IWA Bulletin

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Spot the Plot - Himalayan Balsam 

While you are out walking the towpath or boating this summer, please keep an eye out for any areas of Himalayan balsam along the banks. Following on from our Pull Snap Stomp campaign, which encouraged people to pull up the invasive plant, Himalayan balsam, we have now launched our end of season Spot the Plot initiative.  

The plant will have gone to seed in many places, which means it’s too late to pull. After the plant starts to flower, seed pods develop on the plant and pulling the plant could see the seeds dispersed even further.

Photo: Himalayan balsam flowers and seedpods.

You might not be able to stop and pull up any of these invasive plants, but it would still be really helpful for us to know where the Himalayan balsam is growing so we can target specific areas for next year’s campaign. 

The eradication of Himalayan balsam is particularly important alongside canals, river navigation and feeder streams, as colonisation by the plant leads to substantial bank erosion, silting up of waterways and increased dredging costs.  Summer clearance work is a good example of a low-cost prevention saving massive remediation costs in dredging and bank stabilisation at a later date.  And it is something that everyone can easily help out with. 

Himalayan balsam grows to approximately 3 metres in height, it has a pinky-red hollow stem, shiny green lance-shaped leaves and slipper-shaped flowers that range in colour from white to purple-pink. The flowers are in bloom from mid-June until late-July, so this is the best time to spot them. 

Keep your eyes peeled and email us if you see any: nicola.kiely@waterways.org.uk. We will then map all the sightings. Thank you in advance for your help.

HMRC Announces Consultation on Demise of Red Diesel for Private Leisure Craft

We are appealing to boaters and boatyard operators to respond to a consultation following the announcement that private pleasure craft in the UK will be unable to use red diesel.  The Spring Budget stated that HMRC would seek evidence on the impact of complying with the judgment made by the European Court of Justice.  The HMRC consultation is about the timescales required to implement the change.

At our meeting with HMRC officials late last year, we made the case that a change to using white diesel would create insurmountable problems for boat users and the industry. We gave evidence alongside British Marine, the Cruising Association, and the Royal Yachting Association.
The implementation of the ruling will mean the end of the use of red diesel for any leisure boating.  Whilst red diesel could continue to be used for heating, it would have to be in a separate tank, and there would be no dispensation for any proportion of fuel used by the engine for generating heat and light.  Commercially operated boats would still be able to use red diesel, as would residential boaters with proof of fixed moorings, but boats without a home mooring who are continuously cruising would be required to use white diesel.  

It is not practical for most boats that use the inland waterways to have two tanks; inappropriate modifications would raise safety concerns; and many diesel suppliers would simply not supply both red and white diesel due to the costs of installing additional equipment.  We are particularly concerned that this change may encourage people to take measures that could adversely impact the environment and safety, such as increased use of generators in confined spaces or spillages from containers of fuel purchased away from the waterways.  We are also concerned that the increased costs faced by both boat owners and boatyard operators will make an already expensive pastime unaffordable to some existing boaters and to many potential new boaters.  

We will be taking up the offer from HMRC for further meetings during the consultation, and encourage all boating organisations, boatyards, diesel suppliers, and boat owners to respond to the consultation and provide evidence of the practical implications of the proposals.  

The consultation runs until 9th September and can be found on the Government website

More background information can be found in IWA’s Briefing Note on Red Diesel.

GapTracker Survey of Basic Facilities Continues 

Following a number of new reports about boaters’ facilities being taken out of use in recent weeks, we encourage all boaters to log any issues relating to boaters’ facilities on IWA’s Gaptracker.  

Whilst the findings from last year’s GapTracker survey were shared with navigation authorities, we are keen to push navigation authorities to act where there are gaps in sufficient basic facilities. Canal & River Trust has already said that they will use the findings to support their own review of facilities.

Please report all issues to do with facilities that are not fit for purpose, that have recently been taken out of use, or locations where there are notable gaps between facilities.  Additional data is particularly sought on the Thames, on EA’s Anglian Waterways, and on the Middle Level Navigations.  The additional findings will be reported back to navigation authorities in the autumn.  

