IWA Bulletin - January 2020

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Clean Air Strategy: Response

We have responded to the Department for Transport's call for evidence on air pollutant emissions from domestic vessels and inland waterways.  The Government is seeking to understand more clearly the extent of emissions from vessels that do not currently fall within the scope of environmental regulations and to establish if government can do more to address emission issues.

Our response includes our updated environmental guidance for boaters with specific information relating to London, legislation, propulsion, electricity generation, stoves and water pollution.

To read our full response: Air Pollutant Emissions from Domestic Vessels and Inland Waterways - A Call for Evidence (pdf, 634kb)

Feedback on our response so far has been positive “IWA’s response to the government was balanced and mindful of the limitations of current infrastructure and the likely cost of switching to other sources of heat and propulsion.”  To join the conversation about our Clean air strategy response, take a look at the discussion on Facebook.

IWA Briefs MPs on the Issues Facing our National Waterways Today

More than 65% of constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales are home to a navigable waterway or restoration project and around 25% of them elected a new MP in the most recent general election.   We are asking these MPs to take up issues affecting the inland waterways in our new Parliamentary Briefing “The Future of the Inland Waterways” launched at a recent gathering at the Houses of Parliament. Sixty people attended, with addresses from both Lord German, a long-term supporter of the waterways and Paul Rodgers, IWA’s new Chairman.  

Among the issues raised in the briefing is the ongoing need for adequate funding of the publicly owned waterways operated by Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency; research into how the waterways can be more sustainable and could help contribute to the Government’s goal of the UK becoming carbon neutral by 2050; the need for affordable residential moorings; the importance of protecting our waterways heritage; and how waterways restoration can act as a catalyst for a much wider regeneration of the surrounding area.  

MPs attending the reception were encouraged to join the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, which will now be reconstituted after the election.  The briefing document will be sent to all MPs with a waterway in their constituency, over 400 in total.  We will ask for support for the issues we have raised both in parliament and through their work in the constituency.

See a list of MPs with a waterway in their constituency.  

Training the Future Leaders of the Restoration Sector

Our 2020 Canal Camp programme was launched in December and this year will visit fewer waterway restoration project sites but spend longer in each location with the aim of making a significant impact. This new approach will enable our Waterway Recovery Group to focus on its volunteers and help train them in the more in-depth skills needed to help support the restoration sector. In addition, these skills will help improve volunteers’ opportunities within the wider job market.  

Some volunteers wish to progress to take on more responsibility and so we have developed a new leadership programme where we will invest in 15 volunteers who will each receive over £1000 worth of training and development across 2020 & 2021. The volunteers on this programme will then become WRG Camp Leaders or Assistants on future Canal Camps. Applications for the leadership programme are now being welcomed.

Commenting on this new Leadership Programme, Mike Palmer, Chairman, Waterway Recovery Groups says, “WRG has been hearing from many canal restorations that there is an imminent skills gap on the horizon and that we need to harness the knowledge of our highly skilled volunteers and pass this on to the next generation. We are in the ideal position to help with this and are focusing on upskilling our volunteers so that they can carry out the more technical and skilled areas of a restoration project.  

“We are hoping that by providing additional training, our volunteers will not only be able to take a lead on our future Canal Camps but that they will stand out from the crowd if they are looking for work.”    

IWA Chief Executive Announces Retirement

Neil Edwards IWA Chief Executive

IWA’s Chief Executive, Neil Edwards, has announced his retirement following a career spanning more than 24 years with the Association.  He will step down in the summer.   

Credited with the creation of Canal Camps, Waterway Recovery Group’s week-long working holiday format, Neil has spent many years supporting the charity both as a volunteer and as a member of staff.  Since Neil began working for the charity nearly 25 years ago, over 210 miles of waterway have been re-opened.

Neil will work closely with IWA’s new Chairman Paul Rodgers on the appointment of a successor, with the plan to have a period of handover.  Paul reflects that “..under Neil’s leadership IWA has developed an established reputation as champion and advocate of the restoration movement....When he retires he will be leaving the Association in an excellent position to further support the regeneration of our waterways and meet the challenges of the future.”

Read more about the retirement announcement of IWA's Chief Executive.

Looking Forward to the Festival Season

Planning is well underway for our three national festivals and there are still spaces available to book your boat.  If you are considering a visit to Worcester to attend IWA’s Festival of Water then you can also book a pitch for your tent, motorhome or caravan.

