IWA Bulletin Mid-August 2011

Top Story

Work starts on the ‘Gateway to the Cotswold Canals’ – Inglesham Lock

Sunday 14th August saw the start of three week-long Waterway Recovery Group working holidays called ‘Canal Camps’ working towards to the restoration of Inglesham Lock on the Cotswold Canals at Lechlade, Gloucestershire.

From 14th August until 3rd September over 60 volunteers, aged between 18 and 70, will work on restoring the lock using heritage restoration techniques. Inglesham Lock is often seen as the gateway to the Cotswold canals restoration, and is an iconic structure. WRG, which is part of  IWA, is keen to get Inglesham Lock reopened so as to create a usable link to the rest of the connected waterways network. IWA is in the process of raising £125,000 to enable volunteers to restore and re-commission this historic structure just off the river Thames at Lechlade.

£49,041 has been pledged so far, but more is needed to enable WRG to continue work planned for Inglesham Lock into next year. To donate please go to www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1294

Work during August will include construction of a site compound, clearing vegetation, and removing damaged brickwork. Volunteers will also start rebuilding the upper wing walls of the lock and the bywash culvert.  These camps give volunteers the opportunity to get their hands dirty right at the start of an exciting project - and not surprisingly, all three weeks are fully booked.  WRG plans lots more work on the lock in the forthcoming months, so there will be plenty more opportunities for everyone to get involved.

For more details about the Inglesham Lock Restoration Appeal please go to www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/iwa_national__restoration_appeal___inglesham_lock_

For further information about volunteering please contact:
Jenny Black (Volunteers Coordinator) Tel:01494 783 453 ext 604
Email: jenny.black@waterways.org.uk


IWA News

Local Government Engagement

The coalition Government’s aim to devolve powers and responsibilities to the local level has clear implications for IWA engagement with tiers of government.

At present our focus remains trained on central government. In June, IWA submitted its response document to Defra’s consultation on the Government’s proposals for transferring British Waterways’ responsibility for the management and operation of it’s inland waterways network in England and Wales to a New Waterways Charity. Defra’s response is expected in the autumn. We will keep up the pressure on key issues, and principally that the financial package must be sufficient for the charity. We will also need to consider the secondary legislation that will bring the transfer into effect and continue lobbying on Environment Agency waterways to hold the Government to its commitment that they should transfer in 2015.

The Government’s localism agenda means that the inland waterways sector must engage more with local authorities. This tier of government is going to become increasingly important to us whether local authorities are members of Local Waterway Partnerships, Local Enterprise Partnerships, or both.

The Government’s agenda in devolving powers and responsibilities was reflected in the Local Government Association conference entitled ‘Localism Works’ held in June. We will have to develop new relationships with key players from local government and IWA’s External and Government Affairs Advisor, the former Waterways Minister Jonathan Shaw, attended the conference to get a feel for engagement possibilities. Local government is having to deal with cuts in resources and is focussing on how to deliver big strategic issues such as waste, transport, adult social care and economic development.

IWA will need to work hard to get its voice heard – especially at a branch and region level. But that is not impossible. Some of the Regional Development Agencies became converted over the years on the benefits that waterways can convey. We will need to get this message to local government at a local level; maintain contacts with the Local Government Association at a national level; and consider taking a more formal presence at next year’s LGA conference.


The New Waterways Charity – Westminster Activity Update

There was a lot of interest in Westminster about the Government’s proposals for a New Waterways Charity before Parliament shut down for the summer recess.

IWA is regularly in contact with a number of politicians who are known waterways supporters, and much of the activity was stimulated by IWA direct or indirect lobbying. The level of interest was undoubtedly heightened by the progress of the Public Bodies Bill, which abolishes British Waterways and provides enabling powers for the new Charity to receive the British Waterways network; the Defra New Era for the Waterways consultation that closed for responses at the end of June; and the All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group (APPWG) being resurrected with hearings on New Waterways Charity governance and financing which led to an APPWG Memorandum on these issues being published on 18 July.

There was a flurry of Parliamentary Questions as well as interventions in debates.

A particularly pointed intervention in a debate was by Stephen Mosley MP (Con – City of Chester), when he said, in the context of the proposals for a New Waterways Charity:

“There will still need to be public financial support for our waterways, especially after the inclusion of the EA navigations that have less commercial opportunities than BW; and Defra will need to ensure that this support continues in future.”

