Basingstoke Canal to Reopen
Following additional investment from its local authority owners, along with encouragement and practical support from the volunteer sector, the Basingstoke Canal Authority plans to fully re-open the Canal in time for Easter this year. Surrey and Hampshire County Councils, which jointly own the Canal, have spent £1.6 million in recent months on lock gates, lock walls, culverts and embankment repairs. There is a further £2 million available from each of the owners over the next 4 years (i.e. a total commitment of £5.6 million is being spent on the Canal) to address a long list of similar but thus far slightly less urgent repairs and deferred maintenance. Please see the Basingstoke Canal page on the Surrey County Council website for further details.
The flight of 14 locks at Deepcut, which has been closed to boats since 2009 is expected to fully reopen at Easter 2013, restoring navigation along the whole 32 miles of waterway. To celebrate this work, a cruise along the whole length of the Canal is being arranged – see separate feature. The re-opening date is dependent on contractors and the vagaries of the weather, and there are contingent plans in hand for the celebratory campaigning cruise should there be any delay. The western and eastern ends of the Canal have, of course remained open, with the exception of short term stoppages for works and the perennial summer water supply problem, throughout the period of closure for the Deepcut locks since 2009. Work continues to identity new water supplies for the Canal, and the situation has been eased over the years by the back-pumping at the eastern end. The Environment Agency has recently agreed that the volumes of water back-pumped from the river Wey can be increased, and this will help keep the Canal open for longer in dry periods. The continuing investment in the Canal does, of course, mean that over the next couple of years there will continue to be some unavoidable temporary closures to navigation.
Now that the local authorities have demonstrated their commitment to the Canal by investing these funds on bringing the waterway up to a good standard, it is vitally important that boaters commit to using the Canal for it to prosper in the future as a navigable waterway. Whilst the two County Councils have funded this latest refurbishment out of tax-payers funds, they have made clear that the Canal must continue on a sound financial footing, largely paying its way in the future. The implication is that this is the last time that this amount of tax-payers resources is likely to be injected into the Canal. In short, “use it or lose it!”. At present, the fees for navigating the Canal and mooring on it are both well below that for other waterways in the South East, and so it is likely that fees will rise, so that boaters can be seen to be paying their fair share. The Canal has long been supported by IWA, WRG and Surrey and Hants Canal Society, which is now operating under the new name of Basingstoke Canal Society, and all the voluntary sector organisations involved have reaffirmed their continuing support for the Canal.
27th March marks the first anniversary of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and signifies the end of the period of grace when Local Authorities can give full weight to policies and proposals in their Development Plans which conflict with the NPPF – even if the conflict is only slight.
There is now a surge of consultation exercises relating to these new Development Plans which are being examined by independent Planning Inspectors. There will be opportunities to influence the contents of these Plans, (including the new Neighbourhood Plans prepared at the local level by approved groups), through participation in consultation exercises and at the Examination. This represents a golden opportunity to ensure that emerging Plans not only safeguard the line of all waterway restoration projects, but also promote wider waterway interests.
Whilst major national projects like HS2 receive widespread publicity, IWA relies heavily on local intelligence to monitor potentially harmful policies and proposals in Development Plans and to ensure that the lines of restoration projects are protected through local participation. Local authorities have a duty to cooperate which means that where restoration projects cross administrative boundaries, there should be “joined up thinking”! The NPPF makes clear that Development Plans will be found to be ‘unsound’ if there is insufficient consultation and collaboration between neighbouring local authorities.
IWA regards the current round of new Development Plans as a positive opportunity to promote and safeguard waterway interests and is able to provide advice on any Development Plan matter affecting the waterways through its Honorary Planning Consultants.
IWA Lee & Stort Branch Sponsors Visitor Moorings Signs in Ware
IWA Lee & Stort Branch is tackling the problem of missing visitor mooring signs around Ware by sponsoring new signs for Ware Common Wharf, Ware Town Wharf, and the small moorings opposite the Saracens Head. These will carry the logos of IWA, C&RT and Ware Town Council, and have a time limit of 72-hours mooring.
When these signs are made the branch will be organising a work party to smarten up these moorings and erect the signs.
