IWA Bulletin August 2010

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IWA National Festival

August Bank Holiday Saturday 28- Monday 30 August 2010

Festival Opening Times:

10am - 6 pm Saturday & Sunday, 10am - 5 pm Monday

IWA is holding it's 2010 National Festival at Beale Park on the River Thames at Pangbourne, near Reading during the August Bank Holiday weekend, 28 - 30 August 2010.  Over 450 visiting boats have now booked. The site features a stunning   riverside campsite and lots of exciting trade and entertainment exhibitors, including  canoeing experiences for the young (and young at heart).

This year the  National Festival also coincides with the centenary of the birth of one of The Inland Waterways Association’s founders - Tom Rolt.  L T C Rolt met with Robert Aickman and others at a historic meeting in August of 1945, at Tardebigge Lock, on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.  This meeting led to the formation of The Inland Waterways Association in the following year.

To celebrate the centenary of Tom’s birth, The Inland Waterways Association will be holding their 2010 Festival in his honour.

Buy your advance tickets now! 20% discount  https://www.iwashop.com/ecommerce/products.asp?cat=241

IWA Dredging Investigation

IWA approached one of its supportive MPs in the House of Commons, Mr David Heyes, MP for Ashton under Lyne to determine the trend for dredging of the network undertaken specifically by British Waterways, and also to inquire if any additional details were available for the Environment Agency.

In seeking this information, as part of its SOS campaign to ensure adequate fundig for the waterways, IWA was attempting to determine if the condition of the waterways was improving, being maintained in a steady state, or in-fact; possibly deteriorating from the point of view of boaters, i.e. is there enough depth of water for navigation; in as much as the cuts in grant in aid might be affecting the amount of dredging being able to be undertaken, both in terms of ‘amount’ dredged and cost incurred.

In answer to a series of detailed questions the Waterways Minister gave the following information:

This year’s plans:

British Waterways currently has plans to dredge between 30 kilometres (km) and 40 km of its waterways during 2010-11. This will take place at 18 locations, at an estimated cost of £4.5 million.

The Environment Agency plans to dredge a number of sites across its navigations in 2010-11; these will cover an equivalent length of 5 kms. Due to the fact that nearly all of the Environment Agency's navigations are heavily modified natural watercourses, with high flows naturally removing or re-profiling shoals and silt deposits, this greatly reduces the need for the agency to dredge extensive lengths of waterway.

Distance dredged in last ten years:

British Waterways estimates that it has dredged the following lengths of waterways for each of the past 10 years:

                 Length (km)

2000-01   143

2001-02   113

2002-03    90

2003-04    95

2004-05    40

2005-06    64

2006-07    58

2007-08    53

2008-09    45

2009-10    64

The Environment Agency does not maintain detailed records on the length of navigation dredging it has undertaken. However, it estimates that it has dredged a length of waterway equivalent to 5km per year, across its waterways over each of the past 10 years.

Current distance in need of dredging:

British Waterways estimates that 291 kilometres (km) of their canals and rivers require dredging, and are prioritised accordingly out of the total of 3,283 km for which they are responsible.

The Environment Agency considers that the current dredging operations of around 5km per year meets the requirements of its navigations, and believes that this level best balances the cost/benefit for navigation with the needs of the environment.

Actual quantity dredged:

British Waterways estimates that it has removed the following volumes of materials from its waterways in each of the past 10 years:

                 Volume cubic metres

2000-01     162,000

2001-02     155,000

2002-03     113,000

2003-04     136,000

2004-05       64,000

2005-06       89,000

2006-07     125,000

2007-08       93,000

2008-09       97,000

2009-10       64,000

The Environment Agency estimates that on average it dredges some 50,000 cubic metres of material from its navigations per year. Some of this material is not removed, but is re-distributed to other parts of the river bed within key sites.