Wey & Arun Canal to host IWA Trailboat Festival in 2020

The location of next year’s IWA Trailboat Festival has been announced as the Summit Level of the Wey & Arun Canal in Alfold/Dunsfold on the Surrey and Sussex border. Hosted by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, the event will take place over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (23rd-25th May, 2020).

The Festival aims to raise the profile of the Wey & Arun Canal and its restoration, and will take place on the spot where the Wey & Arun Junction Canal was officially opened on 28th September 1816. The Summit Level has been a focus for The Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s restoration plans and has seen major renovation in recent years, including the construction of Compasses Bridge and the Thriscutt Slipway, built by Trust volunteers and opened last year.

The Festival promises to be packed full of events and entertainment to attract both boaters and non-boaters. Activities for all ages will include live music, food stalls, demonstrations and competitions.  There will be an award ceremony at the festival, as well as an illuminated boat parade.

Find out more on our website or follow us on Facebook.

IWA Annual AGM Weekend in Stoke on Trent

IWA’s 60th Annual General Meeting will be held in Longton, Stoke on Trent, on 28th September 2019.

A packed day of presentations and activities are scheduled for the Saturday and our local IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch has plans that could keep attendees entertained for the full weekend.

You can make a short break of it and visit the nearby Silver Propeller locations on the Caldon Canal on either the Friday or Monday and have some great British fun at the branch fundraising fete on Sunday. An evening meal and a talk by Deputy Chairman of the Branch Steve Wood lead the bill for the Saturday night.

See the full AGM Agenda and find out more about the weekend activities.

Ballot to select future IWA trustees

Five candidates have put their names forward for three trustee positions on IWA’s board of Trustees and so a ballot will now take place.  Rick Barnes, Ivor Caplan and Peter Scott retire on completion of their current three-year terms and nominations have been received for Rick Barnes, John Butler, Ivor Caplan, David Chapman and Peter Scott. 

IWA members will be asked to vote for up to three candidates and full details of the nominees and how to vote will be published in our membership magazine Waterways, out next week and shared with members via email too.  

Win £1,000 in our Waterway Restoration Raffle

Image of raffle ticket

Our 2019 Raffle has been launched to help raise funds to support the restoration of waterways across the country. 

There are lots of exciting prizes to be won including the top prize of £1,000 in cash. Other prizes are a Crick Boat Show festival bundle worth £250, Imray maps and publications worth £150, ABC Leisure day-boat hire, a full set of Nicholson Guides, a tug boat driving experience at London Canal Museum, and a goody bag full of IWA-branded merchandise. 

Priced at £2 each, with five tickets in each book, the tickets will be entered into a one-off prize draw, which will take place on 12th December 2019. 

Tickets can be bought online. A book of tickets has also been send to all IWA members with the forthcoming Waterways magazine. 

Please visit the webpage or call 01494 783453 to order more paper books. The deadline for entry is 9th December 2019. Please ensure all paper ticket stubs are posted back to us in time to be included in the draw.

Ware Boat Festival

Crowds gathered along the River Lee in Ware at the beginning of July for a weekend of festivities organised by IWA Lee & Stort Branch as part of Ware Town Festival. 

15 boats took part in the ‘space’ themed parade on Saturday afternoon with the Kathleen Mary taking the prize for best decorated boat (pictured). Other highlights included the boat handling competition, the floating traders lining the towpath and the boat taxi service operated by Lee and Stort Boat Co.

Balsam Bash Collects Flowers for Limited-Edition Gin

IWA Head Office staff joined volunteers from IWA Chiltern Branch and representatives from the River Thame Conservation Trust to pull, snap, stomp Himalayan balsam in July. 

The Himalayan balsam had grown to a staggering nine or ten feet high in places. Great progress was made along the brook, which connects to the River Thame and the River Thames, just south of Oxford.

We also collected the pink blossoms from the plants and delivered them to Puddingstone Distillery in Tring, where they will help make a limited edition run of Himalayan balsam gin as part of the Campfire Gin range. Profits from the Himalayan balsam gin will go towards helping the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust with its work in the local area.

Find out more about the IWA Pull Snap Stomp campaign.


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

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.


IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453