Boats Return to the Lapal Canal
Anyone walking the path along the northern edge of Selly Oak Park in Birmingham on Saturday 2nd February would have seen an unusual sight – boats on the Lapal Canal. The boats in question were in fact a canoe and a coracle, belonging to members and friends of IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch, making the most of this short stretch of canal being in water following the recent rain.
After navigating from one end to the other of the section with water in, a couple of times, the boating expedition turned into a work party. Loppers and a bow saw were utilised to clear many of the overhanging branches that were obstructing passage of these small craft.
One of the volunteers was Peter Fisher, of the Lapal Canal Trust, who appreciated the additional help continuing the vegetation clearance that he has been carrying out recently. A full bin bag of rubbish and litter was also collected from the boats during the afternoon.
IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch is keen to support the Lapal Canal Trust. There are concerns about proposals for a supermarket development just the other side of the main road which will affect the line of the Lapal Canal between Selly Oak Park and where it would join the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.
IWA Warwickshire Branch Cleans Up at Leamington Spa
Twenty eight members and friends of IWA Warwickshire Branch took part in a clean up on the the Grand Union at Leamington Spa on Sunday 3rd February.
Using grappling hooks the unusual anglers trawled for their catch of bikes, road signs, tractor tyres, supermarket trolleys and many discarded domestic goods. At the final weigh-in there were approximately five truck loads of rubbish. CRT, which supplied equipment and supervision for the event, estimated that there was just under four tons of scrap metal collected, consisting of over 30 bicycles, twenty shopping trollies, road signs and other rubbish.
Some branch members, crossed the water to the far bank where they had noticed large numbers of bottles and cans. Further along the canal a Christmas tree was spotted complete with baubles and stand. The tree was packed away as well as the empty bottles and cans from the seasonal celebrations. More than twenty bin bags of litter was collected.
As well as canal clean ups, branch members participate in regular work parties organised by Canal & River Trust. Last year, IWA Warwickshire Branch also cleared the offside vegetation on part of the Hatton Lock flight. This year they will be controlling the vegetation on this stretch so boat crews can have the advantage of using both sides of the canal when using this lock flight.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
IWA - Waterways Magazine - Spring 2013
South East Region - Cargoes - Spring 2013
South West Region - Sou'Wester - Winter 2013
Great Ouse Branch - Ouse News - Spring 2013
The following IWA region and branch magazines have also been added in recent weeks:
Birmingham Branch - Worcester Bar - February 2013
Chester Branch - Chester Packet - Winter 2012
Ipswich Branch - Anglian Cuttings - Winter 2013
South Yorkshire Branch - Keels & Cuckoos - February 2013
Stoke on Trent Branch - Knobsticks - Winter 2012
Navigation Committee is the IWA national committee that monitors and responds to all matters relating to the use and maintenance of navigable waterways. It meets every two months usually at Rowington near Warwick and expenses can be claimed for attendance. There are currently two vacancies:
A Minute Secretary - to draft minutes, monitor actions and to assist the chairman with producing agendas. Organisational and writing skills are required.
A Writer - to help produce content for IWA's website where the committee wishes to increase the profile of what the Association does for boaters. The ability to write clearly and concisely is necessary and a good boating knowledge would be an advantage. Understanding of websites is not necessary as uploading of content can be done by Head Office staff.
Representative on BSS Technical Committee - Navigation Committee is also seeking a suitable candidate to represent IWA on the Boat Safety Scheme Technical Committee, in order to give a boaters’ perspective. The Technical Committee is the stakeholder committee that makes recommendations to the BSS Advisory Committee concerning issues of a technical nature. The ideal candidate will have a good technical background and knowledge of both petrol and diesel engines on boats would be an advantage. It will not be necessary to become a member of Navigation Committee or to attend Navigation Committee meetings provided regular reports are submitted.
Honorary Environmental Advisor
IWA is looking for an enthusiastic advocate of the inland waterways to provide independent specialist ecological and environmental advice that will help to progress all forms of inland waterway projects within Great Britain.
Whether you are currently an active member of IWA at branch, regional or national level, or an armchair member who thinks ‘I really should be doing something more’, we would like to hear from you.
