IWA Bulletin January 2012

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Canal & River Trust Update

The Canal & River Trust Transition Trustees have published a fresh update on progress with the Trust.

IWA is pleased to see that the Canal & River Trust negotiations with Defra are taking longer than originally programmed. The government offer of £39m per annum without indexation was never enough, as evidenced by the answers to Parliamentary Questions tabled by MPs who are waterways supporters. IWA has briefed MPs extensively on liabilities to transfer to the Canal & River Trust, including those related to British Waterways pensions, the cost of bridge repair and maintenance, and dredging requirements.

The Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, has offered to return to the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group in the New Year to provide an update on government funding after the negotiations have concluded. It will be interesting to see what the Transition Trustees have come to regard as acceptable.

The suggestion that there is now pressure on an April 2012 launch date is no great surprise. IWA always thought this was optimistic, and said so publicly. The Transfer Order is to be subject to a scrutiny process called the Enhanced Affirmative Procedure. The parliamentary interest in the Canal & River Trust, stimulated by IWA and others, means that there will almost certainly be a debate on the issues.

Read the full update on the Waterscape website

IWA News

Canal & River Trust Government Consultation Response

Government has announced the publication of its Response to a supplementary consultation on the detail of the Order to transfer the functions of British Waterways in England and Wales to a new waterways charity, the Canal & River Trust.

The consultation took place between 12th September and 24th October.

IWA’s main concern expressed in the response to this consultation was the potential for the Canal & River Trust to reclassify cruiseway waterways to remainder. The Government response does not address that but Government has nevertheless taken this seriously. At an All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group hearing on 8th December the Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, made a statement, saying that any application from the Canal & River Trust to reclassify a waterway would be subject to a full cost benefit analysis and wide consultation with those likely to be affected as required by the Transport Act.  In addition, he was sure that the Trustees would consult the charity’s Council and the relevant Waterways Partnership before embarking on such a significant course of action that would impact on a large number of its users. These mechanisms would help to ensure a robust and transparent process on a re-classification of any of the charity’s waterways. He added that he did not want or expect to see closures of any waterways, as that would not be constructive.

As to whether the Canal & River Trust will still be required to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) questions, there was a mixed response. Government has decided that the FOI will apply to functions and duties that will transfer to the Canal & River Trust under the Transfer Order. IWA recommended a level playing field with other charities and therefore did not support the requirement. Government, however, has recognised this principle and is to consider applying FOI to other statutory navigation authorities. If it decides against that it will reconsider the continued application of FOI to the Canal & River Trust.  IWA is content with this approach.

The summary of responses can be downloaded from the DEFRA website


IWA Safety Concern over Olympics Closure of Commercial Road Lock Regent’s Canal

The Inland Waterways Association has written to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the Olympic Delivery Authority, LOCOG and Robin Evans at British Waterways to register its extreme concern at the closure of Commercial Road Lock on the Regent’s Canal for the duration of the Olympics.

IWA wishes to establish why, if boats are being allowed (under tight control) to pass on the Lee right next to the Olympic site from Tottenham to Limehouse, access to Limehouse should be restricted to the route via the Thames and not allowed via the Regent's Canal, which is over 1.5km from the Olympic site at its closest point.

IWA has no problem with closing the Hertford Union Canal completely and blocking it physically, so everyone has to go via Commercial Road Lock, but considers that the entry to Limehouse Basin via Commercial Road Lock would be easy to police using whatever approach they are using at Tottenham – But on behalf of London Boaters and craft visiting especially for the Olympics, IWA wishes to understand ‘what's the difference?’  Limehouse is 2.5km from the nearest point on the Olympic Park with a lot of built up area in between, so there is absolutely no risk from vessels at Limehouse. This would avoid the risk of encouraging unsuitable vessels to use the Thames and all of the associated navigational risks caused by attempting a downstream tidal passage.

IWA London Region officers had requested British Waterways to properly consult during the process and involve stakeholders in the discussions, regrettably despite these requests the discussions and negotiations were conducted at arms length.


Nominations for National IWA Awards

Nominations for the following awards are invited from members, branches and regions and should be emailed to awards@waterways.org.uk by 31st January. 

Award nominations will then be considered by an Awards Panel nominated by trustees, and recommendations made to trustees for final approval.


IWA – Canal & River Trust Working as Partners Workshop

There are over 100 waterway stakeholder organisations that operate as charitable trusts and societies on the waterways in the UK. In 2012 the Canal and River Trust will join the waterway charitable sector. Many existing charities and groups will be interested to understand the impact associated with this and the opportunities it may bring. 

In order to provide a forum for debate IWA is proposing to hold a special workshop, jointly organised with the trustees of the Canal & River Trust, and to which senior management within British Waterways will be contributing,  to consider these issues, and is cordially inviting representatives of all canal and river societies to join us at The Bond Conference Centre, Birmingham on Saturday 18th February 2012.

We are hoping the day will be an interactive and informal opportunity to share concerns, explore ideas and strengthen relationships. 

Further details will be made available nearer the date, but to register your interest please contact Gemma.Bolton@waterways.org.uk

Places are limited by venue size and will be allocated on a first come basis.  Because of this, we would be grateful if organisations would nominate just one or two representatives, rather than request places for several members.


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

For more information please see the internship specification.


Inglesham Lock Appeal

£73,838 has now been pledged towards the Inglesham lock Appeal but we are still a long way off the £125,000 target.

To enable WRG to continue work this year, please donate.


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.

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

More information on how to enter.

