IWA welcomed the announcement by Canal & River Trust (CRT), on 22nd November, that it has “significantly changed” its proposals to revise its licence fees for commercial and non-profit-making group boat operations.
On behalf of many of its corporate members, particularly hire boat and trip boat operators and waterway societies, IWA had objected strongly to the previous proposals that had been put out for consultation over the summer. IWA is pleased that all but two of its main objections to the proposals have been reconsidered.
On hearing of the revised proposals, IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge, said “IWA had been extremely concerned that the previous proposals would discourage new and younger people from getting involved with the waterways. We are pleased that CRT has listened and responded to our concerns”.
For more information on the Review see the consultations page at Canal & River Trust's website.
See IWA's press release.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, announced the publication of the Hybrid Bill for Phase 1 of HS2, as expected, on 25th November.
In 2011, the Government announced its preferred route for the £42 billion HS2 high speed rail line between London and the Midlands. The route, also known as Phase 1, showed several canal crossing points and since then IWA has been involved with the proposals, locally and nationally.
The bill is a hybrid (which has features of both a public and private parliamentary bill) to speed up its passage into Parliament. This starts the parliamentary process, as well as allowing limited groundworks and investigations to get under way - but nothing major. The First Reading of the bill is a formality and does not require any voting or discussion.
The process the bill now goes through is well described on HS2 Ltd’s website as follows:
"The Parliamentary process
Following First Reading of the hybrid Bill and the deposit of supporting documents, Standing Orders require a public consultation on the formal Environmental Statement. This formal consultation will be held over a period of 56 days (eight weeks). A summary of comments on the formal Environmental Statement will be provided to inform Second Reading of the Bill.
At Second Reading, the principles of the hybrid Bill are agreed, including the justification for a high speed railway, and a Select Committee is then set up.
This is followed by a petitioning period during which those specially and directly affected by the Bill can petition. These petitions are then considered by the Select Committee, which may result in amendments to the hybrid Bill. A Public Bill Committee of Members of Parliament then reviews the Bill, and may make amendments to the public elements of the Bill, after which the Bill undergoes its Report and Third Reading stage.
The Bill then transfers to the House of Lords, where a similar process is followed. The Bill returns to the House of Commons for consideration of any amendments made in the House of Lords and following this receives Royal Assent, becoming an Act of Parliament."
The process of petitioning, where anyone affected by the railway or its impact, can petition Parliament to get some conditions or constraints put on the bill is, as above, after the second reading when a select committee has been set up to consider the petitions. Assuming, for example, the joint IWA-CRT Feasibility Study Report on Fradley does say there is merit in the diversion that IWA has suggested, then Canal & River Trust (the appropriate organisation as operator of the waterway) could petition Parliament at that stage.
The statements that appeared in several newspapers on the 26th November are part of the publication and communication process, and identify amongst much other information dates and locations where copies of the deposited plans can be seen or purchased from. For those interested in accessing the data on the web, Plans and Sections along with the Environmental Statement and supporting reports are on the Department of Transport’s website and HS2's website, and the Bill and accompanying explanatory notes on the Parliament website.
An initial preferred route for Phase 2 from Birmingham to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds was announced in January 2013 and IWA has drafted a response which aims to minimise the visual and noise impact of the new canal crossings. IWA’s draft response will be available for comment until 13th December when it will be withdrawn for updating and preparation for submission.
IWA welcomes a report published by the London Assembly last week on moorings in London.
IWA supports the overall findings of the report, that extra moorings and additional facilities are required on London’s waterways, in order to address the increase in demand. In particular, IWA welcomes the recommendations that require Canal & River Trust to implement changes that should bring about improvements to the current congestion affecting visitor moorings on the canals through the capital.
The report follows an investigation that reported to the London Assembly’s Environment Committee on the demand for and supply of moorings on London’s canals and rivers, and some of the impacts on canal infrastructure, existing boaters and canal-side properties resulting from increasing boat numbers.
Seven recommendations are made in the report, for steps that the relevant responsible bodies should take to alleviate these problems.
IWA supports all of the recommendations, in particular:
IWA cautions, however, that the report may contain an over estimate of the number of actual residential boaters. IWA’s London Region has carried out much research on this and estimates that the number of people living on boats in the London area is around 1500 to 2000 rather than the 10,000 quoted in the report.
Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, said: "The moorings issues in London and elsewhere in the country need to be resolved. IWA will continue to press for a resolution as a priority issue, and for the proposals in this report to be taken forward constructively and fairly for the benefit of all boaters".