IWA is seeking an appropriately professionally qualified person to act as an Honorary Environment Advisor with specialist skills in aquatic ecology and a working knowledge of environmental legislation. Desirable skills include the following:
● A Degree in Ecology, Environmental Science or Environmental Management
● Membership of IEEM, the professional institution for Ecology and Environmental Management or of CIWEM, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
● Professional experience in aquatic ecology, especially of canals
● Knowledge of canal restoration and navigation management
● A working knowledge of environmental legislation
● Report writing
The role is voluntary, however IWA will provide Professional Indemnity Insurance and reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. To discuss the position further, please contact Vaughan Welch, chairman of IWA’s Restoration Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 0121 477 9782.
National Awards Officer
IWA’s trustees are seeking a volunteer to take on the post of National Awards Officer for the Association. The post-holder would look after all the arrangements for the following six national awards:
See details of these awards and past winners.
Nominations for the first five awards have been considered by an Awards Panel comprising three IWA vice-presidents, appointed by trustees annually. The Panel produces recommendations, on which a final decision is then made by trustees, with awards being made at the following national AGM.
The recipient of the branch achievement award has, since its inception, been decided by a panel comprising the national chairman, deputy national chairmen and the chief executive. This is also presented at the AGM.
Prior to the awards being presented, the trophies need to be collected from the previous year’s recipient, cleaned and engraved with the new winner’s names. The engraving is, more often than not, undertaken at a favourable rate by a jeweller who is a member of IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch. From time-to-time, Richard Bird medals also need to be produced, for which there is a lead time. The awards then need to be got to the AGM for presentation.
Also prior to the AGM, nominations need to be acknowledged, enquiries from those considering making a nomination answered, award winners notified, those making nominations informed of the outcome of their nomination, arrangements made for award winners to attend the AGM, or alternative presentation arranged where the award winner is not able to attend, and the Awards Panel needs to be looked after and provided with the nominations made, and a paper with their recommendations presented to trustees.
Trophies awarded at IWA Festivals, which are looked after by IWA Festivals Committee, would not be the responsibility of the National Awards Officer.
There are no particular requirements for the post-holder other than reliable access to e-mail, plus enthusiasm and availability to handle correspondence and arrangements almost throughout the year.
If you are interested to take on the post, please contact Neil Edwards, chief executive (email@example.com) with brief details about yourself, by 10th March.
Ware Festival Volunteers
IWA Lee & Stort Branch is now entering the detailed planning phase for this year's Ware Boat Festival, over the weekend 5th to 7th July. The branch would appreciate support from volunteers in almost all areas, but there are a couple of very specific roles where help:
Lee & Stort Branch Information Stand Organiser - This entails the planning and organising of IWA material for the stand, as well as recruiting helpers to man the stand throughout the weekend. You will be able to get a great deal of help from the branch as well as from Head Office. If you think you could help, then please feel free to contact the branch for a friendly chat.
Qualified First Aiders - The branch is looking to have nominated First Aiders, with a First Aid At Work qualification, who would be available throughout the weekend, with their name and contact details included in the Boaters Packs. This helps satisfy Health and Safety requirements, and is a reassurance for all. If you’re a qualified First Aider and would be able to help over the weekend please contact the branch for more information.
New IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:
|South London Branch||Minutes Secretary *NEW*|
|Membership Secretary *NEW*|
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches at: www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies
The Environment Agency reports that the whole length of the non-tidal Thames is again (as of 15th February) on red boards. When the Agency displays these red ‘Caution Strong Stream’ boards on lock gates, it advises users of all boats not to navigate because the strong flows make it difficult and dangerous. Furthermore, boat wash can potentially cause damage to properties at risk of flooding.
The position is similar on most other major rivers in England, with Canal & River Trust advising a number of locks impassable or flood gates in operation. During the recent flood events the Environment Agency has received reports of boats that have come free of their moorings, and suggests that boat owners who are safely able to do so should check the condition of their boat and its mooring lines. The Agency’s latest flood warning information can be found on the Environment Agency's website.
Conservation Project at Tardebigge Lime Kilns
A new project on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal got underway over the weekend of 9th and 10th February, when volunteers started clearing vegetation and rubbish from the historic lime kilns at Tardebigge.
