IWA has called upon Canal & River Trust (CRT) to reconsider its proposals to reform its business boat licensing fees.
IWA is concerned that, if implemented, the proposals will cause serious financial difficulty for some business licence holders.
In principle, IWA does not object to revisiting the formula of how licence fees are levied for business users, but considers that the proposals should be subject to much wider consultation and that any significant changes should be phased in over a longer period of time.
IWA is opposed to any licence increases that are in excess of the 'inflation-only from 2014' levels announced in CRT’s press release of 15th October 2012 when it was stated that “Trustees of the Canal & River Trust have decided to limit boat licence fee increases, for three years from 2014, to inflation only. Their decision was made at the same time as endorsing the third and final year of British Waterways’ planned licence prices which will see licence fees rise from 1 April 2013 by 4.6% (2% above inflation).” CRT has since advised that this decision only referred to standard private licence fees, but IWA considers that the principle stated in CRT's press release of 15th October should apply to both business and private licence holders.
Among the points put to CRT in IWA’s response to the consultation, are:
IWA is also concerned by the consultation process that CRT used for obtaining views on its proposals. IWA, and other national bodies who represent business licence holders, were not consulted, and the consultation was not available on CRT’s website. Existing holders of CRT business licences were consulted, although it is understood that several business licence holders did not receive the consultation documents, and were unaware of the proposals until after the deadline for comments had passed. IWA is also concerned about the short duration of the consultation, and its timing at the busiest time of year for the hire boat trade.
Paul Roper said “IWA is very concerned that CRT's proposals, whilst only raising small amounts of additional income, would have a significant impact on the viability of some operators. This would result in the public having less opportunity to get afloat on our inland waterways. CRT should not increase boat licence fees by more than inflation for the next three years.”
Canal & River Trust has said that it will consider everyone's views before making any decisions to introduce changes.
Since the last Bulletin IWA has had some informal feedback that HS2 Ltd believes the consultation responses that it has received on its Design Refinement proposals would not require any major changes to its proposed London to Birmingham route (including spurs to Leeds and Manchester). If this information is subsequently confirmed the major impact on the Trent & Mersey Canal in the Fradley area would continue.
For those not familiar with the plans, HS2 Ltd proposes four viaduct crossings over the Trent & Mersey Canal as well as associated approach embankments. One of these is 350m beyond Shade House Lock for the Manchester spur, and will be about 8m high carrying two tracks. The second and third crossings will be single track, 560m and 590m beyond Shade House Lock, and 15m and 8m high carrying the HS2 West Coast Main Line links across the canal. These two link lines would then join, and re-cross the canal in the fourth crossing, 150m beyond Wood End Lock at a height of 12m.
These crossings would significantly impact this section of the canal by changing the surrounding environment and wildlife. IWA believes a much better option of diverting three of the crossings away from the canal line could be achieved with other benefits.
In view of this position, IWA Trustees have agreed to retain rail consulting engineers to undertake a feasibility study of our proposals, and compare then with those currently on the table from HS2. If the report confirms IWA’s position, this evidence will be used to discuss with other stakeholders and to deploy in the remaining processes of obtaining authorisation to construct phase 1, to get HS2 Ltd to reconsider its proposals. Although the cost of getting the facts to support our position is significant, IWA believes it is a worthwhile investment in getting the right answer at Fradley.
Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) is now looking for waterway restoration projects that would benefit from Canal Camps next year. Initially WRG is approaching canal societies and trusts to see whether or not they would be interested in hosting a Canal Camp. Any interested waterway group does not have to be able to provide a definite proposal from the outset as WRG is aware there are many factors to be considered such as funding. However, WRG would still like to hear from you if you would like to be considered for a Canal Camp at this stage.
Interested groups should contact Jenny Black to discuss possibilities and to arrange a site visit.
In order for WRG to assess any proposed site you would need to provide the following information:
WRG needs final submissions for Canal Camps by 18th September, to allow enough time to arrange site visits before the WRG Board meets to plan the 2014 Canal Camps Schedule on 9th November.
In addition to Canal Camps, WRG also has several regional groups who may be interested in holding weekend working parties to help your project. Such requests can be submitted throughout the year, either direct to the groups concerned or via Jenny Black at Head Office. Most of the regional groups plan their work schedule some months in advance, so it is best to ask early.
Visit WRG's website to find out what is involved in hosting a canal camp.
Contact Jenny Black for further information or to express your interest, email email@example.com or phone 01494 783 453.
Hire Boat Safety
Through the Association's involvement with the Boat Safety Scheme, IWA has been asked to participate in an forthcoming review of Hire Boat and Hirer Safety. As such IWA would like to hear the views of members with hiring experiences.
IWA is looking to talk to a selection of members who collectively have hiring experience in one or more of the following categories:
IWA is looking for a representative range of experiences - be they good or bad. These need not necessarily be confined to canalboat hire; river and/or Broads hiring experiences will also be welcome.
If you can help please e-mail Ian Fletcher of IWA's Navigation Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org - using the subject heading Hire Boat Safety.
Following on from the annual calendar photography competition, IWA is pleased to unveil its 2014 calendar.
During 2012 and early 2013, IWA ran a photography competition and the response was to a very high standard with nearly 550 photographs entered. The photographs were then shortlisted and voted for by the public. Winners received three free calendars each for the photographs used in the final calendar.
The calendar features photographs of the Bridgewater Canal, Caldon Canal, Coventry Canal, Dudley No.1 Canal, Llangollen Canal, Oxford Canal, River Nene, Shropshire Union Canal, River Stort and the River Thames.
The winning photographs are available to view on IWA's website.
IWA would like to thank the competition photographers and all those who have supplied other photos throughout the year to support our publicity, publications and web site. We are very grateful for the contributions.
The 2015 calendar competition will be launched in a few weeks time and will be announced in the IWA Bulletin.
This is the ninth year that IWA Christmas cards and calendars have remained at only £3.60 per pack / calendar. Proceeds from the sale of the calendars and other items in the shop support IWA campaigns.
2013 IWA Christmas cards also available to buy from IWAShop.com for £3.60 per pack. The cards feature original paintings of waterway scenes and one photograph from a submission to the calendar competition. We will be looking for potential photographs for a Christmas card in 2014.
IWA also has a brand new range of bargain packs this year, containing a selection of popular designs from recent years. There are three different sized packs to choose from.
IWA Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch held its annual lock wind on 27th – 28th July at Hurleston Locks at the junction of the Shropshire Union and Llangollen canals.
Over the course of the weekend, Branch volunteers assisted more than 100 boats through the locks. Much to the relief of all, no boats got stuck – a regular hazard in the very narrow bottom lock.
The Branch’s lock side gazebo did a brisk trade selling homemade cakes, preserves, strawberries and cream as well as the Branch’s pictorial calendar for 2014, sponsored by canal businesses in the Branch area.
The lock wind was visited over the weekend by Wendy Capelle, Waterway Manager for Canal & River Trust’s North Wales and Borders Waterways, and IWA volunteers were ably assisted throughout by CRT’s seasonal and volunteer lock keepers on site.
This was the second successive year the Branch has held its lock wind at Hurleston, and on the strength of this year’s performance both the location and timing at the start of the school summer holidays look set to become a long-term fixture in the Branch’s calendar.
The Branch would also like to thank all IWA members who contributed time, produce and bric-a-brac. Even if you did not have the opportunity to be there this year, we hope you will be able to join us at this event on a future occasion.
IWA Warwickshire Branch - Lock Ransom - Kingswood Junction, Lapworth
Following the lock painting and towpath maintenance on the Lapworth flight carried out by IWA Warwickshire Branch members over the last two years, a Lock Ransom was held on 3rd and 4th August at Kingswood Junction. A sunny day on the Saturday encouraged boaters who were worked through the locks by Branch members. A marquee containing displays of the work of the branch and IWA literature was visited by many towpath walkers and cyclists who were complimentary about the work being done when viewing the photographs of Branch work parties. However, the sun was not to last, by mid-morning on Sunday the rain came and virtually stopped all traffic on water and land. Nevertheless, through the generosity of boaters and towpath passers-by a sum in excess of £200 was raised. Many thanks to all who contributed.
The cofferdam in City Mill River is to remain in place until some time in the latter half of 2015 due to delays in the Crossrail works. The booms across the Bow Back River are still needed to provide security to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, prevent unauthorised mooring on the Bow Back River and prevent boaters from reaching a dead-end with no safe place to turn around. Unauthorised passage through City Mill Lock is also currently prohibited to stop boats from freely navigating into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The booms across the Bow Back River will remain in place until London Legacy Development Committee (LLDC) and Canal & River Trust agree to their removal. These waterways should be back in CRT control by no later than 1st January 2015. Early access for boaters is being negotiated with LLDC but depends upon the area being safe to boat in and the ability to implement navigation protocols for Waterworks River as this is a flood channel.
Canal & River Trust has sold the Toll House by the Grand Union Canal at Bulls Bridge Road, Southall along with adjoining land. A condition of the sale was the refurbishment of the Toll House. The new owner is a haulage contractor and plans to use the refurbished building for his business offices. The other buildings on site are to be demolished and the yard used for vehicle and materials storage. CRT has retained the strip of land next to the canal, so that it can use this area for moorings. IWA Middlesex Branch objected to the planning application for these works on the grounds of insufficient information, inappropriate materials and other technical issues. The application remains undecided but work on the Toll House has continued. At a recent visit it was found that the entire original timber roof structure had been removed and replaced by a higher roof of flat roof construction with steep mansard sides. This would seem an attempt to provide an additional floor of accommodation. It was noted than an existing chimney stack had also been demolished. All of this work has proceeded without planning permission and bears no resemblance to the application drawings. IWA Middlesex Branch has been advised by the local authority that a stop notice has already been served by Hillingdon Borough Council on the owners of the site.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
South East Region - Cargoes - Autumn 2013
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
Thursday 11th July saw IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch's second Himalayan Balsam bashing work party on the Caldon Canal. The work party met at Froghall and a group of ten volunteers spent the day balsam bashing and milepost painting. Volunteers on the day ranged in age from 6 to over 60 and included boaters on holiday and one volunteer visiting from California. All spent an enjoyable day pulling Himalayan Balsam and the younger volunteers particularly, enjoyed squashing the stems, demonstrating that this type of work party really is suitable for all ages. Many thanks to all the volunteers who turned up for the day and some considerable distance of towpath and surrounding area was cleared of Balsam. Well done for a great job.
If you have any questions regarding future working parties or indeed suggestions as to where we should work then please contact Bob Luscombe, Working Party Organiser, IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch.
Saturday 20th July saw IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch volunteers return to the Cheshire Locks for another work party. At Lock 50 (Lawton Locks) on the Trent & Mersey the volunteers painted locks, cleared the vegetation and tidied cobble setts.
The end result showed a much improved sets of locks with the cobbles on the towpath and around Lock 50 once again fully displayed, adding to the overall appearance of the lock flight that has been receiving attention over the last few work parties. Many thanks once again to the returning volunteers and the new volunteers who came along for the day and also to CRT for their usual support in terms of materials.
This month on Tuesday 20th August we will be working at lock 49, the last of the Lawton Locks. As usual, we will meet at 10am and continue until about 4pm. Further work parties will take place on Saturday 21st September and Tuesday 15th October as we continue to work our way up the Cheshire Locks.
Anyone who would like to volunteer for all or part of these days is very welcome. All tools and materials are provided, however you need to wear old clothes and stout shoes or boots and bring waterproofs, just in case! All welcome for either the full day (10am – 4pm) or join us for part of the day.
If you have any questions regarding future working parties then please contact Bob Luscombe, Work Party Organiser, IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch.
IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch's last two of four Himalayan Balsam work parties on the Caldon Canal in the Churnet Valley took place during the first half of August. These work parties were organised by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and supported by Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust and Canal & River Trust.
On Thursday 1st August volunteers met at Basford Bridge, Cheddleton, to work upstream towards Cheddleton Locks . The volunteers were pleased to discover that there was considerably less Himalayan Balsam along this stretch compared to last year. After lunch the volunteers worked in the other direction, pulling up all the Himalayan Balsam between Basford Bridge and the new visitor moorings (recently installed by CRT), leaving this stretch of canal relatively clear of the plant.
On 11th August volunteers met at Consall Forge on the river section of the Caldon Canal, and worked upstream towards Oakmeadowford Lock. This was the third year of pulling up Himalayan Balsam along this stretch, and it was encouraging to note how little there was along the sections that had been tackled previously.
CRT’s aluminium trailable boat was brought along to both sessions by Volunteer Leader, Stuart Collins, and this provided an invaluable aid to getting at the plants that were growing out of the waters edge and growing on the non-towpath side. Much Himalayan Balsam remains on the offside along the river section, and plans for using a larger work boat are being considered for next year.
A feature of all four of the work parties pulling up Himalayan Balsam in the Churnet Valley this year has been the wide age range, with youngsters attending all four sessions. The age range over the four sessions went from six to seventy plus.
On Saturday 3rd August, IWA Lancashire & Cumbria Branch had an impressive turn out for their Himalayan Balsam work party at Lune Aqueduct on the Lancaster Canal. In total sixteen volunteers attended the event to help clear the area of the invasive plant, Himalayan Balsam. It was good to see that two of the volunteers had been encouraged to attend the event through posters displayed on the towpath.
Working from 10am to 3.30pm the volunteers cleared the area despite difficult terrain and awkward brambles. The group are now interested in carrying on the work next year over a number of weekends in order to tackle a larger area.
Photo: Lune Aqueduct Himalayan Balsam Bash August 2013, photo courtesy of David Pedder
The Beeston Cut in Nottingham was identified last year as having a lot of Himalayan Balsam on the flood bank on the offside of the canal. Discussions took place to see whether volunteers could do something about it, but unfortunately it was decided that the bank was too steep and that the only practical way of dealing with it would be for it to be sprayed with weed killer. Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency and Broxtowe Borough Council agreed to share the costs and this year the Himalayan Balsam growing on the bank has been sprayed, following a check that morning for nesting birds carried out by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
As part of the arrangement, a work party jointly organised between CRT and IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch, was then put together at fairly short notice, to pull up some of the Himalayan Balsam growing in the surrounding area, particularly along the banks of the River Trent in the vicinity of Beeston Lock.
So on Thursday 8th August, a group of volunteers met at Beeston Lock and spent the day pulling up some of the tallest Himalayan Balsam that the volunteers (some of whom have pulled up Himalayan Balsam in other parts of the country over previous years) had ever seen. Most of the plants stood at over 12ft in height and huge piles of pulled up Balsam were left to rot down at the end of the day.
Volunteers included longstanding IWA members, CRT volunteers, an undergraduate student writing a dissertation about invasive plants, and Stewart Craven, from the nearby Canalside Heritage Centre project, who had originally contacted IWA about the problem last year.
IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
Department for Transport Announces a £10 million Investment in Towpath Improvements
On 12th August the Prime Minister and Department for Transport announced plans to spend £77 million from its City Cycle Ambition Grant Scheme to promote cycling in cities and national parks around the UK. Details of which can be found in the Governement's press release and the full briefing.
Canal & River Trust says that of this funding, £10 million is to be spent on changing 37 miles of towpath in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester into cycleways (see press release). The funds will enable the resurfacing of towpaths, installation of easy access ramps and upgrading of signage along the canal. In addition, some repairs will be made to canal bank walls. These planned works are intended to improve access to the canals with the addition of ramps opening up more of the canal network to pushchair and mobility users, whilst improved canal bank walls will make mooring in city centres easier for boaters.
Waterways affected are the eastern end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, the Ashton Canal in Manchester, and the Birmingham & Fazeley, Birmingham, Worcester & Birmingham and Grand Union canals in Birmingham. Whilst the additional cycle traffic will be unwelcome to some boaters and towpath walkers, the increased traffic on Leeds & Liverpool Canal in West Yorkshire and on the Ashton Canal should help reduce anti-social behaviour and intimidation felt by many in these areas.
The Department for Transport’s funding will also include money for a feasibility study into a cycle path broadly following the proposed HS2 rail route to look into how existing footpaths or cycle tracks could be joined up or upgraded to create a single route between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. This could provide alternative traffic routes between those waterways to be crossed by the rail route. The study and its conclusions would be separate from ongoing work on HS2 and will not be part of the HS2 Bill processes with no land-take or cost impacts.
Canal & River Trust is to be loaned a Google 'Trekker' enabling the Trust to document UK canals and waterways and add the images to Google's Street View.
The Street View car and trike, neither of which can easily reach the waterways path or bridges, have been used to take 360 degree images of public locations allowing users to view a location without visiting the area. Now the 'Trekker' is to enable more remote and inaccessible places to be captured and added to Street View. Locations already added to Street View using this new technology include the Grand Canyon and some of the world's highest peaks.
CRT plans to start the task of taking images of the waterways on the Regent’s Canal before walking the Trekker over 100 miles during the next month. The aim is to capture images of key locations and features of the waterways including Standege Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Bingley Five Rise locks on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the blacksmith’s workshop at Stoke Bruerne on the Grand Union Canal, so that people from around the world can view UK waterways.
A team of volunteers has stepped in to help keep the Dudley canals graffiti free after vandals hit a nature spot last week.
Green Team Dudley, which has a long-standing partnership with Dudley Canals Trust, offered its support when vandals defaced a local landmark.
The group, all adults with learning disabilities, cleaned and re-painted the sculpture celebrating a world renowned anchor and chain makers from the town, Hingleys, who were based in Dudley for 150 years.
The Team's work, and that of the Dudley Canals Trust in maintaining the local canal network, is being showcased with free boat trips in August. Organised by the Dudley Canal Trust and Groundwork West Midlands, the fun and informative trips can be enjoyed by all ages. Trips last an hour each and run between 11am and 4pm.On the 21st August, trips will run from Bumble Hole to Netherton and back and on Saturday, 31st August at Coombeswood Canal Trust Hawne Basin, Hereward Rise, boat trips will run alongside a family fun day.
For more information on the free trips, call Chris Leech on 0121 530 5525.
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is assembling its very own ‘Time Team’ for an archaeological ‘mini-dig’ at Gosden Meadow, Bramley, with the goal of uncovering hidden features of Gosden aqueduct, a structure of 1815 which carried the Wey & Arun Canal over the Cranleigh Waters. The team of volunteer diggers plan to start work by the second week of September and the excavation will remain open until Sunday 15th September, giving participants in the Trust’s Heritage Open Days’ guided walk from Shalford to Bramley on that day the chance to view what comes to light. No charge is made for participation in the guided walk, but it is essential to book your place through Guildford Tourist Office 01483 44433. All other enquiries to the Trust’s Northern Office on 01483 505566.
The Lancaster Canal Trust has been working hard to provide more people with access to the wildlife of the Lancaster Canal having recently started Lancaster Canal nature trips. There are a selection of trips to choose from, which can include guided walks and provide opportunities to identify wild flowers, watch water birds, canal dip and listen to talks on the canal’s history. The Trust’s boat ‘Waterwitch’ can take up to twelve people on these trips, which have appealed to school groups, members of the public and will hopefully attract more rambling associations.
The Lancaster Canal Trust is also hoping to create further navigation opportunities as they are restoring and re-watering the Lancaster Canal at Stainton. The project should be completed next year and alongside the many boat trips on offer should attract more people to the Lancaster Canal.
‘Waterwitch’ runs from 11am to 4pm every Sunday from May to September and on Saturdays during August. These trips are open to the public for a small donation. If you are interested in chartering the boat for a special event or have a group who would be interested in the nature trips please contact Frank Sanderson, Lancaster Canal Trust Public Relations Officer, direct on 015395 66967.
The full programme for the 2013 Mayor’s Thames Festival has now been announced, with a variety of entertainment taking place over the ten day event running from Friday 6th – Sunday 15th September. As part of the celebration of the Thames there will be live performances from a selection of choirs, art installations, The Great River Race, classic boat displays, walks and talks.
For more information and to see the full programme visit The Mayor’s Thames Festival Website.
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 NarrowBoat 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
Festivals and Boat Rallies
24th - 26th August North Cheshire Cruising Club Boat Gathering
1st September Angel Canal Festival - Festival of London Waterways
7th - 8th September Slough Canal Festival - Festival of London Waterways
6th - 15th September Mayor's River Thames Festival
13th - 15th September Burnley Canal Festival
14th - 15th September Village at War Weekend (Stoke Bruerne)
21st - 22nd September Whitchurch Gathering of Boats
21st - 22nd September Huddlesford Heritage Gathering
6th October Banbury Canal Day
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.
17th August Work Party - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th August Work Party - City Road Basin, London (IWA supporting Canal & River Trust)
18th August Bugsworth Basin Work Party (IWA supporting the Inland Waterways Protection Society)
20th August Work Party - Cheshire Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
20th August Work Party - Slough Arm (IWA Middlesex Branch Supporting Canal & River Trust)
24th August Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
25th August Bugsworth Basin Work Party (IWA supporting the Inland Waterways Protection Society)
1st September Work Party - Hythe Bridge (IWA Oxfordshire Branch)
8th September Bugsworth Basin Work Party (IWA supporting the Inland Waterways Protection Society)
12th September Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Stefanie Preston