IWA Northampton Branch plans to hold its annual May Day Bank Holiday Boat Gathering at Braunston in 2014 – the first time it has been intentionally canal-based in a history stretching back to the late 1970s.
The usual venue has always previously been on the River Nene at Becket’s Park in Northampton, originally being organised as a publicity-generating event to focus attention on maintaining navigation on the river’s Westbridge Arm at Far Cotton and later to promote the waterside at Northampton. However, the last two years have seen the cancellation of the Gathering as a result of river flooding, water supply problems on the linking four and a half mile, seventeen lock Northampton Arm, allied to declining support.
IWA Northampton Branch Chairman Bernard Morton says: “Feedback suggests a switch to a canal-based event seems sensible. Suitable sites for such a gathering in our area are limited, but Tim Coghlan, who runs Braunston Marina and is one of our loyal supporters said: ´Why not come to Braunston? I can find some space for you,´ a generous offer we quickly accepted.
“Importantly, it also gives the Branch an opportunity to promote itself in the far west of its area where many of our members live or keep their boats and who perhaps considered Northampton to be a little too far away to cruise to for a weekend event, especially in view of the heavily locked Arm.”
The Gathering, which is open to IWA and non-IWA members, will run from Friday 2nd May to Monday 5th May. Centred at the former historic Nurser’s Dock on the old Oxford Arm at the Marina, moorings will also be available on the main line of the canal. A full range of attractions is being organised, including evening entertainments, a boaters’ auction, guided walks, quizzes, games, a real ale bar and much more.
For entry details please contact Tony Clarke.
More volunteers are also needed to help organise the Gathering, both before the event and during the weekend. Anyone interested, please contact Bernard Morton on 07785 375787.
IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch has donated money to two local projects, including £800 towards the repair of working boat Ferret. Ferret is one of the principal features at the National Waterways Museum and interests young visitors with the concept of the boatman's cabin being a family living space. Ferret was built at Yarwoods in 1926 for Fellows, Morton and Clayton, initially running cargo to Runcorn and Ellesmere Port, before later going into private ownership.
The private owners, IWA members, visited various waterways festivals where Ferret won awards. Ferret was later one of the first boats to be included in the national collection at Ellesmere Port. Unfortunately, the boat now needs major refurbishment and has been taken out of the water. The work will be carried out by local apprentices at the Heritage Boatyard at the Museum so members will be able to see the work progress.
The branch has also made a donation towards the refurbishment of windows in The Forge at Taylor's Yard. The new tenants at the Yard are making huge efforts to tidy up and restore the structures in this historic boatyard so the committee were happy to offer assistance with the costs of window refurbishment. With a cost just in excess of £1000, the committee considered this a good use of funds to ensure that the building is secured for future generations.
Bernie Jones, Chairman of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust (S&NCT), was presented with the IWA Christopher Power Prize by Alan Platt, IWA Deputy Chairman. Alan presented the Otter Trophy to Bernie along with a cheque to S&NCT for £985, some of which has already been spent on repairs to a turfer winch for removing tree stumps from the canal bed. The presentation ceremony took place at Norbury Wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal, directly opposite the former Newport Branch, and was attended by a number of S&NCT members.
The Christopher Power Prize is awarded to a person, society or trust who has made the most significant contribution to the restoration of an inland waterway. Bernie was elected Chairman of S&NCT in 2011 and has since provided outstanding leadership to the 1100-strong Trust, which has dedicated support groups in Newport, Wappenshall and Shrewsbury.
S&NCT currently has a £1 million bid under consideration by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Winning the bid would allow the Trust to continue its work on the canals by renovating the historic warehouses complex at Wappenshall, a renovation that would include a centre celebrating the work of Thomas Telford.
See the Bernie Jones receiving the Christopher Power Prize on YouTube.
Photo: left, Bernie Jones and right, Alan Platt.
A planning application was submitted to Cherwell District Council on 18th October 2013 on behalf of Scottish Widows for an extensive development alongside the Oxford Canal in Banbury town centre. The proposal includes the erection of a glazed canopy over the Oxford Canal.
IWA Oxfordshire Branch Committee will be meeting shortly to formulate its detailed response and is inviting any comments to be submitted to the Branch Secretary, Brian Saunders.
The planning application can be seen at the Cherwell District Council website.
Download a drawing of the proposed plans (PDF, 2.53 MB) and the Statement of Community Involvement (PDF, 3.61 MB)
Banbury Civic Society have already produced documents relating to the planning application. To see these download the Society's comments (PDF, 632 KB) and detailed response (PDF, 28KB).