Freedom Of Information Request to BW -

IWA asked supplementary questions of BW to ascertain how much waterway was in need of dredging for the period shown 2000-2010. in order to determine if the situation of siltation was increasing or decreasing or being 'maintained'

We received information for the three years as shown.( No other accurate records exist).

Year    Lengths with surveys km    Lengths needing dredging km

2008    3155                                  338

2009    3236                                  318

2010    3283                                  291


It is clear from the figures that whilst on the surface matters may or may not be being maintained at a steady state, there has been a distinct tailing off of dredging, which inevitably will affect the ability for navigation, with 291 km of BW's netqwork requiring dredging and expenditure available to only dredge 30-40 km – or 13% of the system.

Summary of consultation comments from Waterways for Everyone

 Defra has published the results of the consultation on Waterway for everyone.

161 responses were received to the consultation including those from public bodies, private companies and non-profit organisations. There was a mixture of responses from large organisations, micro, small and medium sized enterprises, non-governmental organisations and individuals. A full list of respondents can be found at Annex A of the report.

Summary of responses

 The responses received covered a very wide range of views as well as suggestions for amending the proposed strategy. A summary of the responses received to each of the 23 questions in the consultation is set out in section 4 of the report  together with a number of comments raised about the Environment chapter. Details of the common issues arising are summarised below.

The large majority of respondents expressed their support for the aims of the strategy - to widen recognition of the multiple benefits from the inland waterways and to achieve better engagement between those who manage the waterways and those who benefit from them – a key aim of the project to create a civil society organisation responsible for the inland waterways. However, many respondents also stated that without adequate and secure funding from Government, the proposal to establish a civil society organisation would be undeliverable in practice.

 A summary of the wide range of views expressed on the possible transfer of British Waterways to civil society is set out in the summary of responses to Question 21. Additionally, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has proposed that an Inland Waterways Conservancy be established as a variant on the suggested transfer of British Waterways to civil society.

 A number of respondents felt that the strategy paid too much attention to the canal network and the urban environment, rather than covering the wide and varied range of inland waterways in England and Wales and the differing benefits that they provide for local communities.

 A large number of respondents took the view that the inconsistent approach adopted by local and regional authorities on a wide range of issues that affect inland waterways, has contributed to a lack of progress in a number of areas. They were particularly concerned about inconsistent approaches to planning on issues such as regeneration, restoration projects, moorings, protection of wharves, green infrastructure, bank side development and towpath maintenance. A number also pointed out that the cross boundary nature of the waterways made it all the more important that a consistent approach is adopted. Some respondents felt that the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) should be providing clear guidance to facilitate greater consistency. It was also felt by some that local authorities should take greater responsibility for the management and maintenance of the waterways within their geographical area of responsibility. However, others felt that funding pressures at the local level played a major role in preventing local authority investment in the waterways and in their ability to contribute to their maintenance.

Several respondents, particularly those involved in waterways freight operations, pointed out that the strategy incorrectly indicated that waterborne freight on the inland waterways was declining whereas over the past 5 years it has actually increased. They asked that the strategy be amended to reflect this. They also felt that policy for waterborne freight on the inland waterways should be more clearly identified as resting with the Department for Transport. More detailed comments can be found in the summary of responses to question 13.

 A significant number of respondents indicated that the strategy should set out the Government’s policy on residential boating. They also felt that CLG should actively encourage residential boating and instruct local authorities to do the same by encouraging the development of more residential moorings.

 Several individuals and canoeing organisations expressed concerns about the restrictions placed on access to inland waterways for canoeists and other unpowered craft and have pointed to the right of access to waterways that exists in Scotland. While there was acknowledgement that some progress has been made in developing voluntary access agreements on some stretches of waterway, many felt that this voluntary approach was not working and that the example set in Scotland should be followed in England and Wales. The issue of pedestrian and equestrian access to waterside paths was also raised.

