Hello and a very Happy New Year to you and thank you for subscribing to Bulletin. We endeavour to bring you the very latest in IWA news from across the Association as well as stories of interest to people who love the waterways. If you have friends or relatives who you think might not receive Bulletin but who might enjoy reading it every fortnight, please do forward them a link to this page. We would be delighted to welcome them.
This Bulletin is my first as the new editor after helping on a practice run in December, so hopefully you will enjoy reading it. There is a little more about me at the bottom of the IWA News section. My name is Marion Birch and I am very pleased to be involved in the work of IWA.
Photo: Festival Boats (Photo by Mike Carter)
IWA is pleased to designate the Eldonian Village Canal Festival in Liverpool, on 11-12 June, as its 2016 National Campaign Festival. The Festival organisers aim to increase leisure activities on a relatively underused part of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal as well as promote the event in celebration of the bi-centenary of the canal. Organised by IWA Chester and Merseyside Branch in partnership with the Liverpool Culture Company, the Eldonian Housing Trust and Canal & River Trust, the plans for the weekend look exciting.
Centred on the canal around the Eldonian community centre and including the section down the locks to Stanley Dock, the Campaign Festival’s primary aim is to encourage more boats to visit this section of the canal and continue to the Albert Dock complex. The massive destruction by bombing during the Second World War due to the area's proximity to the docks, the closure of the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery and the British American Tobacco plant had a huge impact which could have meant the residents being scattered to different parts of Merseyside but there was a determination to keep this community together. Planned regeneration and the provision of affordable housing has achieved this for Eldonian.
The local IWA branch aims to improve this part of the canal for visitors by providing new mooring and service facilities at Eldonian for boaters visiting the ‘Liverpool Link’. In addition, it is seen as a great opportunity to increase local community volunteering with vegetation clearance, painting and rubbish removal, and work with local schools leading up to the Festival to gain active participation in the event, as well as increased knowledge of and respect for the local canal.
IWA National Chairman Les Etheridge commented:
“Liverpool, with its rich canal heritage, is a worthy standard-bearer for IWA’s National Campaign Festival in this bicentennial year. Great progress has been made in recent years to open up the delights of the city to canal traffic again with the inauguration of the Liverpool Link. Our Campaign Festival aims to build on that and leave a positive legacy for the residents of Eldonian Village and all the other canalside and waterfront communities and attractions”.
Mooring spaces for the festival at Eldonian are filling up and the IWA’s ‘campaign convoy’ across the River Mersey into Liverpool Docks before the event is already fully booked. For more information and boat booking forms visit IWA's Eldonian Village Canal Festival, Liverpool pages.
HS2 Ltd have issued a further tranche of small changes to the bill for Phase 1 (‘Additional Provisions’ 4 & 5), with again limited relevance to inland waterways.
On Monday 30 November a Command Paper was produced in the House of Commons about HS2, updating work by HS2 and others on Phase 2, without providing any decisions on the Phase 2 preferred route. This information seems to have been ‘slipped out’ in a quiet period, however contains relatively little new. Headlines are:
The as-yet unanswered question is when HS2 will engage with the likes of IWA, CRT and Chesterfield Canal Trust on the impact of these routes. We will continue to press for discussions in 2016.
Further details if you want to read more can be found in these government and HS2 Ltd supporting papers:
Photo: Entries to IWA's Photography Competition
Although it is only just 2016 we are planning ahead and looking for photographs to feature on Christmas cards and in the 2017 calendar. IWA is looking for images that portray a range of seasons, craft and activities from all over the UK waterway network. Entries need to be of a print resolution 1800 pixels x 1200 pixels (300dpi) or at least 1MB and should be emailed (up to 10MB per email) to firstname.lastname@example.org or send via Dropbox or WeTransfer by 31st January 2016.
Our favourite images will be shortlisted and IWA members are then invited to vote for their favourite. The overall winner will receive a complete set of Nicholson Guides to the Waterways, worth over £130, kindly donated by Harper Collins.
As well as featuring in the calendar and as Christmas cards, your photo entries help us to further our work to make waterways better for everyone, by allowing us to use the digital photos (including in modified form) in IWA’s campaign, marketing and promotional material. Photos are always credited where possible.
IWA’s annual restoration raffle closed at the end of December 2015 and the winning waterways groups have now been named. The raffle raised around £14,000 and exceeded last year’s figure by nearly £1,000. The money will be shared amongst a range of deserving projects chosen by the purchasers of the raffle tickets and it is thanks to the commitment and dedication of many of the nominated local groups and trusts, that so much money has been raised and so many tickets have been sold.
