IWA’s Waterway Manifesto campaign has got off to a great start, with many members and branch committees already having contacted parliamentary candidates ahead of the General Election in May. Candidates are being asked to pledge their support for the five points outlined in the manifesto:
IWA would like to thank all those members who have already supported the campaign by writing to candidates where they live, and would encourage more members to do the same. Every pledge counts. The list of candidates who have so far signed up their support can be found at the manifesto pages of the website.
If you would like to get involved and support the campaign, information, including a link to a website that gives names and email addresses for candidates where you live, a map showing constituency areas, and a template for letters and emails, can be found at the manifesto pages of the website.
Additionally, there is now a downloadable PDF of a smaller manifesto leaflet, with space for candidates to pledge their support, which you can download and print at home. The smaller size of this leaflet makes it more practical to print and keep to hand when out and about, in case you come across a candidate, or at home, should any candidates be canvassing in your area. The new leaflet can be downloaded from the manifesto pages of the website.
Photo: Winning photo of the Peak Forest Canal at Marple (photo by Arthur Proctor)
The votes are in! Congratulations to the overall winner of IWA's photography competition, Arthur Procter, for his photo of the Peak Forest Canal at Marple.
Our next photography competition is now open to entries! This year we are offering a complete set of OS Nicholsons Guides to the Waterways, worth over £130, for the overall winner.
Images will be shortlisted to feature a range of seasons, craft and activities from all over the UK waterway network, to feature in IWA's 2017 calendar or feature as an IWA Christmas card. Shortlisted entries will each receive three calendars. Members will then be invited to vote for their favourite, and the overall winner will receive a set of Nicholson Guides.
For more information and to enter, please see IWA's photography competition pages.
Photo: John Hawkins with Heroes of the Waterways Award
On Saturday 21st March, Canal & River Trust (CRT) awarded Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) volunteer, John Hawkins, its Heroes of the Waterways Award. This new award aims to celebrate and recognise the long service of volunteers who have worked to support the canals and rivers.
Over the past 35 years John has been a dedicated waterways volunteer at both a local and national level. Last year alone he spent over 360 hours of his time volunteering with WRG on canal restoration projects across England, from helping restore Black Jacks Bridge on the Grand Union Canal to bricklaying at Meretown Lock on the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals. John is also a regular volunteer with the Rickmansworth Waterways Trust and is part of the of the ‘Learning at the Lock’ team, which encourages local primary school children to respect and value their waterways, as well as teaching them how to operate locks and about the history of the canals.
Jenny Black, WRG’s Volunteer Coordinator said 'John is a quiet unassuming character who is loved and respected by all WRGies. He is happy to pass on skills, share his knowledge and experiences … and have a beer with his fellow volunteers at the end of day! John’s commitment to volunteering, WRG and the waterways is truly amazing and the waterways community is lucky to have him!.'
John’s wife Tess, who sadly recently passed away, would have been particularly proud of John’s achievement. The couple enjoyed volunteering together, giving their time to help restore waterways and produce Navvies, and Tess would have loved to have seen her husband receiving the award in recognition of his hard work.
Only a limited number of places are available for the 50km challenge, which consists of canoeing, cycling and running, so anyone interested in taking part should enrol without delay. A 30km course is also available as a shorter alternative to the main route.
All sponsorship raised will benefit Essex Waterways, responsible for managing, maintaining and improving the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, or The Susan Trust, a historic Chelmer lighter boat restoration project.
For entry details, pricing and further information visit IWA's website or call 01494 783453 ext. 611.
The Tour de Yorkshire is coming to the Rochdale Canal on 3rd May 2015.
Running in the opposite direction to last year's Tour de France, riders will follow the country's longest continuous descent in Cragg Vale to arrive in Mytholmroyd, from where the route runs parallel to the Rochdale Canal to Hebden Bridge before leaving for Oxenhope and Haworth.
IWA West Riding Branch encourages boaters to visit and stay before 3rd May 2015 and to linger afterwards. Boaters can reserve moorings, which will be available between 25th April and 10th May as required.
More information about the Tour de Yorkshire can be found at the Tour de Yorkshire website.