 A large number of boaters expressed the view that without boats the waterways would not be an attractive resource capable of delivering the wide range of potential benefits it already does. Most felt that the waterways had deteriorated over the past 5 years and were continuing to do so. They also felt that the primary role of navigation authorities should be to maintain the waterway for navigation purposes and that other benefits should be funded separately by local and central government. A number felt that as boaters are the only users who contribute directly to the upkeep of the waterways, via licence fees, that they should play a bigger role in deciding how resources are allocated.

The Inland Waterways Advisory Council (IWAC) suggested that while it supported the broad aims of the strategy, a shorter statement was needed that the whole Government signed up to. It also felt that greater clarity was needed about how the aims of the strategy could be achieved and that more consideration should be given to devolving waterways policy and practice to Wales.

Government’s proposals on the way forward

On 21 June the new Government announced that: i) it would be further investigating the establishment of a civil society organisation responsible for the inland waterways subject to the outcome of the forthcoming Spending Review and ii) it had decided not to proceed with a revised strategy for the inland waterways at present. The need for a revised strategy will be kept under review once the outcome of the spending review is known, and in the light of progress made towards a civil society future for the waterways.

The Government’s position on the issues related to local authorities set out above and covered in Questions 3, 4 and 5 of the report, is that these are matters for local authorities themselves as they are best placed to decide how to deal with the issues raised given that the situation in each local authority will be different and may require different solutions.

Since the close of this consultation, the Government has confirmed that it will abolish Regional Strategies through a Decentralisation Bill. This will be introduced into Parliament in December 2010. Ahead of this legislation Regional Strategies were revoked on 7 July 2010 thus regional planning has ceased to exist in England. Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) will also be abolished. Instead, the Government has decided to establish Local Enterprise Partnerships to provide the strategic leadership in their areas to set out local economic priorities, These partnerships could operate at the spatial scale of a local authority or a number of local authorities working together, but it will be up to local authorities to decide whether they want to work together or not.

 The Local Development Framework prepared by the local authority is now the sole statutory development plan and there are no longer any "statutory" regional planning bodies. The Department for Communities and Local Government will not be issuing any guidance on these matters or directions to local authorities to plan at the spatial tier above locality.

In the light of these changes, Defra says that  it is even more important for navigation authorities to work closely with local authorities and local communities to capture the enthusiasm that undoubtedly exists for local waterways in order to grow the public benefits delivered by the waterways. Indeed, the civil society approach should facilitate this based on a more bottom up and locally driven approach to waterways management.

Defra states that it is grateful for all the work that the navigation authorities, IWAC and other stakeholders have put into both the thinking for the development of Waterways for Everyone and in responding to the consultation. It states that the decision not to publish an updated strategy does not mean that all this hard work has been wasted - many of the issues raised are already being considered either as part of work underway or as a valuable resource to assist us in drawing up the purpose and governance of any new civil society organisation. Much of what we want to achieve for the waterways can be progressed through this route.

Where it is not possible to pursue the issues that arose in response to the consultation via the civil society project, Defra will discuss how best to proceed with the relevant Government departments in light of the changed policy landscape. http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/waterways/summary-responses.pdf

IWAC to be Abolished by Government

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has announced reforms to more than 30 of Defra’s arm’s length bodies.

Defra has around 90 arm’s length bodies, many of which were set up in a time when our understanding of and engagement with environmental issues was less mainstream.  Most of the things that these bodies do are now part of what the Government does as a matter of course, others are now no longer necessary.

Caroline Spelman said:

“This Government is committed to being the greenest Government ever and the Structural Reform Plan published last week sets out how Defra will play its part in achieving this.  Reducing the deficit is the priority for the Government and all departments are playing their part in making efficiency savings.

“Together with Chris Huhne I am determined to play the lead role in driving the sustainability agenda across the whole of government and I am not willing to delegate this responsibility to an external body.

“The effective delivery of public services is essential and I am committed to increasing the transparency and accountability of Defra’s public bodies and to reducing their numbers and costs.  Times have changed since many of these bodies were set up and much of what they do is now everyday Government business.”