Despite extremely inclement weather the volunteers made a useful start on the clearance around the lime kilns, which are situated at Tardebigge New Wharf. This is the starting phase of a project between the Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society and Canal & River Trust, and supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch.
The purpose of this project, which will see a programme of work across the coming year, is to improve the site and conserve the structure, working with CRT’s Heritage Advisor.
The initial phase to start ground clearance to make the site generally more accessible, includes the removal of a tree trunk, telegraph poles and litter, as well as levelling the ground.
All the volunteers taking part were keen to continue the work, although a few more volunteers would be welcome. The next session is planned for the weekend of 23rd and 24th February. Anyone wishing to join in is asked to contact Bill Lambert, Work Party Organiser, Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society, on 07815 986012 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wendover Arm Trust has announced the appointment of a new chairman, Paul Leech. He has extensive knowledge of the waterways and is known to many in the waterways world by his time spent on the Bedford & Milton Keynes project and also IWA Chelmsford Branch. He has given many talks on waterways topics and is an 'almost retired' Civil Engineer specialising in railway track design and maintenance with over 50 year's experience.
The Trust's Restoration Director, Roger Leishman, has been looking after both jobs for a considerable period of time and this will enable him to concentrate on his main priority - restoration of the canal. Progress over the winter has been badly effected by adverse weather conditions but it is hoped that renewed progress can shortly be made with the Spring approaching.
Cambridge ‘Riverside’ is at present a mooring place for several boats, many but not all residential. The owners of these boats have no legal right to moor in this area, and the Council has received complaints about nuisance caused to other residents and obstruction to other river users, not least because the river becomes narrow at this point.
Cambridge City Council has launched a consultation with six potential options.
The consultation closes on 15 March 2013.
For more information please see the Cambridge City Council website
Avon Navigation Trust Elects New Chairman
John Tomsett has been elected as the new chairman of Avon Navigation Trust by the Management Council of Trustees at a meeting held on 29th January 2013. He succeeds David Bolton who held the post for the past ten years.
Avon Navigation Trust is the independent charitable navigation authority that runs the navigable part of the River Avon from Alveston Weir above Stratford upon Avon to where the Avon meets the River Severn at Tewkesbury.
Anyone interested in volunteering is invited to contact the Avon Navigation Trust office or go to its web site, www.avonnavigationtrust.org.
Photo: John Tomsett, Chairman and Clive Matthews, General Manager at the Trust Wharf.
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
Easter Cruise along the full length of the Basingstoke Canal
The Basingstoke Canal, originally re-opened in 1991 but closed to through navigation five years ago, is due to be fully open to through navigation from its junction with the River Wey at Woodham in Surrey (and hence the River Thames) to Odiham in Hampshire in time for Easter 2013.
A cruise/rally, expected to include some 50 to 60 boats, is scheduled to begin on Good Friday, 29th March. It is being organised by Kathryn Dodington, Commodore of Byfleet Boat Club, and supported by IWA Guildford & Reading Branch and Basingstoke Canal Society (the new name for Surrey & Hants Canal Society). Further details from Kathryn (07768 770070 or email@example.com) or on the Byfleet Boat Club website. This is an opportunity to cruise the under visited waterway, as part of a unique and historic rally, and to show support for the local authorities and volunteers who invested time and money in getting the Canal fully repaired and re-opened again.
|IWA Canalway Cavalcade - Little Venice, London||
4th - 6th May
|IWA National Trailboat Festival - Bodiam Castle, East Sussex||
25th - 27th May
|IWA National Festival - Cassiobury Park, Watford, Hertfordshire||
19th - 21st July
|Other Festivals and Boat Rallies|
|Easter Cruise along the full length of the Basingstoke Canal||29th - 29th March|
|Northampton Branch Boat Gathering||3rd - 6th May|
|St. Richards Festival||3rd - 6th May|
|IWA Canalway Cavalcade 2013||4th - 6th May|
|Rickmansworth Festival||18th - 19th May|
|Erewash Canal Boat Gathering||24th - 27th May|
|IWA Trailboat Festival 2013 - Bodiam Castle||25th - 27th May|
|BCN 24 Hour Challenge||25th - 26th May|
|Crick Boat Show||25th - 27th May|
|Etruria Canals Festival||1st - 2nd June|
|BCN Explorer Cruise A||7th - 14th June|
|BCNS Pelsall Canal Festival||14th - 16th June|
|BCN Explorer Cruise B||17th - 24th June|
|Lymm Historic Transport Day||20th - 23rd June|
|Newbury Waterways Festival||21st - 23rd June|
|Thwaite Mills Boat Gathering||28th - 30th June|
|Ware Boat Festival 2013||5th - 7th July|
|IWA National Festival||19th - 21st July|
|Preston Riversway Festival||20th - 21st July|
|Outdoor Leisure Show||24th - 26th August|
|Angel Canal Festival||1st September|
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.