25 waterways projects around the UK will receive a proportion of the total funds, according to the number of nominations they received.
With the 2nd highest number of nominations, Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust was this year’s top waterways trust benefactor. They will receive £1,300 towards their on-going work with the Wappenshall Wharf Appeal.
With the 3rd highest number of nominations, the Friends of Cromford Canal group will receive £1,200.
The WRG Van appeal received the highest number of nominations and will receive a £2,250 boost from the raffle. This figure is a welcome addition to the total fundraising effort, bringing them a step closer to the final target of £120,000 for four new vans.
As well as being able to nominate their favourite waterways fund raising projects, ticket purchasers stood a chance of winning one of 13 prizes. The luckiest won one of the top prizes listed below and they have now been informed of their winnings :
First Prize: A one-week boating holiday on a six-berth narrow boat with Wyvern Shipping, worth up to £1,500.
Second Prize: A three-night or four-night boating holiday on a four-berth narrow boat with Andersen Boats, worth up to £700.
Third Prize: A weekend boating holiday on a four-berth narrow boat with Canal Cruising Company, worth £590.
Further details of winners and the projects that will benefit from receiving a share of the funds will be posted on IWA's website.
IWA would like to once again thank all those organisations who donated prizes, without whom it would not be possible to run the raffle. And of course a very big thank you to everyone who bought tickets this year.
Photo: The 15,000 walker receives Towpath Walks certificate given by Richard Fentiman who led the walk
The IWA Towpath Walks in London were first started back in 1977. The walks are led by IWA volunteers, who offer their time and services for free, and are promoted in partnership with London Walks. Currently there are five guides managing a portfolio of 19 different canal walks and in 2015 they had over 450 walkers pay to be guided around the waterway gems of London. Since the start the walks have added just under £40,000 to IWA's fundraising account with money having being spent on a range of projects including most recently the erection of the Robert Aickman blue plaque to the site of Aickman's home and IWA's first offices in Gower Street, London.
On 27th December 2015, a walk led by Richard Fentiman from Little Venice to Camden, welcomed the Association's 15,000th walker who received a certificate to mark the occasion.
The walks last just over two hours, and take place on two Sunday afternoons each month. They each start at a tube station or DLR station, and cost £10 (or £8 for concessionary rate).
For more details on upcoming walks visit IWA's calendar page or call London Walks on 020 7624 3978.
Photo: IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire branch volunteers with their 'Going the Extra Length' award
Two IWA branch nominations were successful in the "Going the Extra Length" awards with the winners receiving their certificates at the CRT Central Shires Volunteers' Party held on Friday 4th December. IWA Lichfield branch put forward Richard Bagley for his impressive contribution to their working parties over the last three years. His cheerful demeanour, willingness to turn out in all weathers and adaptability has made him a greatly valued member of the Lichfield team. The tasks he has undertaken include shovelling gravel, mixing cement, laying bricks, barrowing heavy materials, ground clearance, painting, removing and replacing fencing.
Photo: Volunteers painting the Hazelhurst Junction Bridge Project
The other successful nomination was the Hazelhurst Junction Bridge Project submitted jointly by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire branch with Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust. This took a lot of prior planning as the bridge is a Grade 2 Listed structure with advice from Mark Clifford, CRT's Heritage Adviser on preparation methods and paint types. A 1930's BCN Motor Boat "Ben" was used as a work boat so the underside of the bridge could be painted at the same time. The preparation was particularly time consuming as the scrapings from the old paintwork had to be prevented from dropping in the canal. Patience was also needed when wire brushing the scalloped design of the parapets. The work was completed in just over a week with 14 different volunteers totalling 26 days work.
Don't forget that bookings are now open for IWA's Festival of Water in Pelsall, near Walsall over the August Bank Holiday. Guarantee your mooring or pitch by booking here.
Photo: IWA stand at the 2016 London Boat Show
London Boat Show is on at London's Excel from 8th to 17th of January. Whilst it is not aimed at inland waterways enthusiasts there is plenty to entertain visitors. An old fireboat on the dockside will be providing water cannon displays plus there's a purpose-built Mediterranean Bay hosting a festival of watersports and tuition where visitors can have a go at the sport of water walking.
This is the show's 62nd year and IWA has attended all of them. There's a theme of 60s revival with a promise of showing just how affordable boating can be with craft on show ranging from £300 up to £4.5 million.
IWA can be found at stand F020. You will be able to pick up the 2016 WRG Canal Camps Brochure and there's a special show membership offer of £3 for three months. Why not come and say hello to our volunteers if you do decide to visit the Show.
Photo: Alex Melson at the 2015 Bonfire Bash on the Uttoxeter Canal
Alex Melson - Alex joins IWA as one of two new Assistant Volunteer Coordinators. He was previously at Groundwork South and prior to that Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. Alex will be working on branch work parties and WRG Canal Camps amongst other activities and has participated in several task parties in December (attending the WRG Bonfire Bash before he had even officially joined the team). Alex will also be offering specific support to help Essex Waterways develop their volunteering base and will be leading the Cheshire “Ringing the Ring” project to replace missing mooring rings on the popular cruising circuit.
Marion Birch - Marion officially joined the IWA team on 5th January but has been a member for many years and is a veteran of IWA Canalway Cavalcade Festival where her boat Muttley has won the best-decorated competition more than once. Marion is IWA's new Communications Officer with specific responsibility for editing the fortnightly Bulletin newsletter and the monthly Officers Briefing emailed to IWA branch volunteers. She will also be looking after some of IWA's publicity programme. To contact Marion please email her email@example.com.
Photo: Sunken boat near Bingley Arms on the Calder & Hebble Navigation photo courtesy of River Canal Rescue
The floods over recent weeks have caused terrible trouble across our network and the impact will be felt for many weeks and months to come. Raging rivers and burst banks have led to canals over-topping and many structures have been damaged and drenched. In some places the flood water has caused landslips, general embankment erosion and towpaths are closed due to heavy mud or debris build-up.
As at 8th January EA has 19 flood warnings and 109 flood alerts still in place. Flood waters are still receding in North Yorkshire so the full extent of the damage is as yet unknown. The eastern end of the Rochdale Canal, and the adjoining Calder & Hebble Navigation are both facing very significant repair and clean-up costs. According to CRT the Calder &Hebble is closed because sections are unnavigable and currently inaccessible and Elland Bridge has suffered serious structural damage. Sections of the Rochdale Canal are closed and the embankment between the Rochdale Canal and River Calder at Charlestown has suffered severe scour damage meaning that water levels have been held low to prevent the canal wall from failing.
In Scotland waters are beginning to recede in Aberdeenshire after heavy rain overnight caused severe flooding. Earlier this week the River Dee burst its banks and last night it was the turn of the River Don. This follows the misery caused by flooding in Ayrshire over the New Year period.
Price Waterhouse Coopers has estimated economic losses caused by the floods and storms to be in excess of £3bn.
Between Christmas and New Year the minister for the Environment, Liz Truss, was forced to admit that flood defences had been overwhelmed and would be reviewed. In York, the Rivers Ouse and Foss burst their banks leading to city centre streets being covered in chest-high water and 4,000 residents being evacuated. EA was criticised for deciding to open the Foss barrier after the electrics were damaged by water. If the barrier had remained closed it was feared flood water would have been impossible to pump out of the town. The River Foss flood barrier was built in 1987 to stop the city's two rivers, the Ouse and the Foss, from converging. An inquiry is expected to be launched regarding the Environment Agency's decision to not activate it.
For more details of waterway closures take a look at the Stoppages and Restrictions page on our website which links you through to the navigation authority websites.
EA’s flood warning map can be found on the Government website.
CRT’s updates can be found on the Canal & River Trust website.
Narrowboat Olive Emily, skippered by John Revell with crew member David Venn, successfully entered the Old Bedford River on the 17th November. The Old Bedford is one of Britain’s oldest artificial rivers constructed between 1630 and 1636, pre-dating the English canal system by 100 years but it has not been used for through navigation since 2006 when the channel was blocked due to flood risk.
This heavily silted approach did not deter Olive Emily, a 41ft boat, but craft of greater length would havefound this approach very challenging, if not impossible.The tidal doors of the Old Bedford sluice were opened by the Middle Level, Salters Lode lock keeper (under a working arrangement with EA) which allowed Olive Emily to enter on the level, waiting for the tidal river Great Ouse to equal the level of the Old Bedford. The raised water level, approximately 3’ 6” draught, allowed a passage of approximately one mile before succumbing to the dreaded cott weed.