The Secretary of State announced that she will be:

•       Withdrawing Defra funding from the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC);

•       Abolishing the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution;

•       Abolishing the Agricultural Wages Board, the 15 Agricultural Wages Committees, the 16 Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees and the Committee on Agricultural Valuation;

•       Abolishing the Inland Waterways Advisory Council; and

•       Abolishing the Commons Commissioners.

Caroline Spelman continued:

“We will continue to liaise closely with the Sustainable Development Commission’s partners and will work with business, civil society, local communities, universities and internationally, to help deliver sustainable development together.

“The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee will provide powerful democratic scrutiny of Government’s work in this area.”

The arm’s length body review will make Defra a leaner, stronger department – with a renewed and clearer focus on its key priorities and a simplified structure for delivering those priorities; underpinned by a robust, credible and efficient science base.

The Secretary of State will continue to look closely at other Defra arm’s length bodies and will make any further announcements as appropriate.


Defra’s Structural Reform Plan was published last week and sets out three departmental strategic priorities:

•       to support and develop British farming and encourage sustainable food production;

•       to help to enhance the environment and biodiversity to improve quality of life; and

•       to support a strong and sustainable green economy, which is resilient to climate change.

After the abolition of the Inland Waterways Advisory Council Defra will develop future policy in this area. We [Defra]will strengthen our relations with stakeholders who have an interest in inland waterways.

All necessary approvals to carry out the abolitions and dissolutions of Defra’s arm’s length bodies will be made via the Public Bodies Reform Bill. http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/2010/07/22/arms-length-bodies/

IWA Inglesham Lock Restoration Appeal

Donations are now starting to come in and we have recieved  £2730.00 with another £1240.00 pledged.  More donations are clearly welcomed.

Should supporters require a donations form or explanatory leaflet, these can be downloaded from http://www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/donation_form_inglesham

Pre-prepared copy suitable for use in branch or region magazines is also down-loadable, together with stand alone posters at yyyy.

Supporters are reminded that it is important to ensure that any copy or material advertsing or soliciting donations on behalf of the Association must also show that we are a registered charity. please ensure that you are using the correct copy , sourced only from these sites.

IWA Trustee Elections

Members are advised there is a ballot paper appended to the centre pages of the Autumn edition of Waterways magazine (issued week commencing 1st August) for the election of IWA trustees, together with a brief biography of each candidate. This year there are seven trustees standing for five positions. Please dont miss out on your opportunity to participate in IWA's democratic process.

IWA Volunteering Opportunities

14th Aug Mon & Brec Canal Camp
14th Aug Basingstoke Canal Camp
21st Aug WRG's 40th b-day party

IWA Local News

IWA Lichfield branch organised a waterway clear up alonside the  Trent and Mersey Canal Walk through Rugeley,as part of a campaign to upgrade the canal corridor and encourage more boaters to moor in Rugeley.

About 18 people, including police, town councillors and helpers from the Community Payback Programme, met to work along the route on Sunday 18 July. Litter was removed throughout Rugeley and down to the Mossley Tavern.They also cleaned off graffiti, painted fences and a bench and cut down overgrown vegetation. Many of the boat mooring rings had also become overgrown, so the vegetation was cleared away. http://www.thisislichfield.co.uk/news/Team-clears-route-attract-boaters-town/article-2441665-detail/article.html

Other news

Last six months second driest in the UK in 96 years, say scientists

The last six months have been the second driest recorded in the UK in 96 years, with river flows in some areas at their lowest levels in 50 years and much of northern England and western Scotland now "exceptionally" water-stressed.

Provisional June figures released today by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, a publicly funded leading research establishment, also show reservoir levels falling rapidly in north-west England and Wales. However, underground water levels in most major aquifers in Eastern, Central and Southern England are at normal levels, suggesting restrictions on water use will not be needed over most of Britain. A hosepipe ban has been imposed on 6.5m people in the north-west.

