, and that Scottish Canals should incorporate a range of permitted durations of stay within the overall length of moorings, available at no charge, with a smaller number of moorings having electric hook up available. IWA has also requested the provision of other facilities for visiting boats including refuse, recycling and sewage disposal, and water points.

IWA has asked Glasgow City Council to place conditions on the above planning application in line with IWA’s suggestions in order to ensure the continued success of Glasgow as a destination for the many boaters, including many tourists on hired holiday boats, who wish to visit the city and the Glasgow Arm as part of their journey along the Forth & Clyde Canal.


wrg_camps_brochure_front_coverPhoto: Happy WRGies on Canal Camp.  Why not join in this Easter?

This Easter WRG is heading north to the Montgomery Canal to repair a leaking section of the recently restored canal.  Volunteers will remove the existing waterproof liner and wall before pouring new foundations and then start rebuilding work. With the help of volunteers, this canal is expected be extended by another 1¼ miles by 2020 as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

On the Lancaster Canal work is focused on relining the ‘first furlong’ - a 220 metre stretch near Stainton.  Once repairs are completed, the section will be re-watered and reconnected to a part of the canal that the Trust uses for its trip boats. Volunteers will also be involved in vegetation clearance work around Hincaster Tunnel removing brambles and small trees. 

  • Montgomery Canal Camp: 31st March – 7th April 2018
  • Lancaster Canal Camp: 31st March – 7th April and 7th April – 14th April 2018

Find out more about our Easter Canal Camps or to book on call 01494 783 453 ext 611.


bcn2017_cleanup_tim_lewis_460Photo: Volunteers on the BCN Clean-up 2017

In 2017 more than 60 volunteers spent two days removing an estimated 20 tonnes of rubbish from the Wyrley & Essington Canal.  Lots of interesting ‘treasures’ were pulled out of the canal including bikes, an electric guitar, a gas barbecue, a mountain of tyres … and of course lots and lots of shopping trolleys!

So this year we are returning to the Wyrley & Essington Canal to support volunteers from all over the country including: Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, Dudley Canal Trust, Coombeswood Canal Trust, Canal & River Trust, Friends of Tipton Cut and local residents.

It is hoped this annual effort on the BCN will help keep the less well used parts of the BCN & Black Country Network from getting choked up with rubbish and becoming impassable for boats!

Join in the 2018 BCN clean up fun: 24th and 25th March 2018.  Reserve your space here.


Every year WRG runs a Leaders & Assistants Training Day for volunteers running Canal Camps and for people interested in finding out what is actually involved and are maybe considering giving it a go. 

This year the training day is on Saturday 12th May at Rowington Village Hall, Warwickshire.  The format is very relaxed and inclusive and the day starts at 10am with bacon or veggie sausage sarnies and finishes around 4.30pm.  Dinner will be provided for those who want to stay on overnight – accommodation will be in the hall and breakfast the next day will also be available.

The training is free so to book on please click here or contact WRG admin on 01494 783453 (ext 604). Remember to let us know if you are planning to stay overnight and if you have any special dietary requirements.


IWA is looking for a volunteer to help us create a googlemap to support our recently launched Silver Propeller Challenge.  This role will suit somebody who would prefer working from home and will involve:

  • pinpointing Challenge locations on a googlemap
  • identifying car parks / street parking that would be suitable for canoeists completing the Challenge
  • stating whether the Challenge locations are part of a British Canoeing trail
  • Liaising with local IWA branches to source relevant information
  • identifying slipways for trailboaters or entry points to the water for canoeists as well as portage points etc

If this volunteer role sounds like the one for you or you would like more information please contact Gemma Bolton on 01494 783453 or email gemma.bolton@waterways.org.uk.


chelmer_blackwater_victoria_460Photo: Essex Waterways tripboat Victoria on the beautiful Chelmer & Blackwater

This new role presents a unique opportunity to work for Essex Waterways, which manages and maintains the beautiful Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.
IWA's Essex Waterways is looking for a part time Administrative Assistant based in Chelmsford to support the Navigation Manager in maintaining administrative procedures and systems. 

For more information about the role, or to apply, please click here.

Application closing date is 27th March 2018. 


Sleaford Navigation Trust has secured funding for their “Destination South Kyme” project from the EU’s Kestevens LEADER Fund.  Due to the way in which the monies are released IWA is helping with cash flow logistics by lending the Trust the cash needed to do the work until they can claim the costs back. 

The project will see the creation of two landing stages in the village of South Kyme to encourage temporary mooring by visiting boats. Both will be accessible to narrow boats and smaller cruisers with one at a lower height to facilitate canoe access.


Are you a waterways artist and if so, would you like to see your work on an IWA Christmas card this coming christmas?

Every year we choose five or six works of art and turn them into cards that are then sold to members and help us raise much-needed funds for the Association.

If you think you might have a suitable, wintery, waterways scene and you would be happy to offer it to us for reproduction as a card we would love to hear from you.  In return we would be delighted to send you 200 of the cards.  Your details would be printed on the back of every card produced with your image.

Please contact stephanie.pay@waterways.org.uk

IWA Branch News

IWA Manchester Branch - Ashton Canal

Members of the branch have been told that in bygone years the offside at Lock 6 had been a mass of bluebells and the branch are now hoping to re-create this. Originally the plan had been to use the tyre planters but instead bulbs were planted straight in to the ground. 
Litter picks both upstream and down produced the usual haul and it was noted that the bywash-retrieved rubbish created by contractors nearby was once again spoiling the efforts of volunteers.

IWA Northampton Branch - Big Winter Litter Pick

On Thursday 22nd February a group of volunteers organised by IWA Northampton Branch carried out a large winter litter pick on the riverfront in Northampton.  Starting from the path adjacent to Southbridge and continuing along the front of the Carlsberg brewery onto the Westbridge Arm of the river and ending just past the back of the B&Q store, the group collected over a 100 bags of rubbish, 10 shopping trolleys and other general rubbish.

IWA’s Mick Butler and Nick Cook from Network Rail, who attended along with 5 other volunteers from the company, agreed the event was “a good example of a group of volunteers coming together and achieving a tremendous amount of work for the benefit of Northampton”.

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.

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 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 - 20% Discount on ICEtrekkers Diamond Grip
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