16th February Soho Loop, Birmingham (IWA Birmingham/BCNS)
Details: 10am to 3pm. All tools and equipment will be provided. Volunteers are advised to wear stout footwear and bring waterproofs and a packed lunch.
16th February Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
Details: Tasks include lock painting, litter picking, veg clearance and path work. This event is supporting Canal & River Trust's Towpath Taskforce Initiative.
19th February Cheshire Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA Stoke on Trent Branch)
Details: Supported by Trent & Mersey Canal Society and the Canal & River Trust as part of the Cheshire Locks Project. Tasks will include vegetation management, clearing cobble setts, painting fences, balance beams and bollards. No experience necessary, all tools provided. Bring waterproofs and a packed lunch, and wear stout shoes.
21st February Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
Details: Regular twice monthly work party at Lapworth. Tasks vary each time but include lock painting, litter picking, veg clearance and path work. Work parties take place on the third Thursday and the third Saturday of each month.
21st February Work Party - Bishops Stortford (Canal & River Trust)
Details: Reed bed management and litter pick - CRT's first ever River Stort Towpath Taskforce event carrying out work to improve the waterway environment in Bishops Stortford. Meet at 10am outside Belgique cafe on Adderley Road, CM23 3AX. The event will run from 10am-3.30pm, hot drinks will be provided, please bring a packed lunch. There are no skills required for this task and all safety procedures and work instructions will be given on the day. Wear protective footwear if you have some.
23rd February Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch/CRT)
Details: IWA Manchester Branch supporting Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce. Various locations in the Greater Manchester area, tasks will include pulling rubbish out of the canal, litter picking, painting and vegetation clearance.
23rd - 24th February Tardebigge, Worcester & Birmingham Canal (WBDCS supported by IWA Birmingham)
Details: This will be the second weekend work party of a new project led by the Worcester Birmingham and Droitwich Canals Society, and supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch. The purpose of this project is to improve the site and conserve the structure of the Lime Kilns at Tardebigge. The work for this weekend will be primarily vegetation clearance. Volunteers are advised to wear stout shoes and old clothes and bring work gloves and refreshments with them.
Contact: Bill Lambert firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text 07815 986012 in advance if you are intending to attend.
14th March Caldon Canal (IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch)
Details: Monthly mid week work party held in conjunction with the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust. All tools and equipment will be provided. Please bring packed lunch and own drinks. Volunteers are advised to wear old clothes and stout footwear. Spring clean and sprucing up session at Froghall.
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
7th March - Yoxall and Wychnor Walk (IWA Lichfield Branch
Details: An easy circular walk of about 6 miles taking in the Trent & Mersey Canal near Wychnor. Note earlier start for this walk. Meet at 9.45 for a 10.00 am start at the junction of A515 and B5016 near the Crown Inn, Main Street, Yoxall, Staffs. DE13 8NQ. Parking in nearby roads in Yoxall. Optional lunch afterwards at the Foresters Arms on the A515 north of Yoxall. Leader: Ed Rule.
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email email@example.com
10th March - Bedford & MK Waterway Spring Walk (B&MK Waterway Trust)
Details: Trace the route of over a mile long section of the planned Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway from MK Coachway, along redways near Broughton Brook via the Cable Stay Bridge and out towards Kingston Bridge on the A5130, before walking onwards via Wavendon (option to stop here for refreshments after 3 miles) then to Salford (Red Lion Hotel, a further 2 miles), for refreshments (just a coffee or stay for lunch) followed by a minibus to return to coachway.
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 Gemma Bolton