Following the Government's announcement that HS2 will now go ahead, we will continue our decade-long campaign to protect the waterways from the worst effects of its construction and operation.
We have achieved several changes to the project since 2010 but current plans mean noise impacts will affect many waterways and there will be damaging effects to some canal restoration schemes.
We celebrated a major victory in 2014 when we persuaded the Government to change the route of the Handsacre Link spur near Lichfield to avoid two crossings of the Trent & Mersey Canal which would have seriously damaged the environment, tranquillity and heritage of the canal around Woodend Lock above Fradley Junction.
Working in conjunction with Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, Lichfield Cruising Club and Canal & River Trust, we also secured assurances that HS2 will build a canal diversion and fund a replacement moorings basin at Cappers Lane in Lichfield when the bridge there is demolished for an HS2 viaduct.
Other changes we have campaigned for include lowering the height of the viaducts around Kings Bromley, additional noise fencing at Fradley and Great Haywood, and improvements to the design of the viaduct over the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal at Curdworth.
The Government's decision is to proceed with Phase 1 and Phase 2a of HS2, from London to Birmingham and via Fradley to Crewe, although it is not yet clear if this includes the Handsacre Link. The decision was based on the Oakervee Review report which clearly recommends removing this connection to the West Coast Mainline which would be costly to build and of limited use. Its route still passes close to the canal and the diversion of Wood End Lane there will be intrusive so we support its deletion from the project.
Read the full article on HS2.
Photo: (l-r) Michael Fabricant MP and Paul Rodgers, IWA National Chairman.
Michael Fabricant MP has been appointed the new Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways.
At the first meeting for the new Parliament on Tuesday 25th February in Westminster, the Group also agreed key topics that would be addressed over the coming months. This included areas that we have been lobbing MPs about such as the importance of protecting waterways heritage, how waterway restoration can act as a catalyst for much wider regeneration, and encouraging access to the waterways for sport and leisure use.
Michael Fabricant is well known for his support of the waterways in his Lichfield constituency, particularly the work of Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Trust, of which is he is a patron, and is a previous recipient of our Parliamentarian of the Year Award.
We provide the secretariat for the APPGW so that key issues affecting the waterways can be in on the agenda in government. Among the vice chairmen and officers of the Group are a number of newly elected MPs as well as some long standing waterway supporters, including: Lord German OBE, Simon Baynes MP (South Clwyd), John Cryer MP (Leyton), Bill Esterson MP (Sefton Central), Mark Garnier MP (Wyre Forest), Jason McCartney MP (Colne Valley), Craig Williams MP (Montgomeryshire) and Imran Ahmad-Khan MP (Wakefield).
Paul Rodgers, IWA National Chairman, said “IWA wholeheartedly welcomes Michael’s appointment as Chair of the APPGW. He fully understands the importance of the UK’s inland waterways and the ongoing need for adequate funding of the publicly owned waterways, and we look forward to working with him over the coming months and years.”
Michael Fabricant MP said “It is not just boaters who make use of our canals and inland waterways, it is also those who enjoy exercising along towpaths, those who enjoy the tranquillity of our waterways whether they be in the countryside or city, and it is the wildlife that our waterways so encourage. I am looking forward to chairing this influential All Party Group and highlighting both in Parliament and elsewhere the importance of waterways to the economy and environment of our nation.”
What do a sword, a coffin, a toilet and a set of goalposts all have in common? They're all things that have been pulled out of the murkier recesses of the Birmingham Canal Navigations waterways network on the annual clean up weekend. But it's not about the treasures found, it's about helping to keep these less well-used canals in a condition that encourages more people to boat on them. And that in turn helps to keep them clear and navigable. A different section of canal is tackled each year: this year it's the Walsall Canal from Walsall town basin to Ocker Hill.
The clean up is a joint effort by IWA local branches and Waterway Recovery Group volunteers, Birmingham Canal Navigations Society, Dudley Canal Trust, Coombeswood Canal Trust, Friends of Tipton Cut, Canal & River Trust and local residents.
Find out more and book your space for an overnight stay on the BCN Cleanup.
If would would like to come along for either one of the days please email Chris Morgan or call him on 07974 111 354.
This year, we are running two Family Camps through our Waterway Recovery Group. These weekends introduce a new generation to the world of waterway restoration and maintenance.
The first Camp takes place in August at the Royal Gunpowder Mills in the Lee Valley. Delve into the fascinating history of the Mills in Waltham Abbey between the 7th - 9th August. Families will camp on site and support work highlighting the area's amazing heritage and nature.
Photo: Royal Gunpowder Mills
The second Camp will get volunteers of all ages involved in woodwork, planting and installing new site furniture on the Wendover Arm Canal in Buckinghamshire from 23rd - 25th October 2020.
