IWA Bulletin December 2011


IWA News

Other News

Other Information

Top Story

IWA’s Parliamentary Campaign for CRT Funding

Since Parliament resumed after the Summer Recess, IWA has been active in liaising with MPs who are waterways supporters, over the proposals for British Waterways to cease to exist next April with its network and statutory obligations transferring to the Canal & River Trust (CRT).

The Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, had said that there was some ‘wiggle room’ over the £39m per annum offer to the CRT, and the Government response to the representations it received on its New Era for the Waterways consultation announced that the Government was in negotiation with the CRT Transition Trustees. The Trustees themselves are on the public record as saying that the current offer of £39m per year is not enough.

IWA has been consistently supportive of the move of the British Waterways network into the third sector, with consistent qualifications – the most serious being that the Government must ensure that the CRT is financially viable. IWA has been vocal in its concern that the offer is inadequate. In this critical time for the negotiations, IWA has been seeking to expose and place on the public record the cost of certain major liabilities and has focused particularly on bridges, BW pensions and dredging, in order to more fully understand the exact nature of the funding gap that might exist and to ensure that our supporters in Parliament are made aware so that they might make representations to the Minister.

IWA has therefore been working with MPs to table Parliamentary Questions and has  elicited the following information.

Bridges: It will be clear to many waterway users that the condition of many bridges across the network is one of substantial and on-going disrepair and as such is a source of major concern. IWA sought a wide range of information about the cost of maintaining bridges that cross BW's inland waterways network. Some information was not provided due it not being kept or due to “disproportionate cost”. But key material to emerge was that BW estimates that to keep its bridges in England and Wales at ‘steady state’ ( ie to prevent further deterioration) would cost £3.3m per annum. In 2010/11 BW spent £1.15m on major repairs and an additional £205k on routine maintenance. Some way short of what it should be spending if it had the money, and far below what is required to bring them into a well maintained condition.  

BW Pensions: IWA's questions revealed that in March 2010, the BW pension deficit was £65.6m. IWA is arguing that the Government should retain past pension liability allowing the CRT to begin life with a clean sheet on pension liability in respect of retired former state employees. 

Dredging: In response to IWA questioning, Defra has confirmed that around 287km of the network requires dredging and the cost of that would be about £40m. In 2011/12, BW plans to dredge 45km at a cost of £4.2m. IWA has already determined elsewhere that in order to maintain a ‘steady state’ approximately £8m is required to be spent on dredging each year in addition to the £40 m needed to address the backlog.

Current expenditure is therefore thought to be half that needed to maintain the network from further deterioration, and will not be capable of remedying any of the current backlog. 


IWA News

IWA Call to Arms Campaign

IWA is grateful to all of its members and waterway supporters who have taken the time and trouble to contact their MPs and other political representatives drawing their attention to the on-going contract discussions between Defra and the CRT transition trustees over funding.
IWA understands that the response has been very good, and feedback from various sources indicates that MPs are taking the time to contact key stakeholders to check facts and ask further questions, which is exactly what we were seeking to gain from the public campaign.

IWA is currently seeking to co-ordinate interest amongst MPs to hold an adjournment debate on the issues surrounding the formation of the CRT, and particularly the need for adequate funding to maintain the system. 


Minister to Account to The All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group

The All Party Group has reconvened to hold a hearing with the Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP on 8th December.

The primary purpose of the hearing is to provide the Minister with the opportunity to report to the All Party Group on the Government’s Response to the views it received on its New Era consultation about the future of the inland waterways, including the consideration that the Government gave to the Group’s Memorandum – The Future of the Waterways – that it submitted to Defra last July. This focussed on appropriate governance for the Canal & River Trust and the need for adequate financing.

All Party Group Members will no doubt want an update on progress with achieving good governance and appropriate financing for CRT and will want to be assured that everything is on track for a successful launch of the CRT in April next year in a manner that safeguards the future of the inland waterways in the short, medium and long term. The Group can also be expected to want to know what provision Government has planned so that any unexpected difficulties that the new charity may face in its early years – financial or otherwise – do not jeopardise a fully functioning network that delivers undisputed public benefits.