IWA Canalway Cavalcade

2nd – 3rd May 2020

London’s biggest waterside festival comes to Little Venice every year and attracts a large audience of Londoners and tourists who enjoy the beautiful sight of over 100 boats lining Brownings Pool.  There are craft stalls, delicious food counters and lots of entertainment and music. Reserve your mooring for IWA Canalway Cavalcade.

IWA Trailboat Festival

23rd – 25th May 2020

Our Waterway Recovery Group teams have been very involved in the restoration of the Wey & Arun Canal and specifically Compasses Bridge which was opened last year and is very close to the site of the 2020 Festival.  Find out more about our IWA Trailboat Festival.

Ware Boat Festival

3rd – 5th July 2020

Each year IWA Lee & Stort Branch organise the water-based festivities alongside Ware’s annual festival.  It’s a great opportunity for boaters in the area to meet up. Find out more about Ware Boat Festival.

Anderton Boat Gathering 

22nd - 23rd August 2020

Following the success of IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch’s restoration showcase in September 2019, the branch has decided to grow the event into a showcase and boat rally next to the iconic Anderton Lift.  There are 50 moorings available at the event over the weekend.  Bookings will be available soon.  Find out more about Anderton Boat Gathering.

IWA Festival of Water, Worcester

29th – 31st August 2020

Each year our Festival visits a new location and where better to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Rolt & Aickman’s first meeting than in Worcester? Worcester City Council is keen to bring more focus to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal as locally people associate the town with the River Severn.  Perdiswell Park is close to the centre of Worcester and is a huge open space with the canal running alongside.   

The Festival offers the usual array of music, crafts, real ale, children’s entertainment and delicious food as well as boat trips, angling opportunities and canoeing. Book your boat or reserve a campsite pitch for IWA Festival of Water

Village at War, Stoke Bruerne 

12th - 13th September 2020

Join IWA Northampton Branch for a mini boat gathering for 2020 at Stoke Bruerne to coincide with the Village at War weekend. Visit IWA Northampton Branch pages to find out more.

Photography Competition Open for 2020

Photography Competition Montage

Our 2020 photography competition is now open for entries and this year photographers have four categories to choose between for their submissions:

  • Heritage & restoration
  • Waterscape
  • Built environment
  • Active waterways

Photography received in this way allows us to improve the effectiveness of what we do and ensures that as much of our income as possible is used to protect and restore our waterways rather than for the purchase or rental of imagery. Good photographs really bring our communications materials to life and increase support for the waterways overall.

Find out more and enter our photography competition. The deadline for entries is 31st July 2020.

Christmas in the Cotswolds

23 volunteers from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group spent seven days over the Christmas period helping to restore the picturesque Cotswold canals. The group cleared trees and other vegetation from the canal bank and removed debris from the water. The canal restoration at Brimscombe Port is part of a wider £35 million regeneration of the Cotswold canals. Once completed, this final part of the restoration will connect the Cotswold canals to the main UK network.

1970s Obelisks Uncovered on the Stockport Canal

Waterway Recovery Group’s Regional Group – WRG North West helped the Manchester & Stockport Canal Society to clear a heavily overgrown section of the Stockport Branch, near the junction with the Ashton Canal at Clayton.  

The brush bash uncovered a long-neglected garden, complete with ornamental obelisks, which was established in the 1970s following the infilling of the Canal.  

Photos by Roger Bravey.

Northampton Work Party

29 volunteers clocked up 137.5 hours improving the Northampton Arm on a sunny Tuesday in January.  

Lots of work was carried out between Lock 14 and 16 including clearing a by-pass channel and weir, vegetation clearance, and sprucing up the planters at locks 15 and 16.  About 20 bags of rubbish were cleared from the area including a shopping trolley.  

Visit IWA Northampton Branch webpages for details of future events.


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.

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount on holidays
Canal Boat Magazine - 5 issues for £5.00
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises in Manchester
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount on adult beginner 'Stand Up & Paddle' lessons
Jenny Wren- 10% discount off cruises
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices

Eating Out

To take advantage of eating out offers you just need to produce a valid IWA membership card.

The Bounty Pub - 10% discount on food
Kings Lock Tearooms
- 10% discount on food
The Clifford Arms Pub - 10% discount on food
The Three Locks Pub - 10% discount on food

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 10% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - 20% discount on ICETrekkers Diamond Grip
Kings Lock Chandlery - 5% discount (exclusions apply)
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro - 5% discount
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard


Forge Studio - 10% discount
Harbour Clean - 10% 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 1 day RYA SRC VHF Licence Course

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

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