Introduce a friend to IWA and help support the waterways this Christmas.
The recipient of annual membership will receive IWA's quarterly 'Waterways' Magazine, packed with articles and waterway news. They will also receive regular information (magazines and newsletters) from their local IWA branch / region and have access to exclusive discounts and special offers for IWA members.
Find out more about Gift Membership.
IWA ran a raffle over its summer festivals in 2013. The winners were drawn by IWA's National Chairman, Les Etheridge at the Annual General Meeting in September.
Approximately 4,700 tickets were entered into the draw raising £3775 for the Association (including donations and Gift Aid).
A full list of winners and those who donated prizes can be viewed on IWA's website.
We are saddened to report the death of Clifford Clarke on 14th November. IWA awarded the Cyril Styring Trophy to Clifford in 1965 for his early work to help save the Chesterfield Canal. At the time, the whole canal was under threat of closure, and it was not until the 1968 Transport Act designated the twenty-six miles between West Stockwith and Worksop as a Cruiseway that the canal looked to have a more secure future.
We are saddened to report the death of waterways photographer Robin Smithett on 15th November. Interested in a variety of modes of transport including steam trains and hot air balloons, in the mid 1980s Robin began to photograph waterways, his interest caught by the aesthetics of brightly coloured boats and picturesque scenery. He was a member of The Guild of Waterway Artists, providing high quality photos for the waterways press, and had a particular affection for Hotel Boats, which led to his book 'Precious Cargo', published in 2000 and widely acclaimed as their definitive history.
We are saddened to report the death of Dr Ian Langford on 17th November. Ian was a long-time supporter of the BCN Society and the Dudley Canal Trust as well as producing a variety of midlands waterway books.
Helen Ringsell has joined the Association's staff at IWA Head Office as Membership Assistant supporting Tracy Higgin, Membership Officer & Office Manager. Helen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01494 783 453 extension 603.
The Winter 2013 edition of Waterways is now available to view online.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
East Midland Region - Aegre - November 2013
During 2013, volunteers from IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch have been working steadily up the Cheshire lock flight, painting lock gates and surrounding hardware as well as carrying out vegetation clearance to bridges and cobble setts. Having started at Rode Heath and completed the work there, the group moved on to the four locks of the Lawton flight at Church Lawton and during September completed the work on the set of locks with many compliments from both local boaters and residents who appreciated the much improved look of the locks.
As a result of this work, a request was made by residents of Malkins Bank near Sandbach enquiring whether the group could do some work on the four locks at Malkins bank. So rather than continue up the flight, the group were happy to switch locations and commenced work in October at lock 63 on the Trent & Mersey Canal Cheshire flight. The set of locks at this location were in a very poor state of repair and much of the metal railing and fencing surrounding the locks was very corroded and rusty. The cobble setts had become very overgrown to a point where they were almost obscured. The group spent much of the first work party rubbing down and preparing both the gates and metalwork for painting., as well as starting work on the cobble setts During the first work party, a first coat of paint was put on the lock gates and the improvement was immediate with the first impression being much improved as boaters and other towpath users approached either end of the lock.
In November, a smaller but nonetheless enthusiastic group continued the work and the weather being unsuitable for wood painting concentrated on the metalwork. The long metal rail running the length of the locks was prepared and then painted with metal rust inhibiting paint. Further vegetation work was also carried out and whilst further work is needed, the overall impact shows a much improved set of locks.
Weather permitting, further work will take place in January and following months to complete the Malkins bank set of locks by spring.
IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch has continued work on the cast iron bridge at Hazelhurst Junction on the Caldon Canal. The work, which started on the September work party, could not, unfortunately, be completed in October due to rain and was postponed until November.
On Thursday 14th November a group of seven volunteers (members of IWA and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust) met up to continue the work. At the time of the first work party the surface of the bridge was mostly bare metal, with a cast iron upstand half way over the bridge creating a trip hazard. Although this had been in evidence before the work party, removal of vegetation and soil had left it more obvious, and so it was left safe with soil built up either side while further research was carried out. The cast iron and stone bridge, built in 1842, is Grade 2 Listed, and dates back to when the current Hazelhurst Locks were built (the third variation in the route of the canal in the Hazelhurst area). Following consultation with Canal & River Trust, it was agreed that the same stone material that is being used on the current towpath repairs through the Churnet Valley would be the best material with which to resurface the bridge.
IWA Guildford & Reading Branch held its second work party on Wednesday 20th November at Fobney Lock on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Despite cold and wet weather, eight individuals met at the car park next to the lock where they began litter picking the area finding a range of strange articles. Having finished here the group moved on to the lock area and then walked up the towpath towards Reading centre. The group made it to County Lock, litter picking all the way from Fobney Lock.