Questions asked included:

  • How well Defra has liaised with the Charity Commission over the Government’s proposals.
  • What steps Government is taking to ensure that it can deliver on its commitment for the Environment Agency navigations to transfer to the Charity in 2015.
  • What Government is doing to ensure that the Charity will be adequately funded.

Questions are not always placed in the House of Commons. Lord Moynihan asked about the prospects for private donations for the New Waterways Charity; the Charity’s objectives; and which stakeholders would fund the charity.

The answers may not have been especially illuminating, but Parliamentary Questions, as well as seeking information, can also serve to confirm on the public record the Government’s policy position on various issues. Even when the answer is entirely predictable, the need to answer reminds the Government that issues of importance to waterways stakeholders will not be allowed to quietly fade away.  

The All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group

After two hearings on New Waterways Charity governance and financing the All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group published a Memorandum on these issues with conclusions and recommendations on 18 July. The Rt Hon Alun Michael MP who chairs the Group, met Richard Benyon, the waterways Minister to discuss the issues, and wrote to him supplying a copy of the Memorandum. It is now for Government to reflect on these issues in the context of the Defra New Era for the Waterways consultation.

The All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group might reconvene when the Defra response to the New Era for the Waterways consultation is published.

The response is expected to be published in the autumn. It is understood that there was a significant response with close to 400 representations from individuals and organisations.


New IWA Website Developments Launched

New functionality has been added to IWA's website including:

  • Events Calendar - Find upcoming waterway events using a selection of search options. Waterway groups and societies can also even add their own!* Please be aware that contact details are requested on the event upload form but they do not show on the front-end (apart from the e-mail address - which does).
  • Photos Upload - You can now upload your favourite waterway photos to the website.*
  • Waterways Forum - discuss anything to do with the waterways.

*subject to approval


Annual General Meeting

IWA's national Annual General Meeting will be held at 2.00pm on Saturday 24th September 2011 at Cookley Village Hall, Lea Lane, Cookley, Kidderminster DY10 3RH.

A two course hot lunch is available priced at £5, but must be pre-booked. Bookings need to be made by 11.00am on 16th September.

For more information and to book a meal please go to www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/event/view?id=3


Members Open Meeting Prior To The Annual General Meeting

An open meeting will be held in the morning from about 10.00am to 12.30pm immediately following a short address by the MP for Wyre Forest, Mark Garnier. Tea and coffee will be available from 9.30am.

As in recent years, the open meeting is not confined to Branch officers so please come and take part if you have an interest in the Association or you wish to raise issues or ask questions.

Members of the Promotions and Communications Committee are particularly interested in finding out how the Committee can better work with IWA branches to further IWA’s objectives.

The following topics have already been suggested:

  • Recruiting more members by getting the IWA message across.
  • Increasing branch sales  
  • Developing the involvement of branch members
  • Working alongside the New Waterways Charity

If you have any further suggestions for topics please send them to ivor.caplan@waterways.org.uk or contact Ivor Caplan on 07778 685764


Sponsored IWAlk along the Montgomery Canal

IWA's Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch is organising a sponsored IWAlk on the Montgomery Canal to raise money for the Inglesham Lock Restoration Appeal

Money raised by this sponsored walk will be split 50/50 between IWA's National Campaign Appeal which is raising money for Inglesham Lock and to kick-start the next Maesbury Canal Festival which is being organised to highlight the need for restoration. 

There is more information at www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/iwalk___montgomery_canal

To sponsor one of the fundraisers or to get involved and set up your own fundraising page please see the Virgin Money Giving website uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayEventDetails.action?eventId=6964&invocation=evt0050&charityId=1002870


Council proposal to abandon the safeguarding of Swansea Canal line

Neath Port Talbot Council has made a proposal to abandon the safeguarding of the line of the Swansea Canal between Ynysmeudwy and Ystalyfera.  IWA's South Wales Branch is considering its response. However, in principle, it is opposed to the abandonment. Once the line is no longer safeguarded, and development is allowed to take place, restoration of that section of canal in the future becomes highly unlikely. This would not only be a sad loss to the local community, given the well known public benefits that are conveyed by restored canals, it could also jeopardise the remainder of the project due to the possible loss of the water supply from that section.

