IWA Bulletin - November 2018

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Today is Giving Tuesday - an antidote to the consumerism of Black Friday, encouraging people to give to good causes. As a charity, we couldn't achieve the progress we make on promoting a thriving waterways network without a strong membership. This Giving Tuesday, we would appreciate it if you could think about who you could "bring on board" to support our work and consider buying them a gift membership for Christmas.

Free map for you and your gift recipient

As a little thank you, we have a Giving Tuesday only offer - of a free Imrays map including IWA's unique directory to the waterways for the person buying the gift of membership as well as the recipient - this will only be available for gift memberships bought today (27th November 2018).

Membership means your friend or relative will keep up to date with our work, receive our members' only quarterly Waterways Magazine, local newsletters, participate in local branch activities as well as receiving special discounts. Gift Membership costs just £36 for a year and can be setup online or by calling 01494 783453.


Photo: River Thames at Oxford by Brian Holmes

Licence fee increases announced on 7th November by both the Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust demonstrate yet again why a transfer of the EA navigations to CRT would be beneficial, not only for the long term future of the waterways themselves, but also for the boaters that use them.

EA's announcement confirmed that it is to go ahead with substantial increases to its navigation charges for the next two years, despite the majority of respondents to EA's recent consultation objecting to the levels of increase proposed. The announcement from Canal & River Trust, by contrast, confirmed that they would be freezing private and business boat licence fees until 1st April 2020.

EA's announcement confirms that registration fee increases for 2019-20 and 2020-21 will be the same as those implemented in 2018-19, which is 5.7% on the River Thames, 7.5% on Anglian Waterways and 10% on the Medway. Recognising that some level of increase is important, IWA, along with many other respondents, had asked for the increases to be linked to inflation using CPI (Consumer Price Index, the latest available figure is 2.2%). CRT's announcement includes a 5% reduction in the prompt payment discount, which will mean an increase for many boaters, but this is still well below EA's increases.

At a recent meeting between IWA and EA's national navigation team, we pointed out that such high levels of increase would be likely to price some boaters away from EA navigations, would deter families and young people from getting involved with boating in the first place, and could lead to an increase in registration fee evasion. This is backed up in the results of the consultation, with 43% of the respondents stating they would consider leaving EA waterways, and 31% considering giving up boating altogether.

We acknowledge that EA does need to receive more funding in order to continue to maintain existing levels of navigation maintenance and service, as well as being able to address some of the backlog of work that has led to long term closures of some waterway structures, but such high increases to registration fees is not the way to do this. EA needs to increase its income without disenfranchising boat owners and pricing them off the waterways. Increased funding from Government is essential to retain vibrant waterways alive with boats, with all the associated benefits that brings to the UK economy and local communities, as well as the health benefits to the wider population.


We have welcomed an announcement from Transport Scotland on 23rd November that an additional £5.35 million has been identified for capital funding for Scottish Canals. The announcement is testament to our campaigning over the last two years, about the various areas of concern which we outlined in our recent letter to the Scottish Parliament.

The additional funding will fix the recent failure of lock gates at Fort Augustus on the Caledonian Canal, further replacement lock gates and new moorings on the same waterway, four pairs of lock gates for the Forth & Clyde Canal, new water monitoring systems for the Crinan Reservoir and the Forth & Clyde summit pound, a review of remote operations for Bonnybridge and Twechar bridges and new dredging plant to enable Scottish Canals' staff to improve the navigation channel across the network.

Photo: Caledonian Canal by Neil Barnett

The announced funding goes some way to addressing the issues IWA is concerned about, but we still consider that additional funding will be necessary. In particular, we would ask Transport Scotland to provide in its 2019-20 budget the additional £3 million of revenue funding that will enable the canals to be maintained, and additional capital funds to replace assets that have already failed.

As we said in our letter to the Scottish Parliament, increased funding for these waterways is essential in preventing further asset deterioration and waterway closures, in order to preserve our industrial heritage, and optimise the leisure, tourism, health, well-being and economic benefits of these waterways for everybody in Scotland – whether residents or visitors.