IWA Public Relations & Communications Internship

Public relations and social media is of continuing importance to The Inland Waterways Association, and we need someone to help with the day-to-day duties of helping us manage and develop our local and national public relations and social networking channels.

The role will involve supporting the Campaign and Communications Manager at our Head Office in Chesham in a number of different ways: 

  • Input into the ground work of our public relations and media strategy,
  • Share a love of the inland  waterways and the fact that  they  need support  from both IWA members and the public,  
  • Identifying and sharing ‘people’ and ‘campaign’  stories about IWA's local work and campaigns in the local press around the country,
  • Helping to ‘socialise’ news and current affairs, making them more sharable via social media channels,
  • Some administrative/data entry duties.

The post will be ideally suited to someone with a public relations or journalism background who is looking to develop their experience.

This internship is for between 2-5 days per week for 6 months and will offer the right applicant a chance to work within a team on Public Relations matters. It will provide you with an insight into how NGOs are using media to engage with and inspire supporters. It will also provide an insight into the workings of a campaigns and communications office.


  • Demonstrable familiarity with Microsoft Office, plus
  • Excellent writing skills for a varied audience
  • A love of waterways
  • An understanding of social networking channels
  • Good research/analytical skills
  • An eye for a good story

Appropriate support training will be provided and expenses will be reimbursed where appropriate.

For an informal conversation about the position please contact Jo Gilbertson, Campaign and Communications Manager: 01494 783 453 ext. 611

Closing date for all applications is 30th December 2011.

Our internship is designed to offer work experience. However, doing an internship cannot, unfortunately, guarantee future employment with IWA.

Download application pack www.waterways.org.uk/documents/intern_app_pack2011


IWA Responds to Proposed New Big Lottery Fund Policy Consultation

The Big Lottery Fund have been carrying out research with representatives of organisations to get their views on how their processes might be improved.

The proposed new directions excluded a priority relating to the improvement of ‘rural and urban environments, which communities are better able to access and enjoy’. IWA believes that this was an important feature of the previous directions and should be retained.

IWA does not believe that BLF should seek to ‘identify and enable’ leaders as an activity separate from the solutions themselves since in most instances the leaders will already be in place and the major obstacle facing them is a lack of funding to implement their plans.

IWA believes that BLF should broaden its funding horizons to include more ‘physical’ projects in addition to ‘people-related’ activities. The restoration of a waterway can bring enormous added-value in terms of social cohesion, community development, employment and training opportunities as well as provision for a whole host of leisure and health-related activities.

The policy considers the spread of projects but do not specifically identify the benefits of ‘linear’ projects that link a number of localities and communities, such as the restoration of lengths of derelict waterway that pass through a number of local authorities and regions, even crossing national boundaries.

IWA believes that since there are already EU and Government schemes targeting the most disadvantaged areas, by spreading funding into all areas and communities BLF can make a real difference and bring added value.


news_2012workingholidaysWaterway Recovery Group Working Holidays 2012

Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has launched its new programme of unique weeklong holidays, known as ‘Canal Camps’ designed to restore England’s derelict canals to their former glory. Canal Camps give you the chance to do your bit for the environment whilst having a fun holiday.

Jobs include the restoration of structures, operation of plant and machinery, stonework, vegetation clearance. Skills learnt may include heritage restoration, machinery operation, teamwork, conservation techniques, and demolition.

Canal Camps also meet all the criteria for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme residential project.

It’s a totally unique holiday which only costs £56 per week (includes food & basic accommodation). Volunteers need no previous experience - all they require is a willingness to get involved and a good sense of fun.

For more information about the holidays please see www.wrg.org.uk or to request a brochure email Jenny on enquiries@wrg.org.uk or call 01494 783 453 ext 604


IWA Trailboat Festival 2012 (Stroud on Water) Website Operational

IWA Trailboat Festival organisers for 2012 now have their website fully operational.

The 2012 Trailboat Festival is planned to take place on the Stroudwater Navigation in Gloucestershire over the weekend of 2nd - 4th June.

The event is called “Stroud on Water”, and will also celebrate the work undertaken on phase 1a restoration of the canal, and the 40th anniversary of the Cotswold Canals Trust who are organising it.