IWA is concerned about inadequate planning safeguards nationally and its response to the Defra consultation - A New Era for the Waterways - included that the planning system is unduly restrictive in encouraging the protection of the line of disused waterways only when there is a reasonable degree of certainty of a restoration project proceeding in whole or in part within the development plan period. Such lines should also be protected when there is clear potential for restoration outside the time span of the development plan period. Road and railway lines are protected but even when housing or other developments interfere with a road or railway proposal that property can be made subject to compulsory purchase. Compulsory purchase would not apply to canal restoration, making it even more important that the line is protected.


Inglesham Fundraising Update

£49,041 has been pledged so far.

Proposed works for this year include damming of the canal from the Thames and the construction of a piled landing stage for the lock.

To donate please go to www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1294


IWA Volunteering Opportunities

Office Volunteers Required

We are looking for an additional volunteer to help out at our Head Office in Chesham. Work hours are flexible and full training will be provided. For further information please email gemma.bolton@waterways.org.uk.


IWA Branch and Region Help Wanted

For a full list of volunteer opportunities go to: www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies


Other News

Bridge Arch Closures on the Thames Tideway Through Central London

The Port of London Authority (PLA) recently had to stop five narrowboats that tried to pass through closed bridge arches on the central London Thames Tideway.  Closures are indicated by an inverted triangle of three red balls hanging from the bridge. The Authority has asked IWA to remind all members who might transit the tideway that it is an offence under PLA Byelaws to use bridge arches that are 'closed' to navigation. Invariably such closures are caused by works proceeding overhead and the risk of something heavy being dropped is high. All Bridge Arch Closures are published in the PLA Notices to Mariners, are on PLA's web site, and the principle closures are broadcast regularly on Marine VHF Channel 14. 


Environment Agency announces the ten most-wanted plants and animals threatening our waterways

Invasive species reportedly now cost the UK economy an estimated £1.7billion every year.
The EA has the following 10 species on its hitlist:

  1. Killer Shrimp
  2. Water Primrose
  3. Floating Pennywort
  4. American Signal Crayfish
  5. Topmouth Gudgeon
  6. Giant Hogweed
  7. Japanese Knotweed
  8. Himalayan Balsam
  9. Mink
  10. Parrot’s Feather

Species such as Killer Shrimp kill a huge range of native species which can cause a knock-on effects on the species which feed on them. Topmouth Gudgeon and the American Signal Crayfish compete with our native species for food and habitat and have also introduced new diseases.

Mink often need to be controlled because of the damage that they can cause to wildlife, fisheries and property. They are a particular danger to our native water voles, which are protected in this country.

Some of these plants such as Creeping Water Primrose, Floating Pennywort and Parrot's Feather are sold as pond and aquarium plants but they can spread rapidly and cover waterways. This starves the waterbody of light, nutrients and oxygen which kills many of the species living in it.

Himalayan Balsam, Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed suppress the growth of native grasses and other flora. In autumn Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed die back, leaving the banks bare of vegetation, and therefore liable to erosion. Giant Hogweed also contain poisonous sap, which can cause blistering and skin irritation.

The Environment Agency advises anyone who finds these plants in their garden or pond to visit the ‘be plant wise’ website beplantwise.direct.gov.uk/index.html for advice on how to remove and dispose of them. The Agency has also urged river users to contact it immediately on 03708 506 506 if they suspect that they have seen Killer Shrimp in their local waterway.

More information is available at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/132163.aspx?


Oxford Canal Restrictions

A restriction has been put in place by BW on the North Oxford Canal at Hillmorton Locks 2-7 from 2nd August 2011 until further notice. In order to conserve reservoir stocks along the Oxford Canal the offside tandem locks 3, 5 and 7 are to be locked for the rest of the summer.

Another restriction is in place from Lock 15 Marston Doles to Lock 21 Claydon from 2nd August 2011 until further notice. Due to severe water shortages, this stretch of the Oxford Canal, Lock 15-21 is now restricted to navigation between 10am to 2pm each day. No overnight mooring is allowed within the Claydon lock flight or between lock 15 and 16 at this time.  Boaters are likely to have to queue and are asked to allow plenty of time to arrive at the lock flight to ensure entry.

For enquiries please contact Steve Morgan (BW) 01908 302500.


Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group Planning Application Completed

Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group has submitted a planning application for a proposed 2.1km long town centre waterway ‘Ring’ to be used by small boats and canoeists.
The Group has been working towards the planning application for over four years.  It will be available for review and comment via the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Planning Portal.

