IWA Bulletin - September 2019

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HS2 Latest: The Good, the Bad and the Unresolved

We have responded to the Government's latest HS2 Phase 2b consultation, with proposed changes affecting parts of the Coventry Canal, the Erewash Canal, the Aire & Calder Navigation and the unrestored Nottingham Canal. Although there are some benefits for the waterways from these changes, there are additional impacts and several earlier concerns remain unresolved.

The government's announcement on 21st August of a comprehensive review into the whole HS2 High Speed Rail project - including its benefits and impacts, affordability and efficiency, deliverability, scope and phasing - promised a report due by 'the autumn' and a decision on whether or how to proceed expected by the end of the year. However, various preparatory works continue, including archaeology, demolitions and utility diversions, Phase 2a has been passed by the House of Lords and changes to Phase 2b have been announced.

Our response was submitted to the latest consultation on Design Refinement proposals for Phase 2b, Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds, which closed on 6 September.

The proposed changes affect the Coventry Canal at Polesworth, the Erewash Canal at Sandiacre and Stanton Gate, the unrestored Nottingham Canal, and the Aire & Calder Navigation near Fishpond Lock.

At Polesworth an access road is now proposed close to the Coventry Canal and the moorings at Pooley Country Park. We have asked for it to be set back, access to the moorings maintained, and re-iterated the need for more noise fencing on the viaduct and embankment.

At Stanton Gate a change of route to avoid diverting the M1 means the motorway bridge over the Erewash Canal will no longer need to be demolished and replaced, saving much disruption. However, there will be a new road bridge at Stanton Gate, an auto-transformer station needs screening, and concerns about the height of the viaduct, the design of its two very skew canal crossings and the need for noise protection for the canal remain.

The Nottingham Canal at Trowell, although abandoned, is part of a long distance footpath and a local nature reserve, and could be restored back to Langley Mill. But the new HS2 route would sever it with a deep cutting and we have asked for an aqueduct to maintain the continuity of the towpath and the water supply.

The Aire & Calder Navigation will be affected by moving the route onto a viaduct from Woodlesford past Fishpond Lock to Rodhill Corner. We have asked that the viaduct piers should not narrow this commercial navigation, for more information on the design and visual impact, and for noise barriers to protect recreational canal users.

Read the full text of our HS2 Phase 2b Consultation Response (pdf, 236KB)

IWA's Campaigns Took Centre Stage at our Annual Members' Meeting 2019

Our 60th Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 28th September, 2019 in Stoke-on-Trent. The meeting was hosted by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch who helped make a weekend of the event, arranging visits to a local pottery, plus a guided walk to the site of the planned restoration of the Burslem Branch Canal and an evening supper of pie and peas accompanied by an illustrated talk on the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal.  

The AGM was attended by over 100 members who were treated to a number of different presentations, including one by Jonathan Mosse who is one of Navigation Committee’s Scottish representatives, who outlined the campaigns supported by us to improve navigation on Scotland’s canals, including the campaign for additional funding from Scottish Government which enabled the Forth & Clyde Canal to be reopened to through traffic earlier this year.  

One of the themes that ran through all the presentations was the importance of Planning, and it was interesting to hear from Bob Dewey, one of our expert planning team, about how IWA volunteers and Branches can get involved in shaping local planning policy. This is something that, as an organisation, IWA will be focusing on more and more in coming years.  

The formal AGM began with a short speech by national chairman, Ivor Caplan, followed by the presentation of the annual report and financial statements by chief executive, Neil Edwards. This year members had an opportunity to ask questions of Trustees, leading to a lively debate and raising a number of important issues for further consideration.  

To complete the meeting, Alison Smedley, our Policy & Campaigns Officer, presented an update on some of the campaigns that have been running over the past year.

The Results of our Annual Awards

Photo: IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch receive Branch Achievement Award 2019

Our annual Awards celebrate worthy individuals and groups who are working to do their very best for the waterways. Read on to find out this year’s winners:

Richard Bird Medals – awarded to individuals who have brought significant benefits to IWA over a sustained period of time. There were seven recipients of the Richard Bird medals this year:

  • Mick Butler, IWA Northampton Branch for his work on the Northampton Arm
  • Geoff Wood, IWA Northampton Branch for his work and organisational skills on the Northampton Arm
  • Steve Connolly, retired member of the IWA Manchester Branch in recognition of his long service to IWA
  • David Faulkner, IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch for his hard work and long-term commitment to IWA
  • Pete Gurney, IWA Lichfield Branch, for his hard work in multiple roles for the Branch
  • Ian McDonald, IWA Leicester Branch, for his long-term commitment and devotion to IWA
  • Roger Sexton, IWA Peterborough Branch for his relentless campaigning in the Eastern Region

Christopher Power Prize
– awarded to an individual, society or trust that has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway. This prize was awarded to Roger Leishman of the Wendover Arm Trust, who has been instrumental in progressing the restoration of this waterway. Roger recently announced his retirement from active involvement but still retains a great interest in the project.  The prize also includes a cheque for £1000 payable to the Wendover Arm Trust.

John Heap Salver – awarded to an IWA member who has made an outstanding contribution to raising funds for the Association. This award was awarded to Mike Snaith from IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch for his regular and effective fundraising efforts.  

Photo: Mike Snaith receiving John Heap Salver from Ivor Caplan, IWA's national chairman

Cyril Styring Trophy – this is the Association’s premier award given to an individual IWA member who has made an outstanding contribution to furthering IWA campaigns. This was awarded to John Gale from IWA Chelmsford Branch and Essex Waterways. John was celebrated for over 40 years’ work with IWA Chelmsford Branch, including the restoration of Springfield Basin, work for Waterway Recovery Group nationally and locally and much more.  