Trailboaters can download an application form from their website. www.stroudonwater.org.uk/



IWA Lichfield Branch Litter Pick at Rugeley

IWA's Lichfield Branch organised a litter pick on the Trent & Mersey Canal which took place on Saturday 19th November.

The branch was joined by twelve young volunteers from the First Armitage Cubs group who spent a morning picking up litter along nearly 3 miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal. The cubs walked from The Mossley at Rugeley to the church at Armitage, clearing the towpath and adjacent areas of unsightly plastic bags, cans, bottles and assorted rubbish. Equipment and support was provided by British Waterways. The cubs, along with parents and IWA members, filled about 20 large sacks with litter, and even retrieved a supermarket trolley from the bottom of a steep embankment. The enthusiastic youngsters worked hard to improve the canal environment for local people, visitors and wildlife.

(Photo by Phil Sharpe)


Over £350 Raised for IWA Through Online Shopping Scheme

Doing your Christmas shopping online?

If you buy goods online or participate in grocery home shopping, then you could raise additional funds for IWA by simply signing up to the easyfundraising.org.uk scheme.

Over £350 has been raised for IWA so far!

The easyfundraising.com scheme is absolutely free to you and IWA can gain donations from the participating retailers of up to 2.5% of the value of your shopping when you use it.

Read more about the easyfundraising.org.uk scheme.


IWA Calendar Competition

IWA is looking for photos for IWA's 2013 Calendar and offering three free calendars to the photographers whose photos are used.

You can check out the current entrants in our online gallery. www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/calendar_competition_entries

Think you can do better? It's not too late!

For more information on how to enter please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/calendar_photo_competition

Closing date: 31st January 2012



Inglesham Fundraising Update

£60,119 has been pledged so far.

Read about the progress that has been made at Inglesham Lock www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/appeals/restoration_update

To enable WRG to continue work in 2012 please donate www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1294



IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Events Volunteering

Find out about volunteering opportunities at IWA's 2012 events www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/volunteer/event_volunteers


IWA Branch and Region Help Wanted

For a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches and regions please go to: www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies


Other News

New Website to Help Boaters Live Safely With Their Stoves

The Boat Safety Scheme has launched a set of web pages, published with the aim of helping people who have a solid fuel stove on their boat, to live with it safely.

Last year there were 14 incidents involving solid fuel stoves being used on boats and in the last decade at least two dozen boaters have been hurt and five have died in incidents linked to stove use.

Boaters with solid fuel stoves on their boats have a new source of advice to help avoid the two deadly threats of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning, and at the same time, save money on fuel, with the launch of a stove safety portal on the Boat Safety Scheme's stay-safe website, www.boatsafetyscheme.com/solidfuelstoves.



200 Year Old Bridge Saved as Part of Buckingham Arm Restoration

Buckingham Canal Society continues in its work to restore the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal and has completed the re-pointing and repair of one of the remaining original bridges over the canal. The sympathetic brick and stone restoration by skilled craft members of the Society included hand making clay bricks to achieve the original shape and size. The bridge provides a farmer’s access across the canal as part of that section.

Since its opening in 1801, the canal has previously been used to transport bricks, coal and manufactured goods as well as imports from the London Docks. It also provided transport for agricultural produce from the farms and villages along its route.

The waterway to Buckingham ran for just under 11 miles from the Grand Union Canal at Cosgrove Lock along the Stony Stratford and Buckingham Arms. The original route passed through Old Stratford, Deanshanger, Thornton, Leckhampstead Wharf, Thornborough Mill, Maids Moreton Mill and Bourton Meadow. Much of the canal is now dry, and parts have been built over. Certain sections of the route would need to be created anew due to the development that has taken place in and around villages since the canal’s closure. 

Early in 2010, BCS commissioned an outline feasibility study regarding the restoration of the entire length of the canal arm. The report concluded that it was a feasible project, although significant funding and commitment will be required.

BCS is actively seeking new members to join the existing membership of around 200 and welcomes participation at all levels from the community. BCS is also actively seeking grant and other funding to progress its restoration activities working in partnership with local authorities in the area as well as other private companies. 

Further work is planned for the Cosgrove and Buckingham end sections of the canal route. New volunteers are always welcome and the society runs three work parties a month on alternate Thursdays and on the second Sunday of each month. No experience necessary!

For more details, please visit the BCS website at buckinghamcanal.org.uk or email info@buckinghamcanal.org.uk



Cromford Canal Aqueduct Reopened

The restored historic cast-iron aqueduct carrying the Cromford Canal over the railway at Leawood, near High Peak Junction was reopened on the 28th November by Councillor Simon Spencer, Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council (DCC).

Throughout the summer the towpath was closed while contactors worked to restore this structure.

This aqueduct is a scheduled monument and is the only surviving example of a suspension girder bridge left in the country. Repairs are needed to address the corrosion and there are concerns about its long term stability.

The restoration has been funded by DCC in such a manner that it does not prevent restoration in future, and the Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC) look forward to making use of it for boat traffic. It will also allow better access for working parties on the canal south of the aqueduct.

The Cromford Canal, built in the 1790’s, sought to unlock Derbyshire’s immense mineral wealth, especially its limestone, lead and coal. The canal had a profound influence on the economic growth of central Derbyshire.

The photo from left to right are: Councillor Simon Spencer Deputy Leader of DCC, Pat Morriss Chirman Friends of the Cromford Canal and Councillor Jack Brown Amber Valley Borough Council.


Suspected Arson at Fourteen Locks Canal Centre

The cause of a fire at the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre in Newport is being investigated.

Three appliances, including a water bowser, tackled the blaze in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 12th November. South Wales Fire and Rescue say they found two separate seats of fire in the café and office at the centre in Rogerstone.

The Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust, which is restoring the locks, runs the centre which attracts around 50,000 visitors a year.

The trust and council have secured more than £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other groups to restore two pairs of locks, originally named Cefn Flight which served the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal.

The full article and video footage is available on the BBC website www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-15705982


Chasewater Reservoir Repairs Nearing Completion

Staffordshire County Council has reported that most of the main works to the north of the Wyrley & Essington canal are now complete, and the repair works to the canal basin are also nearing completion.

Water levels in the reservoir are reported to be rising.

Subject to weather conditions over the winter, it is planned that the works will be completed and the site cleared by late March/early April 2012.

For more information please visit the Chasewater Dam Blogspot www2.lichfielddc.gov.uk/chasewaterdam/


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing *NEW*
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Narrowboat Services - 10% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • UK Boat Hire - up to 20% discount on 2012 holidays
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard
  • Worcester Marine Windows Ltd - 5% discount

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 that receive a hard copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.


Upcoming Work Parties

Please see below for a list of canal restoration and clean-up events.

3rd - 4th December - Wilts and Berks Canal (London WRG/KESCRG Christmas Dig)
Details: Christmas Party Dig on the Wilts and Berks Canal - lots of scrub bashing and Christmas fun! This is a joint dig between London WRG and the Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group (KESCRG).
Contact: london@wrg.org.uk

4th December - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: Work party to improve the Brindley Bank Aqueduct and 'Bloody Steps' area. 10 am start and finishing about 12.30 pm. The work includes more excavation of the historic tramway line, clearing undergrowth, litter picking and graffiti removal.  No experience necessary; all equipment provided. 
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore at margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk or 07581 794111.

10th - 11th December - Cotswolds (wrgBITM)
Details: This will be wrgBITM's Christmas Work Party.
Contact: bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

To advertise your upcoming cleanup/restoration events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/


Upcoming Towpath Walks

4th December - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
King’s Cross – Camden, meet 2.30pm Kings Cross Station taxi rank. Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

18th December - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: Little Venice – Camden. Meeting point: Warwick Avenue Station. Cost: £8 Concessionary and student rate: £6. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

27th December - Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal (London Walks)
Details: Little Venice, Paddington Arm. Meeting Point: Edgware Rd Station (Circle). Cost: £8 Concessionary and student rate: £6. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

To advertise your towpath walks in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar http://www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/


Contact Us

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

01494 783 453


Bulletin is edited by Gemma Bolton