John Revell commented “This latest attempt to again navigate the Old Bedford was to show that it is still possible to access the waterway in a narrowboat. There was enough depth of water at the start and we set off hoping to reach the Lamb and Flag at Welney. However, just over a mile into the trip the river became shallower and the propeller began to collect masses of cottweed, bringing us to a complete standstill. We turned around using poles and slowly made our way back to the Old Bedford sluice. This trip has proved that it will remain difficult to reach Welney or Welches Dam lock until the Environment Agency takes action to make this river navigable again. They need to increase the depth of the water by dredging and also remove the cottweed”
The partnership of the East Anglian Waterways Association, IWA branches Peterborough and Great Ouse and the Middle Level Watermen's Club will now renew a campaign to re-open the Middle Level southern navigation link from the River Nene to the Great Ouse via the Forty Foot River through Horseway Lock and Welches Dam - Project Hereward. Currently, the Forty Foot River between the two locks is neglected, overgrown with no fish or boats. Roger Green, secretary of Project Hereward (and secretary of IWA Peterborough branch) is optimistic that the Environment Agency will allow work to start on the channel and locks.
Thames Water has been fined £1m after toxic sewage waste leaked into a canal. Waste from the Thames Valley treatment works overflowed into the Wendover Arm of the Grand Union Canal in Buckinghamshire over a nine month period between July 2012 and April 2013. Inlet screens at the plant became blocked with non-flushable items leading to debris and sludge being discharged into the canal. At St Albans Crown Court Thames Water was fined £1m, the highest ever penalty for a water company in a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency. They were also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £18,113 and a victim surcharge of £120.
The 6.7 mile long Wendover Arm opened in 1799 and was originally designed to supply water to the summit level of the Grand Union Canal. It closed in 1904 and is currently being restored by the Wendover Arm Trust.
Photo: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales
One of the most iconic images in canal architecture is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in North Wales, the work of Thomas Telford and William Jessop, which was completed in 1805. The structure, which is 1,007ft long, has 18 piers which are 126ft high and 19 arches each with a 45ft span. The aqueduct holds 1.5 million litres of water and takes two hours to drain.
Pontcysyllte is already a World Heritage Site but has now been nominated for BBC Countryfile Magazine's Heritage Site of the Year. To have a look at the list of structures included in the final selection or to vote for the aqueduct visit BBC Countryfile Magazine's Award pages before 31st January 2016.
John Laverick, Vice-President and former Chairman of Wilts & Berks Canal Trust has been awarded the MBE for voluntary service to waterways. He formerly worked for British Waterways, managing the Kennet & Avon Canal and was previously with the Broads Authority.
Michael Lee, volunteer for the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust has been awarded the BEM for services to the restoration of the Kennet & Avon Canal. He has provided engineering advice and other support to the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust and the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust for many years.
Photo: Warehouses at Wappenshall Wharf
In early 2014 the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust launched an appeal to find match funding of £500,000 which is needed to restore the warehouses and basin at Wappenshall Wharf. The total projected project cost is £1.5 million and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant will contribute £1 million towards this as long as the balance is raised from other sources.
The final date to raise the money and submit the Round 2 application to the HLF was the 12/12/2015. But the HLF has now extended that deadline and the final submission date for the Round 2 application is now 12/12/2016. This is partly in recognition of the quality of the project and partly because the HLF has deemed progress towards match funding to be satisfactory under the present difficult financial circumstances
So far £140,000 has been raised so the outstanding amount that is still needed is £360,000. So far the appeal to Trust members and the boating community has resulted in pledges or donations of nearly £45,000 and successful applications to charitable bodies has reached almost £95,000.
It is hoped that Telford and Wrekin Council, who own Wappenshall and have leased it to the Trust, will be able to find some funds to help but, like all local authorities, their budget is limited. There are plans to make a direct appeal to local people and an application for £100,000 of European funding with the support of Telford and Wrekin Council and the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
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.
12th January Work Party - Liverpool (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
13th January Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th January Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
14th January Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
16th January Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
20th January Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
21st January Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
22nd January Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
26th January Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
26th January Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
27th January Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
27th January Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
28th January Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
30th January Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
3rd February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th February Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
10th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th February Work Party - Staffs & Worcester (IWA Birmingham Branch)
11th February Work Party - Uttoxeter (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
13th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th February Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
14th February Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
14th February Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
17th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
18th February Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
20th February Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
23rd February Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
23rd February Work Party - Burslem Arm (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
24th February Work Party - River Gipping (IWA Ipswich Branch)
24th February Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
26th February Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
27th February Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
17th January Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
7th February Waterside Walk - The Olympics, Three Mills and Bow Back Rivers (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
21st February Waterside Walk - Limehouse, Thames and Docklands (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to the IWA Members discount page.
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
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