IWA Branch Achievement Award – this award is given to the Branch which has made the greatest progress in promoting IWA’s aims and objectives over the past year. The deserving recipient of this award was IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch. Particular recognition was given to the Branch’s role in protecting an at-risk heritage bridge which has now been restored like-for-like.

Heathrow Expansion to Harm Waterways

The Heathrow expansion plans 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 be affected by the permanent loss of 900 acres of land in the southern part of the Colne Valley Regional Park. The loss of this land will narrow the Park and disrupt wildlife connectivity between the Thames Basin and the Chilterns. We are concerned that, particularly in urban areas where the canal offers a green refuge, increased noise and pollution would reduce use of the waterway as an important recreational amenity and that the health and wellbeing benefits of the canal will be diminished.

The Heathrow Expansion Preferred Masterplan also requires three rivers (Wraysbury River, River Colne and Bigley Ditch) to be combined to the north of the airfield to pass under the new runway in a single covered channel, whilst the Duke of Northumberland's River and the Longford River will also pass under the runway in a parallel covered channel. We are concerned that the roof voids that would allow limited daylight to the rivers would be open to spillages, causing pollution that could potentially threaten the ecology of the Thames.

The measures identified for reducing the effects of the Heathrow expansion on the water environment will be insufficient to mitigate the harm to the natural environment. Likewise, the expansion of the airport will be detrimental to physical health and wellbeing to those in the entire area of the Colne Valley Regional Park and the communities close to the Grand Union Canal and Slough Arm, not just those close to the airport. Potential community funding should therefore be widened and include measures to create new open space, improve accessibility and enhancement of the waterway corridor.

Read our full Heathrow Airport Expansion Consultation Response (pdf, 373KB)

Graham Palmer Stone Re-Faced

Photo: Graham Palmer stone - Before (left - as looking at photo), After (right)
On Saturday 21st September, a team from our Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) fixed a new memorial plaque to the existing stone erected to commemorate WRG founder, Graham Palmer. The installation team included current WRG chairman, Mike Palmer, board member, John Baylis and long-standing IWA volunteers, Julie Arnold and Gary Summers. Flowers were provided by Beryl Arnold, Harry Arnold’s widow and Graham’s long-time friend.

The new zinc-etched memorial plaque has been incorporated into the memorial stone situated on the Montgomery Canal at Graham Palmer Lock as a replacement for the badly weathered original carving, which was installed back in 1995.

Concerns Voiced about Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Project Board Ruling

IWA West Country Branch has made clear its serious concerns that a formal request to reserve land within the bypass channel as part of the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier Scheme has been refused by the Project Board.   

A bypass channel is to be constructed to divert the flow of the River Parrett whilst the main tidal barrier structure is built on the existing river bed.  More than three years ago, IWA requested that Sedgemoor District Council and the Environment Agency (EA) retain some of the bypass channel land-take in public ownership to enable future construction of a lock and approach channels, intended for boats to use when the barrier is closed to navigation.  A formal request for the land to be reserved as part of the Tidal Barrier Scheme was included in IWA’s response to the Preliminary Environmental Information Report, submitted to EA on 18 September 2017. However, a recent meeting of the Project Board identified further impediments to reserving the land, leading to a decision not to include the reservation of the relevant land within the Scheme. IWA has a clear view that these issues could and should have been identified, addressed and resolved by EA over the last two years and that EA should now urgently rectify its failures to deal with these in a timely manner.

Read the full press release now.   

Waterway Restoration Showcase Pulls in the Crowds

Photo: s.s. Daniel Adamson - venue for our Chester & Merseyside branch restoration showcase

The historic steam ship Daniel Adamson (the “Danny”) was turned into a unique showcase venue by IWA Chester & Merseyside to host waterways restoration projects from the North West.  Several restoration societies presented their work to interested local audiences aboard the promenade deck of the Danny, which was moored in the Albert Dock complex on Liverpool’s waterfront outside the Maritime Museum.

Societies present represented restorations on the Montgomery Canal, the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals, the Lancaster Canal, the River Weaver and the Sankey Canal amongst others, and as well as the chance to find out more about these waterways, over 600 visitiros had the opportunity to take guided tours of the ship.    

Jim Forkin, Chairman, IWA Chester and Merseyside said “Everyone really enjoyed the event and the public got to meet the restorers from their areas and hear about their plans and the progress they are making. Many were surprised at just how valuable a restored canal is to their local economy.

IWA's North Staffordshire & South Cheshire branch pulls out all the stops to entertain AGM visitors

Several activities were offered after the AGM by our North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch.  Guided walks of the Burslem Arm were led by volunteer Steve Wood and Middleport Pottery laid on guides for a heritage tour.  Several dozen members took up each of these activities and learnt about the Burslem Port regeneration project, which is supported by the branch, and about the history of the pottery industry and its relationship to the Trent & Mersey Canal.   

Photo: Members visit Burslem Arm led by Steve Wood who is also the photographer

On the Saturday evening the branch organised a social evening for members who were staying in the area, where they joined local branch members and visitors for a pie and peas supper followed by an illustrated talk about the Uttoxeter Canal from Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust Chairman, Steve Wood.   
The next day, when sporting fixtures and other events up and down the country were cancelled, the branch hosted a fundraising garden fete beside the Caldon Canal, with canal society and IWA stands, historic vehicles and boats, and information about local canal projects. Given the weather it was no surprise that the most lucrative activity was the indoor refreshments room in a cosy converted stable that was once home to the last horse that pulled boats laden with coal on the canal.  Over £250 was raised to support local waterways work.

Shop: Our NEW Christmas card range

You can buy our three new Christmas card designs for 2019 - plus two designs back by popular demand - in our shop.  

The cards are supplied in packs of ten of one design and printed on high quality card whilst the message inside reads: “With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year”.


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