IWA will continue to campaign for the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of all the waterways managed by Scottish Canals, particularly the Lowland Canals, so that all the associated benefits to the economy and local communities which have been realised since their restoration are not lost.


The Middle Level Bill received Royal Assent and was enacted on Thursday 1 November 2018. The Act, which was brought to Parliament as a Private Members Bill in November 2016, went through its final stage in October with the House of Commons agreeing the amendments made by the House of Lords earlier in the year.

The Act will bring the Middle Level Commissioners (MLC) in to line with other navigation authorities by enabling better waterway management powers and allowing increased provision of facilities and moorings in connection with their navigation function.

Photo: Middle Level Navigations

We have supported the Bill through its various stages, and welcome the Act 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 Act will also allow MLC to generate income specifically for boating and the provision of more moorings and better facilities. It will also enable the removal of sunken, stranded and abandoned vessels and it will require vessels using the Commissioners' waterways to hold insurance and to comply with the Boat Safety Scheme. Under the new legislation MLC will use published guidance from IWA to set the standards to which facilities must be provided.

The full wording of the Act can be found on the Government website.


Following the ruling by the European Union Court of Justice against the UK's use of red diesel by private pleasure craft, representatives from the boating community and boating industry - British Marine, the Cruising Association, The Inland Waterways Association and the Royal Yachting Association - met with HMRC officials on Tuesday 20th November to discuss the implications of the Court's decision and evaluate the UK's response. The meeting was extremely informative and productive, and the continued support of the UK Government is welcomed.

In effect, following the Court's ruling, the expectation of the European Commission is that the UK must stop allowing the use of red diesel for the purposes of propulsion of a private pleasure craft and must therefore switch to white diesel. The UK is required to provide a response to the Commission by 22nd December 2018, setting out how it intends to bring the UK into line with the European Directive on fiscal marking of gas oils and kerosene, as well as a timeframe for achieving this.

It remains the position of all the boating representative bodies that a change to using white diesel would create insurmountable problems for boat users and the industry. All the boating representative bodies will therefore be providing evidence of the practical implications to HMRC officials to inform the UK's response to the Commission in the hope that we can jointly develop a practical and affordable solution in a realistic timeframe.


IWA Northampton Branch volunteer, Bernard Morton, was selected as a guest of honour at an exclusive tea party to celebrate Prince Charles' 70th birthday at Spencer House in central London last week.

Photo: Bernard Morton at Spencer House

Bernard was nominated for his commitment to improving Northamptonshire's waterways as Chairman of the Northampton Branch of IWA for the past ten years. Bernard joined 70 inspirational people, all born in 1948, the same year as Prince Charles, for tea, sandwiches and birthday cake.

Read more


Following the success of the offside vegetation clearance work parties last winter, IWA Lichfield Branch volunteers have been working again with Canal & River Trust to clear more of the Trent & Mersey Canal.

Using work boats with an on-board chipper at the weekly work parties, up to six volunteers at a time have removed tree branches that were overhanging the canal and restricting navigation.

Having begun at Fradley Junction in early October the group has now reached beyond King Bromley Wharf and are approaching the outskirts of Handsacre. By starting earlier than last year, our volunteers have had more time at each place to be more thorough with the clearance.

Offside Vegetation Work Boats and ChipperPhoto by Derek Beardsmore

The group will continue to saw and lop areas that had to be missed previously and is hoping to reach Great Haywood by March.


IWA North Staffs and South Cheshire Branch has made much progress to refurbish Lock 56 & 55 on the Trent & Mersey Canal within two months.

At the final work party of the year, volunteers painted the metal rails at Lock 56, the paddle gear and lock bridge rails, as well as completing the wooden posts and rail fence around the by-wash/sluice. A second group worked on Lock 55, preparing the metal rails, paddle gear, wooden posts and rail-fence around the by-wash for painting. The next work party in January should complete the small amount of painting that remains left to do.


IWA Northampton Branch ran a large Task Party on Friday 3rd November with 19 volunteers, of whom 10 volunteers were from Cummins Power Systems.

