IWA Bulletin

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Silver Propeller Challenge participants now have more opportunities to complete the challenge. We want to encourage people to visit and use those places that aren’t reached as often as others by powered boat, paddling, or booking on a trip boat. We received a number of suggestions about additional locations for the Challenge, which was launched early in 2018.  The following have been added to the list of qualifying locations:

  • Lee & Stort (Bow Back Rivers) – Carpenters Road Lock, Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Sleaford Navigation – Cobblers Lock
  • Grand Union Canal, Slough Arm – Slough Basin
  • BCN, Wednesbury Oak Loop - Bradley
  • Eastern River Rother – Bodiam Castle
  • River Ancholme – Harlem Hill Lock
  • Exeter Ship Canal – Exeter City Basin
  • Wey & Arun Canal – Southland Lock

All the existing locations remain in the challenge, see the full list with the locations are listed alphabetically by waterway to help in planning your 2019 adventures.

Find out more about the Silver Propeller Challenge.

If you have completed the Silver Propeller Challenge, submit your entry here.


HS2 has distorted recommendations on Phase 2A made by the HS2 Select Committee regarding noise mitigation measures at Great Haywood and Fradley Wood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, and misrepresented a discussion with IWA.

Proposals for the HS2 High Speed Railway have threatened numerous peaceful locations on our inland waterways with noise and visual impacts on the canal environment. Active restoration schemes have also been jeopardised. We have followed developments, responded to consultations and petitioned government over proposed plans to minimise the effect on our waterways.

The Promoter's Response Document to the Second Special Report of the HS2 Select Committee misrepresents a discussion with IWA after the report's publication, and uses the setting up of the 'Trent Sow Parklands and Cannock Chase AONB HS2 Group' as an excuse for not implementing the committee's recommendation to install a 5m noise barrier on the Great Haywood Viaduct to reduce the impact on the marina. It also distorts the recommendation to "look at providing further noise mitigation at Fradley Wood" by offering an 'assurance' to only "consider whether additional noise mitigation is required".

Phase 2B is even more extensive than Phase 1 and affects at least 16 waterways in 22 locations, with major impacts on the Middlewich Branch, the Trent & Mersey Canal, Bridgewater Canal, Coventry Canal, Ashby Canal restoration, Erewash Canal and Chesterfield Canal restoration.

Photo: Chesterfield Canal by Jan Warsop

The visual impact of the proposed viaducts, bridges and embankments will partly depend on future detailed design, but the currently proposed noise mitigation is clearly inadequate.
The work involved in reviewing reports, map books and supporting documents is extensive, but is important to ensure our inland waterways along the route are protected and restored. Our expert volunteers will continue to work in collaboration with our local branches and other organisations to get the best outcome for our canals and rivers.

Read the full update on HS2 by one of our Planning Officers, Phil Sharpe.
The full details of IWA's comments on these and other issues can be seen by downloading IWA's response to the Working Draft Environmental Statement.


Following the EU ruling last year on the UK's failure to fulfil its obligations relating to red diesel, HMRC has responded to the Commission and is planning a consultation later this year.

The ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union stated that the UK had failed to meet the EU requirements for fiscal marking of gas oils and kerosene. This ruling could affect future use of red diesel for leisure boats, with implications for boat owners and boatyard operators.

We have received a letter from HMRC, following a meeting we had with HMRC officials in November, alongside British Marine, Cruising Association, and Royal Yachting Association, to discuss the UK’s response to the European Commission.

The letter thanked the organisations involved for the information supplied since the meeting in November, which had been used to prepare HMRC’s response to the Commission. The UK’s response has now been sent to the Commission. Some of the practical implications outlined were: 

  • Only a quarter of ports and marinas for which HMRC have details have said that they will provide both types of fuel,
  • The length of our inland waterway network and the need for both types of fuel to be available
  • The practicalities of installing new infrastructure in terms of funding, planning, approval and building
  • The safety implications if boats were not able to access the correct fuels at all ports.

HMRC plans to launch a consultation at Spring Statement 2019 on how they will implement the CJEU judgment.


A government consultation has provided an opportunity to improve efficiency for Canal & River Trust and divert resources to maintain the waterways. The consultation from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has a section, which relates to a draft listed building consent order to support the work of Canal & River Trust.