Closing date: 31st January 2012


About People

Following a reorganisation at IWA Head Office, partly necessitated by a need to reduce costs, the post of Operations & Information Systems Officer has been declared redundant, and David Forrester left the Association’s employment at the end of December.

Jerry Sanders has resigned as a trustee of IWA, but remains chairman of IWA’s Promotions & Communications Committee, as well as a member of IWA Festivals committee, which is part of IWA’s trading subsidiary company Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd.

At the December meeting of IWA’s trustees, Gren Messham was appointed a member of IWA’s Finance Committee, and Gareth Jones and Alan Wiffen were appointed corresponding members.  Mike Carter was appointed a member of IWA’s Navigation Committee at trustee’s October meeting, in succession to Steve Connolly, as IWA North West Region’s representative.


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

IWA Lichfield Branch Navigation Officer - An opportunity for a member of IWA Lichfield Branch to co-ordinate the reporting and resolution of navigation issues in the Branch area.

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


Other News

news_narrowboat_fire120pxBoat Safety Scheme Suggests a New Year’s Resolution to Keep

There has been eight accidental boat fires reported already this December. Boat Safety Scheme’s suggestion to all boaters for a New Year’s resolution is, have a fire emergency plan.

Boaters need their fire emergency plans to be second-nature too, so if fire hits their boat, they too live to tell the tale.

The main tips include the following:

  • Know your location so you can tell the emergency services where you are if needed
  • Fire extinguishers should be easy grab and on your escape routes
  • Know how to use any type of extinguishers on the boat
  • Know your escape route and check it is clear before going to bed
  • When aboard, all locks, catches, or bolts for doors and hatches should be operable from inside the boat
  • Have all keys to hand
  • Keep a working torch easily available to help you escape at night

For more information please see the Boat Safety Scheme website


Thames21 Reports High Levels of Pollution in Lea Valley

Waterway charity Thames21 said The River Lea and the streams that flow into it form London’s second largest river system, but are being devastated by pollution.

The snapshot water quality testing was commissioned by Thames21 which is an environmental charity working with communities to bring London's waterways to life.

The report of rivers running through the London Boroughs of Hackney, Haringey, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest and Epping Forest shows that the Lea and the rivers flowing into it are being damaged by pollution coming from everyone in the valley.

The report also shows that Pymmes and Salmons Brook in the London Borough of Enfield don’t have enough oxygen in the water to support healthy fish life.

Read the full report on the Thames21 website


Screenwriter Jeremy Dyson Discusses the Strange Stories of Robert Aickman on BBC Radio 4

The supernatural stories of IWA co-founder and British author, Robert Aickman, are praised by Screenwriter Jeremy Dyson in a BBC Radio 4 show. Dyson argues they should receive greater recognition for their contribution to literature.

Aickman's work was influenced his Grandfather to write around fifty stories involving the supernatural over a thirty year period starting in the late forties.

In recent years League of Gentlemen writer Dyson has adapted Aickman's work into various forms of Drama including the BBC Radio Four play 'Ringing the Changes'.

Listen to the show on BBC iPlayer


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 - 15% 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.

6th - 8th January 2012 - Grantham Canal (WRG North West)
Details: Volunteers will be working on the Grantham Canal clearing the offside of Locks 12-15 of what has been described as 'years of vegetation'. This is to facilitate engineering surveys which form part of the Phase 1 of an Heritage Lottery Funded project in which the locks will be used as 'outdoor Heritage Skills classrooms'.
Contact: malcolm.bridge@wrg.org.uk

7th - 8th January 2012 - Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (Essex WRG)
Details: Maintenance work on IWA's own waterway
Contact: frank.wallder@waterways.org.uk

28th - 29th January - Wilts & Berks Canal (wrgBITM)
Details: Steppingstones Lane Bridge - cutting and laying capping stones, plus scrub bashing along the towpath to Station Road Bridge.
Contact: dave.wedd@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


7th January - Shrewsbury Canal & River Severn (IWA Shrewsbury and North Wales Branch)
Details: Main assembly point at 10.30am is by the footbridge from the Frankwell car park, near the Guildhall. The former Shrewsbury Canal passed alongside this, Grade I listed, cast iron framed mill. The route follows the southern end of the canal, then passes the prison and descends 60 steps to the river footpath.
Contact: alan.wilding@waterways.org.uk or call 01743 359 650

12th January - Coventry Canal, Atherstone Locks (IWA Lichfield Branch and BW)
Details: The Site Visit is to see repair work on the canal locks at Atherstone.  Meet 10.30 for 10.45 am by Atherstone Top Lock.  Car parking at the old coal yard off Coleshill Road.  A conducted tour by British Waterways to see work on the lock flight including Locks 3 and 9 which will be dewatered for brickwork repairs and gate relining.  The total walking distance from Lock 1 to Lock 9 and return is about 3 miles.
Contact: Pat Barton pat.barton@waterways.org.uk or 01785 824012

15th January - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: Regent’s Canal: King’s Cross – Camden. Meeting point is King’s Cross Station (taxi rank) Costs £8 Concessionary and student rate is £6.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk

26th January - Weaver Navigation (IWA Chester and District Branch)
Details: This walk commences at 10.15am and drops down through the wooded Weaver Parkway to follow the right bank of the Weaver Navigation in a northerly direction, passing the Meadowbank salt mine en route before returning on a higher level route to enjoy, after a walk of 4 miles, a carvery or other meal of your choice at the pub.  Map reference 650 670 OS Explorer 267.
Contact: chesteranddistrict@waterways.org.uk

29th January - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: The route follows Regent’s Canal: Mile End – Limehouse. Meeting Point is Mile End Station. Cost: £8 Concessionary and student rate: £6
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