The volunteers collected around 60 bags of rubbish, 2 shopping trolleys, 2 bicycles and an assortment of other rubbish. Four planters were built and installed at locks 15 and 16 and then planted with approximately 500 bulbs. Graffiti was overpainted and overhanging towpath vegetation clearance was cleared from the locks. Volunteers contributed 122 volunteer hours over the day.

Photo by Geoff Wood


In November, 22 walkers assembled for a walk featuring the Trent & Mersey Canal in Weston, Staffordshire, organised by IWA Lichfield Branch. The intrepid group meandered through Weston-Upon-Trent, past Hixon airfield,  heritage railway lines and through the rural village of Gayton. Read more

Walkers on towpath near Weston (CW)


IWA South West & South Wales Region encompasses four branches - West Country, Avon & Wilts, South Wales as well as Gloucestershire & Herefordshire, the last of which is at a stage of new beginnings.  The Region includes some beautiful stretches of currently navigable waterway as well as several exciting restorations and some interesting campaigns being managed by knowledgeable and active volunteers.

Do you live in the Region and do you think you might have some time to spare to join the Region committee?  There are two available roles.  The Region team is looking for a new Chairman to oversee region activities, to represent the region at various events and to liaise with other IWA region chairmen, officers and trustees.
There is also a gap for a new Hon. Secretary.  The current post holder has been in situ for five years and having taken on a branch chairman role feels it’s time to step aside from this role and make way for someone new.  

The committee meets four times a year in Bristol and in addition to providing a forum for communication between the branches, it oversees the publication of Sou’Wester (the region magazine) and awards the prestigious Brian Sheppard Award annually.

To find out more - please contact Nicola Kiely at nicola.kiely@waterways.org.uk


We are saddened to report the death of Harry Arnold MBE on 1st November, following a stroke almost three weeks earlier. Harry was well known as a waterways journalist, author and photographer who has been instrumental in many waterway campaigns since the late 1950s.

Photo by Beryl Arnold

Harry was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List for the significant role he played in Britain's inland waterways scene for almost 50 years. This included being a founder member of Waterway Recovery Group and editing IWA's Waterways magazine from 1990 to 2007; Harry carried out many other voluntary roles within IWA and in 2008 was appointed a national Vice President.

As a friend and stalwart supporter, advocate, restorer and chronicler of the inland waterways, Harry was central to setting up the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port, now the National Waterways Museum. As a volunteer he energetically supported many other waterway projects and campaigns to promote and protect canals, their craft and heritage – also inspiring, enthusing and assisting many individuals on their own conservation and restoration projects.

As a professional journalist, editor and photographer Harry was a regular contributor to boating magazines. In 1972 he was one of the founder owners of best-selling Waterways World; most recently Harry was retained to write for the free distribution newspaper Towpath Talk – the largest circulation waterway publication.

Harry's WATERWAY IMAGES archive and digital photographs have appeared in countless publications and also TV programmes. Harry himself appeared on screen in programmes such as BBC's Golden Age of Canal and spent he the summer of 2018 filming along the Montgomery Canal relating stories from the campaign and "Big Dig" that started its restoration for a forthcoming video.

At the 2015 Canal & River Trust 'Living Waterway Awards' – which "seek to recognise the most inspiring and exciting waterway–based improvement projects across the UK" – Harry was presented with the first 'Outstanding Personal Achievement Award'. Tony Hales, then Chairman of CRT, said: "Harry was awarded an MBE for the significant role he has played in recording, conserving and promoting the country's rich waterway heritage. This Outstanding Achievement award further recognises the enormous contribution he has made to helping make the waterways what they are today."


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)
Blackwater Boats - 10% discount on boat trips
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.

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
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 5% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - 20% discount on ICETrekkers Diamond Grip
Kings Lock Chandlery - 5% discount (exclusions apply)
Marine Mega Store Ltd
- 15% discount
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


Special Offer - Today Only

Order your gift of IWA membership this Giving Tuesday (27th November) and you will receive our exclusive Imrays map of the inland waterways, which includes our unique directory for you and your gift recipient (normally only available for the recipient).

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