The regional drought, which has hit the normally wet, western areas of Britain unusually hard, is now causing "significant" environmental and ecological stress, says the centre which monitors river flows, underground water levels and soil moisture. North-west England in particular, has received nearly 40% less rain than normal this year, with only 1929 on record as being drier. Without an extremely wet November 2009, the situation would have been far worse, suggests the centre.http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/14/uk-drought-2010

See also: Leeds and Liverpool Canal at risk of Partial Closure ( reported in Mid July Bulletin)-Narrowboat companies have started moving fleets from the 60-mile approaches to the Pennine summit of the canal after British Waterways announced the shutdown, which will affect the stretch between Gargrave, in the Yorkshire Dales, and Wigan from 2 August. The unusual move follows a precipitous drop in the seven moortop reservoirs that feed the 127-mile canal on either side of the watershed.http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jul/14/leeds-liverpool-canal-closure-drought

Kidderminster canal Festival

Kidderminster on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal is hosting its first ever canal festival this summer.

The canal side will come to life 19 to 21 August, as residents and visitors are invited to the town centre to join the fun. Boat owners are especially encouraged to visit and moor up over the festival period.


No action against boater who struck Caen Hill lock

British Waterways is not going to take action against the boater who struck a lock gate on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Devizes causing £45,000 damage.

The entire Caen Hill flight of locks was closed for over two weeks following the incident on June 22. Two boats were using lock 24 when the damage occurred. According to British Waterways  a hire boat got through the left side of the lock but a private boat struck the right gate. http://www.gazetteandherald.co.uk/news/8273344.No_action_against_boater_who_struck_lock/

Huw Irranca Davies 'Humbled' by IWA gesture

At  IWA’s recent Parliamentary reception at the House of Commons on the 15 June  Huw Irranca Davies former Waterways Minister was presented with a paperback, detailing the History of the Waterways, by means of a thank you for all the hard work he did as a Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by IWA. Huw commented: “I’m humbled by such a nice gesture. I only hope I can maintain the same optimism and drive in opposition as I did in government. Inland Waterways are an important part of our national heritage and I hope they continue to prosper.” http://iwc2.labouronline.org/166019/huw-presented-book-for-his-work-as-minister-at-iwa-reception

BW London Olympics Moorings Survey

British waterways has launched an online survey for boaters wishing or thinking about wanting to navigate around the waterways of London around the time of the Olympics in order to try and ensure the right provision of moorings. The short online survey asks coastal and inland boaters from UK and overseas to indicate their preference for the different mooring locations that may be available as well as the services and transit moorings required. It will run throughout the summer and closes on 30 September 2010. www.surveymonkey.com/s/2012moorings

Volunteering opportunities –BW launch new Web site

British Waterways has launched an online service for people wishing to undertake volunteering work on the waterways. The site advertises opportunities and allows individuals to register for certain types of work in a variety of fields of work, including office based, not just manual labour. The introduction of the service is a radical signal of the willingness of British Waterways to embrace volunteering and we welcome the initiative as a practical demonstration of a changing attitude. http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/be-part-of-it/volunteering/what-you-can-do

River Wey – Historic boat Appeal

The National Trust has launched an appeal to raise £200,000 to save a rare historic barge once used to carry wheat from the London Docks to Surrey. The barge is believed to have been rebuilt at Dapdune Wharf in 1964 to 66 and underwent two further extensive restoration programmes in 1986 to 87 and 1998. The National Trust said Perseverance IV's deteriorating condition has put a time limit on the fundraising campaign. It hopes to raise the £200,000 by 17 September, and take over ownership of the barge. http://www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/other_news/perseverance_appeal

Charity Guidelines

The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on Fundraising - see  http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/publications/cc20.aspx?#a1

Contact Us

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

01494 783 453


Bulletin is edited by Jo Gilbertson 01494 783453