Photo: Branch chairman, Michael Limbrey, presents Janet and Denis Farmer with picture to mark their 25th year on the committee (photo by Susan Wilding)
IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch’s AGM, held on Saturday 21st March 2015, marked the fortieth anniversary of the Branch.
The occasion was celebrated with a presentation to long-standing members Denis and Janet Farmer, which marked the start of their twenty-fifth year on the Branch committee. The presentation was a picture of their boat Leo moored under the historic crane at Audlem, just outside their house.
IWA’s Restoration Committee is seeking enthusiastic advocates of waterway restoration to join, or provide support for, the Association’s Restoration Committee with its work in promoting and developing waterways restoration and new waterways in England and Wales.
Current vacancies are:
Whether you are currently active members of IWA at branch, region or national level or an armchair member who thinks ‘I really should be doing something more’ we would like to hear from you. For more information about each role, including how to apply, visit IWA’s website or contact chairman of IWA Restoration Committee, Vaughan Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0121 477 9782.
A memorial service for Sonia Rolt OBE is to take place in the Crypt of St. Pauls Cathedral, London, EC4M 8AD on Thursday 14th May from 2.30pm to 4pm.
Photo: Approaching the Liver Building on the Liverpool Link (photo by Colin Grundy)
Canal & River Trust (CRT) has announced changes that will expand opportunities to travel to and stay in Liverpool; where the city centre waterfront has become very poular with boaters.
The planned changes include:
CRT has said that the new operating system will be implemented from 1st August 2015 and that the first few months of the new arrangements, from August to October, will be a trial period.
Canal & River Trust (CRT) chief executive Richard Parry is inviting boaters to join him at a meeting in Birmingham on Saturday 25th April that will provide an opportunity for guests to hear about the Trust’s priorities for the year ahead, and look ahead at the Trust’s ambition for the next ten years.
Following a short presentation on the charity’s recently developed Ten Year Strategy, boaters will have the chance to air their thoughts and pose questions to Richard and other members of the Trust’s team.
The meeting will be chaired by an independent facilitator to help structure the event and make sure that a wide range of views are heard and addressed. It will take place on Saturday 25th April, between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, at The Bond, Birmingham.
There are 150 places available and boaters can sign up to attend at CRT’s website.
Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) are the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects. CDM applies to all building and construction work and places legal duties on virtually everyone involved in construction work, so if you are in the process of restoring a canal or waterway you need to be aware of these regulations. There are additional requirements for a project if it is notifiable – i.e. (a) more than 500 person days, or (b) is for a period of more than thirty working days. In these instances you need to appoint a CDM Co-ordinator, a Principal Contractor, have a construction phase plan, and submit an F10 – Notification of construction form (the form and associated guidance is available at HSE’s website).
As of the 6th April these regulations are set to change.
Further details of the changes and regulations, including the updated guidance, can be found at HSE's Website.
Photo: Floating Pennywort (photo by GBNNSS)
At a recent Port of London Authority meeting, represented organisations were asked to help raise awareness of the threat posed by the spread of invasive species along waterways. Waterway users can help to prevent the spread of invasive species, which range from plants such as Himalayan Balsam and Floating Pennywort to non-native species of shrimp and mussels, by following the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ protocol.
More information about the Check, Clean, Dry campaign, run by Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) and supported by a number of partner organisations, and invasive species can be found at the NNSS website. You can also find out more about IWA's campaign to tackle the non-native Himalayan Balsam at IWA's website.
Canal & River Trust (CRT) has discovered a leak on the Peak Forest Canal, in the area of Barlow Wood embankment, about a quarter of a mile from Marple Junction.
A temporary repair has been completed but CRT now needs to carry out a more detailed investigation and repair at the site. This is planned to take place in April and the Canal will be closed between Bridge 19 and Bridge 22 for the week commencing Monday 13th April. The canal will be drained for this work to be done.
More information is available at CRT's website.
Cotswold Canals Trust’s (CCT) campaign was previously successful in getting Wiltshire Council to impose a planning condition in respect of gravel extraction at Roundhouse Farm in Marston Meysey, Wiltshire. The condition states that the Thames & Severn Canal would be reconstructed across the site.
Furthermore, Cotswold Canals Trust recently reached agreement with Morton C. Cullimore (Gravels) Ltd in relation to the detailed specification of the Canal and how it would be restored. However, since then Wiltshire Council's minerals planners have advised Cullimore not to include the restoration of the Canal when finishing off their site.
CCT is now moving to object to the planning application that effectively removes Condition 39, which secured the reconstruction of the canal bed, in any meaningful sense. The Trust is also appealing for local supporters to object to the planning before 9th April.
More information, including how to submit comments to the Council, can be found at CCT’s website.
Canal & River Trust has announced plans to install new technology to enable remote control of the bridges on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal by either the boater or a new Bridge Control Centre.
CRT has said the plans to change the bridges so they can be remotely controlled, were developed as a means to improve efficiency and safety and provide a better service to customers. The technology has already been trialled for a year at Sandfield Bridge, where bridge openings are now controlled by an app on the bridge-keeper’s smart phone. The installation of the new technology is expected to take two and a half years. CRT hopes to start work this summer.
CRT plans for fourteen bridges to be remotely controlled, five of which will be upgraded from a manual operation to an automated process, reducing opening times from twelve minutes to three minutes. A team will be based at a new Bridge Control Centre in the Trust’s Gloucester office and remotely oversee the bridge operations, acting as a single point of contact. Bridges will be operated in one of two ways:
CRT has announced that the first fully remote controlled bridge at Sandfield will be ready in August/September 2015. Demonstration days are planned here and the bridge-keeper will oversee boaters using the app to open the bridge. They also intend to remain onsite to offer advice and to relocate to the new control centre in around October once a number of boaters have had time to trial the new system.
There are plans for the operation at Sandfield to be continuously reviewed with an advisory group of stake-holders. A gradual phase-in of the six bridges north of Sandfield is planned between April and December 2016 and the bridges south of Sandfield between April and December 2017. The commissioning of each system will include testing and trials with staff in-situ.
CRT is to establish focus groups of key stakeholders that will meet in March/April/May to advise on the main issues and help develop local bridge operating rules, times and any restrictions. These will be followed by drop-in information sessions for the public and the implementation of an open online survey to give the public the chance to comment on plans.
More information is available at CRT’s website.
Veolia Environmental Trust has awarded £37,500 towards the manufacture and installation of new gates at Staveley Town Lock on the Chesterfield Canal. A further £50,000 has been approved by Derbyshire County Council to complete the installation of the gates and to pay for stone copings to finish and protect the new lock walls at Staveley Town Basin.
Construction will take place throughout the year at the Staveley Basin site as work is carried out to bring the new lock and downstream wharf site into use in 2016.
The majority of work to restore the Chesterfield Canal has been, and will continue to be, undertaken by Chesterfield Canal Trust volunteers working in partnership with the Council and with support form IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group.
Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust is selling a selection of signed prints by Alan Reade, which depict scenes of Shrewsbury & Newport Canal. The sale of prints is to raise match-funding for a £1m Heritage Lottery Funding grant that the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust has won to restore historic warehouses at Wappenshall Junction, Shropshire.
More information, including how to purchase the prints, is available from Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust's website.
Wey & Arun Canal Trust has announced that planning permission for a new bridge over the Wey & Arun Canal has been granted by Waverley Borough Council.
The plans are for a new bridge to be built at one of the entrances to Dunsfold Aerodrome, at the end of Three Compasses Lane in Alfold. This would replace a wartime concrete causeway that currently blocks the waterway and would enable more than a mile of the Wey & Arun Canal to be re-opened for use by small boats.
Photo: Mayor of Gravesend on Grey Owl
On 29th March, a crowd, not put off by the wet weather, gathered to see the opening of the slipway and Swing Bridge at the Canal Open Day on the Thames and Medway Canal.
The Mayor of Gravesend, Cllr John Caller, and his wife attended the event and with their umbrellas at the ready and the ribbon was duly cut to declare the slipway officially open. The opening was further marked when the first narrowboat, Grey Owl, to use the slipway was slipped into the Canal. This was followed by a second opening ceremony at the Swing Bridge, which marked the first time in over forty years that the footpath Bridge has been swung.
A campaign has been launched in Leigh in Greater Manchester, where the Leeds & Liverpool and Bridgewater canals meet, aimed at using the canal system as a catalyst for regeneration.
The campaign was launched by local MP Andy Burnham supported by Wigan Council, the Canal & River Trust and the Bridgewater Canal Company. The Council is focusing on Leigh as part of its wider Waterfront Improvements Plan.
As part of the project the Canal & River Trust will provide new signage to encourage visitors onto the towpath and to tell the story of the two canals. There will be an improved entrance to the towpath from King Street Bridge, with work being carried out by volunteers this year. New mooring rings will also encourage boaters to stop and visit the town.
A team from Bristol based construction plant dealer Molson Group, is hoping to cover the 114 miles along the Grand Union Canal between Birmingham and London in just 56 hours, to mirror the trips made by 19th Century ‘fly-boats’ and raise money for Bristol hospital charity ‘Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal’ and ‘Hire a Hero’, which helps support service leavers through the transition into civilian life.
The challenge is planned to take place between Wednesday 6th May and Saturday 9th May. The charity crew, captained by Molson Group director Robin Powell, will be navigating wide boat Ferrous and her butty Susan from Birmingham to London.
Robin and Molson Group already have connections with the waterways, often loaning a Mini Digger to Cotswold Canals Trust.
Donations can be made via Virgin Money Giving.
The Waterways Ombudsman Committee, which oversees the operation of Canal & River Trust’s Waterways Ombudsman scheme, has been reconstituted and has appointed a new chair.
Steve Harriott, group chief executive of The Dispute Service, has been elected to the voluntary role from within the new committee and will replace the current chair, Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, at the next meeting of the Ombudsman Committee on 8th April.
Canal & River Trust (CRT) has appointed Julie Sharman as its head of asset management & performance. The role involves making sure the Trust’s bridges, tunnels, locks and aqueducts are kept in the best condition possible. Julie, who is currently head of enterprise at CRT, took over from George Ballinger, who is retiring, on 1st April.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its Canal Camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work the group has been undertaking.
Photo: Volunteers at IWA West Country Branch's Firepool Lock cleanup (photo by Mike Slade)
IWA West Country Branch’s work party at Firepool Lock on 14th March was attended by thirteen volunteers including the Mayor of Taunton Deane, David Durdan.
The Mayor was very much at home on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal as he has owned his own narrowboats over the years and is a keen supporter of the Branch and its work. He enjoyed chatting to and getting stuck in with the group, which was litter picking, clearing vegetation and weeding.
The Branch’s second work party of the month covered four areas around Bridgwater Docks on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. Twelve volunteers, two of whom were new to volunteering with the Branch, split into groups and worked along the towpath from Crossways Swing Bridge through to Bridgwater Docks, litter picking and weeding as they went. This included weeding around the Dockside equipment located in the Boater's Car park at the Docks.
In total, twenty-five black sacks of rubbish were filled.
Photo: Volunteers at IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch's March work party on the Trent & Mersey Canal (photo by Andy Hellyar-Brook)
Volunteers with IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch were lucky to have much nicer weather for their work party on 19th March than they had faced back in February. The team was at locks 44 and 45 on the Trent & Mersey Canal and spent the day cutting back overgrown vegetation, cleaning setts and copings and preparing for painting. Additionally, the volunteers carried out another litter pick and filled nine bags, despite having litter picked only a month previously.
Altogether, a very satisfying day was had by all with good progress made that will enable the Branch to concentrate on painting as the weather warms up.
Photo: Hilary and Kate at Burslem Arm work party
Volunteers with IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Burslem Port Trust have been exceptionally busy, and once again cleared more vegetation than they could burn on 24th March.
This month the clearance of the junction area was completed and the group started to work along the line of the Canal. This section has so many bushes that progress appears quite slow if you were to look at a map but is massively different when on site. The view from the towpath of the Trent & Mersey Canal to the centre of Burslem has now been revealed and you can start to get a sense of the junction as a destination.
The group from the local Towpath Taskforce continued its tree clearance beside the canal. The group seemed determined to use bowsaws on anything less than about a foot in diameter, which showed some serious dedication. There are just a few trees that will need the trained chainsaw operator to take out at a later date.