Peak Forest Canal for the November clean-up. Bridge 6 was one of the “Star-points” on the annual weekend clean-up in October and it was on that occasion branch adoption was considered. Now that the branch is confident an adoption is feasible and will not be a millstone of CRT regulations, our November visit was for further appraisal. Numbers averaged around ten at any one time due to comings and goings for those with other commitments but a satisfying amount was achieved. The over-bridge ramp and up-stream ramp cobbles were cleared of grass and weed whilst the once planted soil areas were further pruned and habitats formed. A section of under bridge railing was painted whilst some ten bags of rubbish were litter picked. One ambitious volunteer was determined to uncover the off-side stone work adjacent to the spiral ramp and his efforts were rewarded with the discovery of a further cobbled landing quadrant at water’s edge. Every one of the many passers-by voiced their thanks of our efforts and IWA Manchester Branch looks forward to further improvements following regular monthly visits.and CRT’s Towpath Taskforce returned to Bridge 6 on the
IWA West Country Branch’s Bridgwater Docks Work Party on Tuesday 26th November, supported by CRT, was successful with fourteen volunteers collecting over fifty bags of rubbish from the dock area on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. The group also dragged, fished and grabbed one motorbike, tyres, cones, and other items from the water over an enjoyable four and a half hours. At least four Bridgwater & Taunton boating organisations and local businesses were represented including IWA West Country Branch, the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal Association, CRT and the Environment Agency, many thanks to them all.
IWA West Country Branch will be holding a second Work Party, supported by CRT, on Saturday 1st March 2014. The Work Party will take place at Firepool Lock in Taunton where volunteers will be concentrating on clearing and cutting back trees, brambles, and general debris. Time and weather permitting, the group may also make a start working on the lock and adjacent area. More information will be available from the branch web pages nearer the date.
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 Environment Agency is to restructure over the next twelve months to reduce the overall size of the organisation. This follows a substantial cut in government funding, which is likely to see a loss of 1,700 jobs in the Agency as part of the process. The Agency’s staff will reduce to 9,700 posts by October 2014 from the current level of 11,400 – a reduction itself of 1,800 from October 2011 when it was 13,200, so overall the Agency’s staff will reduce by 3,500 (26.5%) in three years.
The Agency currently has a three-tiered business model, with coordination nationally, regionally and by area. EA plans to change to a two-tier model, removing the regional management. EA says this would allow it to do more things nationally but engage with local communities through delivery at area level, whilst making the most of the funding it has. The implications of this on Navigation are unclear at the moment, other than almost certain reducing funding leading to less maintenance and capital works, and costs to boaters increasing more than inflation year-on-year. These developments highlight how unfortunate the Government’s decision earlier this year to postpone the transfer of the Agency’s navigations to Canal & River Trust was, but should serve to strengthen Thames and other EA navigations boaters’ resolve to press for the transfer as soon as possible.
Whilst the Agency has yet to make a formal announcement, it is planning the timetable for this restructure, which will include consultations with staff, trade unions, partners and stakeholders.
Canal & River Trust engages in commercial activity alongside its delivery of charitable objectives and statutory navigation functions. This commercial activity includes acting as a water supplier to water companies. Examples of these commercial activities include the supply of Bristol with around 50% of its drinking water needs and moving water from the River Dee near Llangollen along CRT canals to supply areas of Cheshire with drinking water. Movements of water like this are fulfilling a vital public service.
This commercial activity is also a valuable source of income for CRT, raising around £2.85 million annually. However, this commercial activity and source of income is threatened by Clause 12 of the Water Bill, which had a Second Reading in the House of Commons on Monday 25th November.
Clause 12 would give the water services regulation authority – Ofwat, the power to change or terminate any water sales agreement on the application of a water company without the consent of CRT. This potential interference from Ofwat poses a threat to the balanced delivery of water sales, which are currently provided in a way that does not distract form the delivery of CRT’s statutory navigation functions and charitable objectives. A loss of CRT's income, or a substantial portion of it, received from water sales could make a serious dent in its income and thus affect the level of maintenance work that can be carried out on its waterways.
CRT is in discussion with Ministers and officials to seek an amendment or removal of the clause, which IWA strongly supports. The next stage of the Bill passing through the House of Commons, the Comitee Stage, is due to start on the 3rd December with an agreed end date of the 17th December 2013.
The Parliament UK website has published further details on the Second Reading debate from the 25th November, including a link to the Hansard Reports of the debate.