Canal & River Trust currently spends considerable resources on listed building consents for minor works to assets such as locks and bridges.  The proposed order will enable works to be carried out more efficiently and will save time and money that we think can be put to better use in maintaining waterways assets and structures.  

Provided the safeguards that are included in the order are followed, then the order should provide protection for the Trust’s listed structures, but our response did also make the point that they should continue to abide by their stated objective, which is to protect and conserve their historic assets by retaining, maintaining, developing and heeding its present heritage conservation expertise.

The safeguards include the Trust agreeing with Historic England the methodology for how it will carry out works, providing an annual report to Historic England on the works it has undertaken and publishing the information on its website.

The consultation is the Planning reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes, part 3. See more on the gov.uk website


IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group has released its programme of week long residential volunteer holidays for 2019. This year WRG is running 23 Canal Camps across 13 different waterways that all need the support of up to 20 volunteers.

The aim of the Canal Camps programme is to support the work of local canal restoration societies. The largest projects that need the support of volunteers in 2019 are based on the Grantham Canal in Nottinghamshire, the Lancaster Canal, and the Wey & Arun Canal in Surrey and West Sussex. Across all the projects WRG volunteers will have the chance to learn new skills, meet new people and get stuck into tasks such as restoring locks, re-lining canals, creating towpaths, removing vegetation and uncovering archaeological artefacts

In 2018, over 370 volunteers to joined WRG up and down the country, to undertake 2262 volunteer days restoring canals. If time had a value, that’s over £135,000 of labour costs. But of course the time and effort of all IWA and WRG volunteers is priceless.

Find out more and book your 2019 Canal Camp. Alternatively, you can call the team on 01494 783453 ext 610, or email enquiries@wrg.org.uk.


IWA’s Waterway Facilities survey (GapTracker) did not ask specifically about composting toilets but we are aware that there is increasing interest in this topic from boaters, environmentalists, campers and caravanners and many more.  We are therefore pleased to support a comprehensive survey of loos recently launched and would encourage readers of Bulletin to take part.  

The survey of boat loos won’t magically create more facilities but a good response will provide some evidence to support IWA’s research and campaign for improved facilities across the network.  The survey is open to all boaters on the UK inland waterways and anyone planning to buy or build a boat in the future.

Click through on the link below and you will see that the questions are carefully designed so that you will only see questions relevant to your loo.  If you have a cassette or pump out it will take around 15 minutes to complete, if you have a compost loo the survey will take a bit longer. If you have yet to buy a boat it should only take you 5-10 minutes.

The survey is designed by Kate Saffin who will be known to many waterways enthusiasts.  It is her personal, self-funded project, and is completely independent of any navigation authority, boating organisation, manufacturer or supplier.  She says “the bigger the response the more interesting and useful the results will be.”

Complete the Great Big Boating Bog survey.


Whilst most of us were at home enjoying some festive cheer, 38 volunteers were out clearing vegetation and building bonfires on a section of the Stroudwater Canal in the Cotswolds.  This year’s five day working holiday was based near Whitminster, between Stroud and Gloucester, in support of the local canal restoration project and volunteers clocked up 1260 hours between them. The equivalent of 180 working days.

WRG regularly works on projects alongside the Cotswold Canals Trust – the largest canal restoration scheme in the country.  Stroud District Council has invested £3million in the restoration project and the Heritage Lottery Fund have also awarded funds.  The Cotswolds project will link the canal to the connected inland waterways network for the first time since it was abandoned in 1954.


Volunteers from IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal Society gathered on the 17th January for the first work party of the year, Eight volunteers met at Hassall Green on the Trent & Mersey Canal to complete restoration work on Locks 55 & 56 and give them a spring clean. Clocking up 48 hours, volunteers finished painting lock gate furniture, cutting back a large hawthorn hedge, clearing vegetation and weeds and all rubbish and plastics was removed.


Walkers crossing field near Whittington (CW)A record 36 hardy souls assembled in the car park of the Plough Inn at Huddlesford to walk to Whittington and back.  IWA Lichfield Branch volunteers were joined by several non-members and first-time walkers as well as by IWA’s National Chairman Ivor Caplan. 