Volunteers also collected a selection of debris ranging from a large carpet to a shopping trolley, a washing machine was also spotted at the bottom of the slope but it could not be retrieved. In between the work, time was found to talk with Canal & River Trust about an interpretation project the group is involved with.
The group is certainly enthusiastic and enjoyed themselves as the day flew by. It was also encouraging to have a new volunteer from just a couple of streets away join the group, it would suggest the work and the team behind it, is being noticed by the community. Work parties are currently held on week days but there was a discussion about running a weekend work party as well, please email Steve Wood if this is of interest to you.
Photo: Erewash Canal Cleanup team gathers ready to set off on Saturday (photo by Archie Roberts)
On Friday 27th and Saturday 28th March, volunteers gathered for the annual Erewash Canal Cleanup. Both days, the first led by Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association and the second by IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch, were once again a great success. Despite spells of wet weather, the volunteers covered the distance from Gallows Inn public house to Trent Lock over the two days, a distance of about 8 miles, grappling rubbish from the canal bed and litter picking as they went.
On Friday, about twenty volunteers between Gallows Inn and Sandiacre Lock filled half the pan supplied by Canal & River Trust with bicycles, chairs, tyres and other debris. The opportunity was also taken to clear offside overhanging vegetation in key spots, which has had a significant effect on opening out the restricted channel. On the Saturday, about twenty volunteers were also joined by a section of the 1st Sawley Scouts and their leaders as part of work towards their community badge. Saturday's efforts saw a similar haul of rubbish and debris, which filled the remainder of the pan, although comments were made on how the amount of rubbish had reduced compared to previous years – a welcome result of the group’s hard work.
The Canal is now looking ready for spring and will hopefully be enjoyed more and more as the weather improves.
Photo: Area where tidal gauge will be placed at Chester Dee Lock
Volunteers at IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch’s work party were at Chester Dee Lock on 28th March to cut back overhanging saplings and clear most of the moss from the lock coping stones. This work was carried out in preparation for the installation of a tidal gauge at the Lock. The work completed by volunteers means there is now a better view of the area where the gauge will be installed.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
East Midlands Region - Aegre - March 2015
East Yorkshire Branch - Wolds Waters - April 2015
Warwickshire Branch - Bear Essentials - April 2015
South London and North & East London Branches - Meridian Cuttings - Spring 2015
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
Manchester Branch - Manchester Packet - March 2015
North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch - Knobsticks - Spring 2015
Major IWA events in 2015
2nd - 4th May 2015 -
30th - 31st May 2015 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Cumbria
29th - 31st August 2015 - Festival of Water, Northampton
IWA Branch Events in 2015
3rd - 5th July 2015 - Ware Boat Festival, Hertfordshire
4th - 5th July 2015 - Welsh Waterways Festival, Welshpool, Mid-Wales
Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.
7th April Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
8th April Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th April Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
8th April Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
9th April Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
15th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
16th April Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
17th-18th April Work Party - Milton Keynes (IWA Milton Keynes Branch)
18th April Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
18th April Work Party - Bridgwater & Taunton Canal (IWA West Country Branch)
18th-19th April BCN Cleanup 2015
22nd April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
24th April Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
25th April Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
26th April Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
28th April Work Party - Burslem Arm (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
29th April Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
12th May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
13th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th May Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
14th May Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
16th May Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
20th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
21st May Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
22nd May Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th May Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
27th May Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
30th May Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
31st May Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
5th April Waterside Walk - Llanthony Lock & Over Basin (IWA Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch)
5th April Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, King's Cross to Hitchcock's Hackney (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
7th April Waterside Walk - River Foss (River Foss Society)
19th April Waterside Walk - Thames & Severn Towpath (IWA Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch)
19th April Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, King's Cross to Granary Square (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
26th April Waterside Walk - The Olympics to the Bow Back Rivers (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
3rd May Waterside Walk - Regent's Park to Little Venice (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
5th May Waterside Walk - Huddlesford and Coventry Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
9th May Waterside Walk - River Foss, Terrington to Hovingham (River Foss Society)
17th May Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal, Mile End to Limehouse (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
18th May Waterside Walk - River Ouse, Linton-on-Ouse (River Foss Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public
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
IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways.
See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters