IWA Bulletin - March 2020

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Our new programme of waterway webinars


Join us for one of our new waterway webinars. We are rolling out a regular programme of speakers for our supporters, to cover topic areas including our campaign successes, waterways heritage, our canal adoption schemes and more. We are committed to continue a programme of activities for our members as much as possible in these challenging times. We have some very good speakers lined up and topics you might be interested in, starting with:

IWA - more relevant than ever

Presented by IWA National Chairman, Paul Rodgers
7th April - 7:30pm
Register now for 'IWA - more relevant than ever'

One Arm...many heads - transforming the Northampton Arm

Presented by Geoff Wood / Mick Butler, IWA Northampton Branch work party organisers
Tuesday 14th April – 7.30pm
Register now for 'One Arm...many heads - transforming the Northampton Arm'

Bringing waterways to the attention of government

Presented by Alison Smedley, IWA Campaigns & Public Affairs Manager
Tuesday 21st April – 7.30pm
Register now for 'Bringing waterways to the attention of government'

Changing the face of the Ashton Canal

Presented by Maarja Kaaristo, IWA Manchester Branch
Tuesday 28th April – 7.30pm
Register now for 'Changing the face of the Ashton Canal'

Protecting our Waterways Heritage

Presented by Amy Tillson, IWA Campaigns Officer
Tuesday 5th May – 12.30pm
Register now for 'Protecting our Waterways Heritage'

Find out more about our forthcoming waterway webinars and register your place.

In addition, a number of our branches are moving their public meetings and socials online. Check the IWA calendar for details.

DEFRA seeks IWA's views on the impact of Covid-19 on the waterways

At a meeting held in March by video link, Defra's Navigation Team was keen to hear our input on the likely impact of Covid 19 on waterways across the country.

Our key concerns include boaters' health and access to facilities, people not being able to afford to pay mooring and licence fees, navigation authorities' ability to deal with emergency repairs, and the impact on many waterway businesses, including hire boat companies through having to close down their operations. We are concerned that smaller navigation authorities will be badly affected, as well as the larger ones, particularly with the restrictions coming on top of extensive damage in the recent winter storms.

Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to do what we can to help navigation authorities, waterway businesses and boaters and are currently assisting Defra in identifying the wider issues.

The video meeting covered other ongoing issues such as funding for the publicly owned waterways, the importance of navigation authorities providing sufficient basic facilities and other issues relating to the heritage and restoration of the waterways.

Red Diesel budget announcement

Ahead of the Spring Budget on 11th March, we had already raised concerns with HM Treasury about a possible change concerning red diesel which had been reported in the press. Our letter welcomed Government's aim to reduce carbon emissions but raised concerns that removing all access to red diesel could achieve the opposite of its desired effect and negatively impact on the environment and the economy.

The Budget subsequently confirmed that Government will remove "the entitlement to use red diesel except for agriculture, fish farming, rail and non-commercial heating" from April 2022. We remain concerned that the change could result in adverse environmental and economic impacts through a loss of tourism, employment and trade. We welcome the announcement that boaters will still be entitled to use red diesel for heating and cooking, which was one of the concerns we had raised. Government has said it will explore options for how this will work for boats with only one fuel tank.

We will be taking up an offer from HMT, received immediately after the Budget announcement, to be part of discussions on why other sectors should still be allowed to use red diesel. We will attend these meetings to put the case that removing the subsidy completely would have a detrimental effect on commercial craft including the hire boat trade and waterborne freight traffic which represents a small but important contribution to having less lorries on the road. We are passionate about protecting and restoring the country's 6,500 miles of canals and navigable rivers for the future and know that to do so, we need to make boating more sustainable and affordable, as well as preserving our precious waterways environment and heritage.

The news in the Budget that the Chancellor has committed to at least doubling the funding the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies is welcome news, as IWA also wishes to see more research into alternative forms of propulsion so that more boats can move to using cleaner forms of energy in the future.

Our national events

We have taken the decision to cancel IWA Canalway Cavalcade on 2nd and 3rd May 2020, but the event will return to London's Little Venice on Saturday 1st May 2021 for the full Early May Bank Holiday weekend. Our Trailboat Festival on the Wey & Arun 23rd – 25th May will not now be going ahead this year.

IWA Festival of Water in Perdiswell Park, Worcester, is currently still due to go ahead over the August bank holiday weekend but is under constant review based on government guidance. Bookings remain open for both boaters and campers and we are currently hoping that the festival can be staged.

We hope we will be able to run our Waterway Recovery Group Canal Camps from July onwards, but this will also be reviewed as the situation develops.

About people

David Hilling

We are saddened to report that we have heard of the death of Dr David Hilling MBE, IWA Vice President and eminent authority on many areas of transport. David was an enthusiastic member of IWA's Inland Shipping Group, including being its chairman for some years and keenly promoted the benefits of transport by water wherever he went. He had a widely respected career in the academic world, and was considered a world authority on ports and inland shipping, publishing many books and papers, and was widely travelled on the strength of this, including lecturing for five years at the University of Ghana. He was appointed an MBE in the 2004 New Year's honours for services to the inland waterways.

Roger Hasdell

We are saddened to report the death of Roger Hasdell on 29th February. As well as being a prominent figure in IWA Northampton Branch for the best part of 50 years, Roger was a volunteer editor of IWA's Waterways magazine from March 1973 to December 1989. He was awarded the Cyril Styring Trophy in 1990.


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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


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