For further information please see the Group's website www.maidenheadwaterways.org/


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

  • Blacks/Millets - 15% 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
  • 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.



27th August - Sponsored IWAlk - Montgomery Canal
Details: The ideal opportunity to see the Montgomery Canal in all its glory and to see how much more work is necessary to join the English section down to Wales at Llanymynech.
More info: www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/iwalk___montgomery_canal

10th - 11th September - Slough Canal Festival
Details: Including boat trips, canal wares, arts and crafts, canal fishing, kids' activities, ridgeside falconry, refreshments, mobile farm and lots more! On Sunday you can come and meet the Dulux dog! Free entry and parking.
More info: www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/event/view?id=10

24th September - IWA AGM
IWA's National AGM will be held at 2.00 pm on Saturday 24th September 2011 at Cookley Village Hall, Lea Lane, Cookley, Kidderminster. DY10 3RH
More info: www.waterways.org.uk/agm/agm


Upcoming Work Parties

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

9th September 2011 - Work Party at Rugeley, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: From 9.45am to 1.00pm.  Meet at the bottom of the steps down to Brindley Bank aqueduct, accessed off Wolseley Road by the footpath alongside the Pumping Station.
No experience needed, all equipment supplied.  We will be finishing painting the aqueduct railings, clearing litter and scrub, and thinning some more of the trees.  Please note that if working next to water, lifejackets need to be worn (provided by BW).  As usual, tea, coffee etc. will be provided.  Everyone welcome, even if only for an hour or so.
Note: We are hoping to be joined mid-morning by our MP Aidan Burley and British Waterways Manager Darren Green.
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

9th September - 12th September - Lancaster Canal (WRG North West)
Details: WRG North West is taking part in the Kendal Torchlight procession on Friday evening.  The dig runs from the Friday to Monday. Volunteers will be dismantling and rebuilding parapets on Stainton Crossing Bridge.  New volunteers welcome.
Contact: nw@wrg.org.uk

10th September - 11th September - Wilts & Berks Canal (Essex WRG)
Details: Volunteers from Essex WRG are spending the weekend helping restore the Wilts & Berks Canal - new volunteers welcome!
Contact: essex@wrg.org.uk

10th September - 11th September - Chesterfield Canal (London WRG)
Details: London WRG will be helping construct the New Staveley Town Lock. There will be plenty of work to keep both skilled and newcomers busy!
Contact: london@wrg.org.uk

10th September - 11th September - Thames & Severn Canal (KESCRG)
Details: KESCRG volunteers are spending the weekend restoring the Thames & Severn Canal as part of the Dig Deep Project.  New volunteers welcome!
Contact: bobby@kescrg.org.uk

11th September 2011 - Work Party at Rugeley, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: From 9.45am to 1.00pm.  Meet at Bridge 66, Leathermill Lane, Rugeley, WS15 2HN.
No experience needed, all equipment supplied.  We will be finishing painting, clearing litter and scrub, and filling in a big wash-hole on the towpath.  Please note that if working next to water, lifejackets need to be worn (provided by BW).  As usual, tea, coffee etc. will be provided.  Everyone welcome, even if only for an hour or so.
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

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


Upcoming Towpath Walks

21st August – Regent’s Canal– Little Venice to Camden (London Walks)
Meet 2.30pm Warwick Avenue Station. 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

29th August - Stourbridge Canal
(Jewels on the Cut)
Details: 10.00am start. Jewels on the Cut is a leisurely stroll along the Town Arm of the Stourbridge Canal examining the industrial heritage of the area with particular reference to the Stourbridge Glass Industry.
Broadfield House 01384 812745

4th September – Regent’s Canal – Islington – Mile End (London Walks)
meet 2.30pm Angel Station.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

6th September - Morning Walk from Fradley Junction
(IWA Lichfield Branch)
A 4-mile circular walk taking in the Trent & Mersey and Coventry canals. Flat with two easy stiles. If bringing dogs, please keep them on leads. Meet at 10.30 for 10.45 am start from the British Waterways yard, Fradley Junction, near Alrewas, DE13 7DN (Note: £1 car parking charge). Optional meal at the Kingfisher Cafe afterwards. Non-members welcome. No charge for the walk, but donations to Branch funds appreciated. 
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.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