A series of briefing notes on the Water Bill have also been published by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
Canal & River Trust has begun a consultation to seek views on strengthening the electoral process to its governing Council.
The Council was formed eighteen months ago ahead of the launch of CRT and the Trust says it has an important role in helping to shape policy, raise and debate issues, provide guidance and perspective, and act as a sounding board for its trustees. The Council also has the responsibility of appointing and, if necessary, dismissing trustees.
A review of the 2012 election - which was overseen by the Electoral Reform Services – is now underway to identify any changes that would strengthen the planning and running of the elections in 2014 and 2016. The consultation paper is available on the Trust’s website and seeks general feedback on the election process and twelve specific issues.
Among the suggestions the consultation is asking people to consider are:
CRT's Appointments Committee, a joint committee of three of its Council Members and three trustees, is leading the electoral review process. The consultation is available at CRT's website. Comments can be made to Roger Hanbury by 14th February 2014.
CRT's current Council is made up of thirty-four members from a variety of backgrounds. Fourteen members are nominated by stakeholder organisations. The chairmen of the Trust’s Waterway Partnerships, All Wales Partnership and Museums & Attractions Partnership, make up another thirteen members. Two members are co-opted members and seven individuals were elected in 2012 to represent boaters, boating businesses and CRT staff.
The Trust aims to increase the number of elected council members. In 2014 the Trust is due to hold an election amongst the Friends of the Trust, for one of the Friends to serve as a member of Council from September 2014. In 2016, when the members representing boaters, boating businesses and staff are up for election, there will also be an election for a member to represent volunteers.
CRT has announced £1.5 million of funding to refurbish a number of its most historic canalside cottages.
The properties include lock keeper’s cottages and toll houses, which date back 200 years. Most are listed, including a number which are Grade II*. In order to conserve the cottages CRT is having to undo the work of home decorators from the throughout the 20th century.
CRT is focusing on properties which are among the significant and best examples of their kind on the inland waterways. The programme has seen £750,000 invested in works to thirteen cottages since 2011 and today the Trust has announced a further £750,000 over the next three years as it plans to refurbish and sensitively improve a further twelve.
The first properties amongst the twelve to be refurbished includes five Grade II* properties on the Buildings at Risk Register on the Llangollen Canal in Shropshire, the listed tunnel keeper's cottage at the end of Harecastle Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal and a semi-detached listed stone cottage on the River Weaver which was actually taken down stone by stone and moved a couple of hundred yards in the late 19th century.
CRT is announcing a series of measures to improve relationships between boaters and residents at the Islington visitor moorings on the Regent’s Canal.
Some local residents have complained of noise and smoke coming from the boats, while some boaters feel they are being unfairly penalised. CRT says it is committed to supporting the needs of boaters and residents alike and will be working with Islington Council, sharing expertise and data, to resolve the situation.
The measures, which focus on reducing noise and smoke at the moorings and encouraging a greater turnover of boats, include:
CRT consulted with boater groups, local residents and Islington Council between 20 September and 4 October 2013. The resulting plan is a trial that will be reviewed after four months, during which time the CRT plans to carry out continuous monitoring of its effectiveness.
More information on the Islington Visitor Moorings Management plan, and the consultation, is available at CRT’s website.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a safety warning regarding the use of chain flail/non-standard cutting attachments on brush cutters. HSE says it has become aware of a dangerous practice involving the fitting of non-standard accessories, not approved by the manufacturers, to brush cutting machines. Any waterway groups that may have equipment that might be affected by this warning should check the full safety bulletin, including the decision of the European Commission, on HSE's website.
The alerts CRT provides for boaters about waterway closures and stoppages will be available on the CRT’s website from the week commencing 9th December 2013.
Boaters will be able to search for stoppages on CRT’s website from the week commencing 9th December.
Waterscape alerts will stop being emailed out during the week commencing 9th December and boaters visiting the page will be redirected to the Trust’s website.
Boaters who currently get stoppage alerts by email will need to re-register on the Trust’s website to continue to receive the updates. If they already have a MyTrust account they will simply need to sign in.
To find out more about stoppages visit CRT's website (notices will be live from the week commencing 9th December).
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
Major IWA events in 2014
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 December Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
7th - 8th December Weekend Work Party - Chelmer & Blackwater (IWA Chelmsford Branch)
8th December Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
8th December Hedge Planting Work Party - Cheddleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
8th November Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
15th December Bugsworth Basin Work Party (The Inland Waterways Protection Society)
19th December Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
21st December Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
8th December London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar