IWA Bulletin Mid-December 2011

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The All Party Waterways Group Questions the Minister

The All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group had a hearing on 8 December to give the Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, the opportunity to inform the group of progress on the Canal & River Trust coming into being next year and for group members to be able to question him. The hearing, chaired by the Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, was well attended by group members and waterways stakeholders.

The Minister reported that progress had been made on what both Government and the Canal & River Trust Transition Trustees believed was the right model on governance for the Canal & River Trust to begin life. There was now a target for 50% of the Council to be elected over time. On membership, the Trustees had decided that the charity should not have a membership for fund-raising purposes, believing that other means of raising funds and stimulating voluntary giving were more effective for fundraising than a formal membership.

He could not say what government funding was going to be for the Canal & River Trust since negotiations had not yet finished. But he did reveal that the negotiations were complex, including the issues of adequate maintenance of the canal network, mitigation of possible future liabilities arising from environmental or other legislative requirements and the Canal & River Trust’s pension arrangements; and he repeated that the Government was committed to a sustainable and prosperous future for the waterways, wanting to give the Canal & River Trust the best possible start that it could. He expected to be able to make announcements in the New Year.

Waterways classification had become an issue. IWA had raised concerns about the proposed amendments to the system for classifying waterways in the Transport Act 1968 because it was concerned that the Canal & River Trust would seek to reclassify “cruising” waterways to “remainder” waterways. He gave an assurance that any application from the Canal & River Trust to reclassify a waterway would be subject to a full cost benefit analysis and wide consultation with those likely to be affected as required by the Transport Act.  In addition, he was sure that the Trustees would consult the charity’s Council and the relevant Waterways Partnership before embarking on such a significant course of action that would impact on a large number of its users.  These mechanisms would help to ensure a robust and transparent process on a re-classification of any of the charity’s waterways.
In answer to questions from the Rt Hon Alun Michael and other MPs present, Richard Benyon said that he did not want or expect to see closures of any waterways, as that would not be constructive. The Government wanted to ensure that in the medium term there was scope for a reduction in the percentage of assets that were in poor and very poor condition. He added that the Government wanted the existing network to be both maintained and enhanced.

On ownership, Alun Michael, whilst recognising what the Minister had said about fund raising, suggested that in his experience, part ownership of a charity under for example, co-operative arrangements, delivered local ownership and commitment. Richard Benyon commented that he could see that possibility, locally and as a part of natural evolution.

Some Transition Trustees were present, including the chairman, Tony Hales. They were invited to comment. Tony Hales said that that the Canal & River Trust would be reviewing it’s governance in 3 years and that would be the time to reflect on the suggestions made. On finance, he said that commercial activity would be the most significant contributor, outweighing the government contribution by some margin, and that the Trustees were comfortable about the future prospects for this commercial activity. The Trustees were also confident about the forecasts for the contribution for voluntary income and donations, which were expected to reach £6-8m after 10 years. There were also contributions to be made by other government departments, local government and bodies such as Transport for London and the Olympic Delivery Authority. It was a question of determining the benefits they receive from the network so that they recognised that a contribution was justified. However, he reiterated the view of the Trustees that the £39m per annum offered by central government was not enough. The finance package overall needed to be enough to secure the network’s assets in the long term and ensure that day to day maintenance was carried out together with network dredging; and to ensure that pensions were safeguarded. He recognised the duty of Trustees to be in a position to satisfy the Charity Commission that the Trust was sustainable.

Lynne Berry, one of the Transition Trustees, reported on public benefit. It had evaluated at around £500millon but that didn’t fully reflect issues such as the social return and the well being benefit etc. Trustees were currently developing the public benefit model to embrace these wider issues.

Richard Benyon offered to return to the group to give a further report when the financial negotiations were concluded. That was welcomed by the group. It is likely to take place early in the New Year.

Alun Michael ended the hearing by saying that it was not unheard of for charities to go wrong, volunteer led or otherwise. It would not be an easy transition. It was going to be very challenging and there was profound interest from MPs on all sides of the House. The transition would be scrutinised with great interest.
IWA views this to have been be a very constructive hearing. It was helpful to hear that the Minister was considering the need for adequate maintenance of the canal network, mitigation of possible future liabilities arising from environmental or other legislative requirements and the Canal & River Trust’s pension arrangements – all points of concern that IWA has raised with central government and that IWA members have raised with their constituency MPs. It was also good to hear that Tony Hales wanted to see a financial arrangement that secured the network’s assets in the long term, day to day maintenance, and network dredging, recognising the need for Trustees to satisfy the Charity Commission on sustainability.

The Minister’s response to IWA on waterways classification was also seen to be a helpful clarification.

IWA News

Boater Representatives Sought for Canal & River Trust Council

Applications for election for the Canal & River Trust’s inaugural Council are being sought.

Seven positions on the council are to be filled by boaters or boating businesses. Four positions are to be elected by boat licence holders and two positions elected by boating businesses.

The Council is to be the guardian of the long-term values and purposes of the Canal & River Trust. While the trustees are responsible for determining policy and strategy, the Council will have an important role in helping to shape policy, raising and debating issues, and providing guidance, perspective and a sounding board for the trustees.

To be eligible to stand for election or vote in the election, boaters must hold a 12-month boat licence on 18th January 2012.

To stand for election a nomination form must be completed which is available for download from the Waterscape website.

The Nomination process is open until 18th January 2012.

Nominations must be supported by ten sponsors who each also hold a valid 12-month boat licence on this date.

IWA is fielding four IWA sponsored candidates on behalf of all boaters;

Ivor Caplan a trustee of IWA and residential boater,
Clive Henderson national chairman of IWA ,
Paul Roper a trustee of IWA and chair of our navigation committee,
Vaughan Welch a trustee of IWA and chair of our restoration committee

IWA – Canal & River Trust Working as Partners Workshop

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

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

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

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

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


IWA Guildford & Reading Branch Campaign for Bedser Bridge on the Basingstoke Canal

During October 2011, Woking Borough Council held a consultation on plans for a replacement pedestrian footbridge over the Basingstoke Canal.

IWA Guildford & Reading Branch and local residents raised concerns relating to the height of the proposed bridge, its appearance, and accessibility issues caused by the length of the ramps and the number of steps.

259 representations were received. 535 signatories were collected via an e-petition facility and a petition organised by local residents gained over 1,340 signatures.

Due to pressure from the branch and local residents, the design of a new bridge across the canal from Brewery Road to the town centre has now been radically changed.

The new design is 1.2m (4ft) lower with a much shorter ramp and fewer steps. Instead of a concrete and galvanised steel structure, the new design features a timber bridge with a view to being sympathetic to its surrounding area.

The bridge was named after the Bedser twins who played cricket for Surrey and England in the 1950s, and came from Woking.

Development is due to commence in early 2012.

For more information please see the Woking Borough Council website

Download the leaflet with 3D architectural drawings and site plans

(Artist impressions copyright Woking Borough Council)


IWA Lichfield Branch Work Party Uncovers a Piece of Local History

The latest in IWA Lichfield Branch's work parties on the Trent & Mersey Canal took place on Sunday 4th December. Volunteers continued the improvements to the canalside at Brindley Bank in Rugeley.

Led by Stuart Collins of British Waterways, the 12 volunteers turned amateur archaeologists uncovered more of the canal wharf and tramway and revealed one of the original 'bloody steps'.

Digging out some stubborn tree roots and a covering of soil revealed a length of the brick paved wharf with its 2 foot gauge tramway, once used to take coal to the boilerhouse of Brindley Bank pumping station. The spoil was used to backfill and level the ground behind the canal edge piling. 

Another team removed dead trees and tackled undergrowth alongside the present steps, where a trial excavation uncovered one of the sandstone blocks from the original 'bloody steps'; a piece of local history rediscovered.

(Photo by Phil Sharpe)


Canalway Cavalcade Committee

Applications are invited for the following vacancies on the organising committee:

Catering Assistant Manager - Provide support to the Catering Manager on site in location and supervision of catering outlets. No catering experience necessary.

Entertainments Assistant Manager - Provide administrative and logistics support to the Entertainments Manager during the event.

Public Address Manager & Commentators - The Manager will co-ordinate a team of commentators and create a rota in preparation for the event. Commentators will make public information announcements during the event.

Waterspace Assistant Manager - Provide administrative and logistics support to the Waterspace Manager during the event: organising moorings and the boat handling competition; co-ordinating the pageant and illuminated boats parades.

WoW (Wild over Waterways) Schools Project Manager - As part of our community engagement we would like to run our popular ‘Art is Rubbish’ project with local schools, who are invited to make a collage or sculpture from recycled materials, with a waterways theme. The project fits many educational objectives and generates local publicity for participating schools, as well as demonstrating IWA’s commitment to educating and enthusing young people about our waterways. If you have experience of working with primary schools we would like to hear from you.

We always need volunteers of every kind during this exciting event so if you are bringing your boat, live in the vicinity or are visiting London and can spare a few hours do please get in touch.

All roles are committee posts and require attendance at monthly meetings at a venue near Kings Cross, London.

Applications: To get involved, please apply for a job specification form, from Jerry Sanders, 3 Wharf House, Barton Turn, Barton-under-Needwood, Staffs DE13 8DZ. To contact Jerry please call 07970 835523 or e-mail jerry.sanders@waterways.org.uk


IWA Public Relations & Communications Internship

Public relations and social media is of continuing importance to The Inland Waterways Association, and we need someone to help with the day-to-day duties of helping us manage and develop our local and national public relations and social networking channels.

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

For more information please see the internship specification.


news_2012workingholidaysWaterway Recovery Group Working Holidays 2012

Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has launched its new programme of unique weeklong holidays, known as ‘Canal Camps’ designed to restore England’s derelict canals to their former glory.

Jobs include the restoration of structures, operation of plant and machinery, stonework, vegetation clearance. Skills learnt may include heritage restoration, machinery operation, teamwork, conservation techniques, and demolition.

Canal Camps also meet all the criteria for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme residential project.

It’s a totally unique holiday which only costs £56 per week (includes food & basic accommodation). Volunteers need no previous experience - all they require is a willingness to get involved and a good sense of fun.

For more information about the holidays please see www.wrg.org.uk or to request a brochure email Jenny on enquiries@wrg.org.uk or call 01494 783 453 ext 604


IWA Calendar Competition

IWA is looking for photos for IWA's 2013 Calendar and offering three free calendars to the photographers whose photos are used.

You can check out the current entrants in our online gallery.

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

More information on how to enter.

Closing date: 31st January 2012



IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Events Volunteering

Find out about volunteering opportunities at IWA's 2012 events www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/volunteer/event_volunteers


IWA Branch and Region Help Wanted

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


Other News

Chairs appointed for Canal & River Trust Waterway Partnerships

The Canal & River Trust, has appointed chairs to a number of the Waterway Partnerships that will play a role in the management of canals and rivers across the network.

Chairs have been appointed in Manchester & Pennine, North Wales & Borders, South Wales & Severn and Kennet & Avon. The chairs for the Partnerships in the West Midlands and North West, who have, to date, been trials, have been asked to and have agreed to continue. A chair has also been recruited for the Museums Partnership, which will be the successor to The Waterways Trust Museums Management Board.

Chairs are now being sought for the remaining Waterway Partnerships in the North East, Central Shires, East Midlands, South East and London and recruitment for the All Wales Partnership is continuing.

Appointed chairs of Waterway Partnerships

Manchester & Pennine: Professor Walter Menzies. Previously chief executive of the Mersey Basin Campaign.

North Wales & Borders: Jim Forrester. Jim is currently director at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.

South Wales & Severn: Jack Hegarty. Jack has been managing director of Wychavon District Council since 2004.

Kennet & Avon: Fleur de Rhe Philipe. Fleur has been a member of Wiltshire Council since 1997, currently as cabinet member for economic development and strategic planning.

North West: Professor Steven Broomhead. Currently professor of entrepreneurial education at Liverpool Hope University.

West Midlands: Peter Mathews CMG. Peter is past chair of the Black Country Consortium.

Museums: Laurence Newman. Chairman, Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

See full press release on the British Waterways website


New Trustees Needed to Join the Canal & River Trust

The Canal & River Trust is seeking to appoint a further three volunteers to join its board of trustees ahead of taking over from British Waterways.

The Canal & River Trust is looking for candidates with significant experience gained through operating at a senior level in a substantial enterprise including the handling of senior management and governance issues and an understanding and empathy with the natural and built heritage of the waterways.