Find out more and book your place at on a Family Canal Camp.
The government's plans for the expansion of Heathrow have been ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal. The decision was made on the grounds that it doesn't fit with the UK's climate policy, but it's also a win for waterways in the area that would have been severely impacted.
IWA West London Branch campaigned against the third runway, because it would cause significant harm to the natural environment of local canals and rivers, impacting habitats and heritage, as well as reducing access to the waterways and their benefits for local people.
Some 13 miles of the Grand Union Canal and the Slough Arm would have been affected by the permanent loss of 900 acres of land in the southern part of the Colne Valley Regional Park, and a number of rivers would have been diverted under the new runway, risking spillages and pollution and threatening the ecology of the Thames
We have objected to an application to construct a Tidal Barrier on the River Parrett at Bridgwater, Somerset as it will impact navigation on the waterway.
A letter has been submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs setting out our objections to and representations on the application made by the Environment Agency for a Transport & Works Act Order.
Whilst we generally support the construction of the proposed Tidal Barrier and the long term benefits that should be secured for the residents and businesses of Bridgwater, more needs to be done to protect and maintain the existing right of navigation on the river. There is also an opportunity to enhance the river for navigation purposes above the barrier. We believe that the Tidal Barrier, as currently proposed by the Environment Agency, will have adverse implications for navigation over the long term, which is likely to be for at least 100 years and probably much longer.
Find our more at about our Bridgwater Barrier campaign.
Following a 10-month campaign by IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch, Canal & River Trust has agreed to extend the opening times of Frankton Locks for the summer of 2020 starting on 30th March 2020. The extension, from the current 12am-2pm daily opening to 9am-1pm daily, should improve boater access to the Montgomery Canal.
Particularly in view of the extensive restoration work on the Montgomery Canal to extend the limit of navigation for powered craft beyond Gronwen Wharf, we are keen to help more boats use the rural waterway. The current Montgomery Canal Conservation Strategy allows for 2,500 boat visitors a year onto the canal; however, it is thought that the actual number of visitors is only between 1,100 and 1,200 per annum.
Photo: Boat leaving Frankton locks by Alan Stopher.
Michael Haig, chairman of IWA Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch, said, "Canal & River Trust's agreement to double the opening hours at Frankton locks should make things considerably easier for boaters wishing to explore the tranquility of the Montgomery Canal, and perhaps more boaters will be encouraged to visit the IWA Silver Propeller Challenge destination at Gronwen Wharf."
"Additional advantages of the revised opening times are that boaters will not have to moor above or below the locks waiting for a noon opening, and the additional hours should spread water demand over a longer period, reducing the problems of low water at the top lock."
For the foreseeable future, the requirement for both advance bookings and for a minimum stay of one night with a maximum of 14 nights will remain in force. Boaters wishing to book passage through Frankton Locks should contact CRT no later than 10am on the day of passage. Boaters can do this via CRT's website or by calling 03030 404040.
Volunteers from IWA West Country Branch recently moved an historic chain together with an anchor from the base of the heritage crane at Bridgwater Docks, as part of the preparatory work for painting the crane later this year.
The chain is believed to be the chain used by the Scraper Dredger (known in her later days as Bertha), which was used in the Docks from 1841 to the late 1960s to stir up the silt in the inner basin. Canal water was then used to flush the silt through to the outer (or tidal) basin prior to it being sluiced into the River Parrett. Bertha spent some of her retirement at the Exeter Maritime Museum and then at the Eyemouth Maritime Museum; she is now in the South West although regrettably not available for public viewing.
Photo by Margaret Beardsmore
IWA Lichfield Branch has spent much of the winter clearing offside vegetation from the Coventry Canal, but their focus has now shifted to Brindley Bank Aqueduct area of the Trent & Mersey Canal in Rugeley.
Volunteers spent a February morning clearing the area of litter, overhanging vegetation, leaves and strimming the site. They also dismantled a section of failed wooden fencing.
Rubbish removed included a small, intact safe which was delivered to the police.
Buy online and raise money for IWA at no cost to you. It is so easy to do your shopping with thousands of partner sites 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 £1500 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.
Many of the offers below can be claimed simply by using your IWA membership card. For others, log in or phone the membership team on 01494 783453 for details.
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 10% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard
River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
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
We have been looking at ways to provide more benefits to the waterways and everyone who uses them, and have extended our insurance offer to help you find the best available cover for your boat, your home and your car. Every policy purchased or renewed helps IWA, allowing us to further our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance schemes for boaters
Take part in the mystery photo challenge and submit your answer here.
See the answer and those that guessed correctly for the previous mystery challenge!