At Whittington Brook some of the group paused to observe the 200th anniversary inscribed boundary stone marking the junction between the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.  Not many people will know the history behind this “boundary”.  When the Coventry Canal Company was constructing the canal they ran low on cash to complete the line between Fazeley and Fradley.  The Trent & Mersey Canal Company built the section from Fradley to Whittington Brook, which was then purchased by the Coventry Canal.  The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal built the section from Fazeley to Whittington Brook but the Coventry Canal never bought this section back.  Legally, to this day, this section remains part of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal with all its bridges named in the Birmingham Canal Navigations tradition rather than numbered.  This fact explains why Bridge 78 at Whittington is 5½ miles away from Bridge 77 at Fazeley, with about 15 original (named) bridges in between.  In Whittington walkers stopped at St Giles Church to attend the grave of Thomas Spencer, the co-founder of Marks & Spencer, and then strode back to the start to enjoy refreshment together in The Plough Inn.


IWA West Country Branch’s New Year’s Day walk took place for the second year running along the Grand Western Canal.  29 IWA members, volunteers and members of the Friends of Grand Western Canal assembled at the Globe Inn at Sampford Peverell and headed north-east along the towpath through the Devon countryside towards Burlescombe, a small village adjacent to the canal on its way to its current terminus at Lowdwells, and back to the Globe Inn.

The walk was led by Robert Hodgson, Chairman of the Friends of the Grand Western Canal, who talked about their vision to restore just over two miles of the Somerset section of the canal, including a replica James Green lift and a Park ‘n Glide facility to take commuters and others into the centre of Taunton.  
IWA West Country Branch is also supporting celebrations for the 200th Anniversary of the construction of the Bude Canal this year. See the Bude Canal & Harbour Society website for more information.


Many of the offers below can be claimed simply by using your IWA membership card.  For others, log in or phone the membership team on 01494 783453 for details.

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

Enjoy the Waterways Through Hire Boats and Leisure

ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount on holidays (Direct Bookings Only)
Blackwater Boats - 10% discount on boat trips
CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount on holidays
Canal Boat Magazine - 5 issues for £5.00
City Centre Cruises - 10% discount for Sunday lunch cruises in Manchester
Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount on adult beginner 'Stand Up & Paddle' lessons
Jenny Wren- 10% discount off cruises
Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd- 10% discount on published prices

Eating Out

To take advantage of eating out offers you just need to produce a valid IWA membership card.

Kings Lock Tearooms- 10% discount on food
The Clifford Arms Pub - 10% discount on food
The Three Locks Pub - 10% discount on food

Better Value on Boats and Equipment

Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
Calcutt Boats - 5% online discount
Channelglaze Ltd. - 5% discount on double glazing
Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
IceGripper - 20% discount on ICETrekkers Diamond Grip
Kings Lock Chandlery - 5% discount (exclusions apply)
Marine Mega Store Ltd
- 15% discount
Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
RoadPro - 5% discount
Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard


Forge Studio - 10% discount
Harbour Clean - 10% discount
Lee Sanitation - 10% on orders over £100
Paper Wizard - 15% discount
River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on selected 1 day RYA SRC VHF Licence Course

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

Boat Insurance

We have been looking at ways to provide more benefits to the waterways and everyone who uses them, and have extended our insurance offer to help you find the best available cover for your boat, your home and your car.  Every policy purchased or renewed helps IWA, allowing us to further our charitable work for the waterways.

See more information about the IWA insurance schemes for boaters

Free Donations to IWA Every Time you Shop Online

It is so easy to do your shopping via easyfundraising.  Every time you do, a percentage will be donated to IWA and it will cost you absolutely nothing extra.

There are over 3,100 shops and sites for you to browse and buy through on the easyfundraising site.  Usually the thing that stops people raising money in this way for their favourite charity is that they simply forget.  Since we launched IWA onto easyfundraising we have raised over £1000 so it is a brilliant way to support IWA.  Find out more about easyfundraising.

How to remind yourself to raise money for IWA via easyfundraising:

By using the app, the reminder toolbar or shopping through the easyfundraising site, you can help IWA raise hundreds and hopefully thousands of pounds.


IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453