In addition, applicants are sought who have particular experience in finance (to chair the Trust’s Audit Committee), property investment and asset management (to chair the Trust’s Commercial Investment Committee) or senior leadership within organisations focussing on large-scale engineering, asset and environmental management.

The recruitment of the new trustees is being undertaken by a committee made up of two existing trustees and two independent people appointed by Defra. The appointments will be recommended for approval at the first meeting of the Canal & River Trust Council in March 2012.

Successful candidates will be appointed for three years with the expectation of renewal for a second three-year term. They are likely to need to devote approximately three days a month. The roles will not be remunerated, however legitimate travel and other expenses will be fully reimbursed.

Those interested in applying can find further details from search specialists Saxton Bampfylde Ltd, at www.saxbam.com/job quoting ref number QAWTA or by calling 020 7227 0890 (during office hours) or emailing  QAWTA@saxbam.com.  The closing date for applications is noon on Tuesday 3rd January 2012.



Broads Given £800,000 Dredging Research Grant

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads is to be given an £800,000 grant to help find new ways of removing sediment which builds up in the waterways.

The money from the EU will fund research into new methods of dredging sediment and recycling it.

The Broads Authority said the money would also help fund an extension to the sediment island at Duck Broad.

The project is expected to run until 2014.

See full article on the BBC website


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing *NEW*
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Narrowboat Services - 10% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • UK Boat Hire - up to 20% discount on 2012 holidays
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard
  • Worcester Marine Windows Ltd - 5% discount

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

To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public

For IWA members that receive a hard copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.


Upcoming Work Parties

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Towpath Walks

18th December - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: Little Venice – Camden. Meeting point: Warwick Avenue Station. Cost: £8 Concessionary and student rate: £6. 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

27th December - Paddington Arm, Grand Union Canal (London Walks)
Details: Little Venice, Paddington Arm. Meeting Point: Edgware Rd Station (Circle). Cost: £8 Concessionary and student rate: £6. 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

1st January 2012 - Trent & Mersey Canal, Alrewas (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: An easy, flat, 3 mile walk starting and ending at the National Arboretum, Alrewas, taking in the Trent & Mersey Canal towpath. Meet 10.30 for 10.45 am start at the National Arboretum car park DE13 7AR (parking charge applies). Optional meal at the Arboretum Licensed Restaurant afterwards. 
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore at margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk or 07581 794111

1st January 2012 - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: Regent’s Canal: Little Venice – Camden. Meeting Point is at Warwick Avenue Station. Costs £8 Concessionary and a student rate of £6.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk

1st January 2012 - Hawkesbury Junction (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
Details: A walk around Hawkesbury Junction canal junction at the northern limit of the Oxford Canal where it meets the Coventry Canal. Meet by The Greyhound Inn SP362846 at 10:30am. The walks normally last about 90 minutes and you are advised to wear boots when the recent weather may have made the footpaths muddy.
Contact: Peter Webb info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk or call 01926 422764

7th January 2012 - Shrewsbury Canal & River Severn (IWA Shrewsbury and North Wales Branch)
Details: Main assembly point at 10.30am is by the footbridge from the Frankwell car park, near the Guildhall. The former Shrewsbury Canal passed alongside this, Grade I listed, cast iron framed mill. The route follows the southern end of the canal, then passes the prison and descends 60 steps to the river footpath.
Contact: alan.wilding@waterways.org.uk or call 01743 359 650

12th January 2012 - Coventry Canal, Atherstone Locks (IWA Lichfield Branch and BW)
Details: The Site Visit is to see repair work on the canal locks at Atherstone.  Meet 10.30 for 10.45 am by Atherstone Top Lock.  Car parking at the old coal yard off Coleshill Road.  A conducted tour by British Waterways to see work on the lock flight including Locks 3 and 9 which will be dewatered for brickwork repairs and gate relining.  The total walking distance from Lock 1 to Lock 9 and return is about 3 miles.
Contact: Pat Barton pat.barton@waterways.org.uk or 01785 824012

15th January 2012 - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: Regent’s Canal: King’s Cross – Camden. Meeting point is King’s Cross Station (taxi rank) Costs £8 Concessionary and student rate is £6.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk

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