IWA Bulletin Mid-January 2012

IWA News

Other News

Other Information

Top Story

Canal & River Trust Delay

There is increasing speculation over whether the Canal & River Trust will come into being in April this year.

The timetable for establishing the CRT always looked like a tall order and in the early days of consultation by government IWA commented that the fast-track timetable looked difficult to achieve. It is starting to look as if the IWA was right to sound a note of caution over the timetable.

The Public Bodies Bill took longer than programmed to be enacted, not receiving Royal Assent until 14th December. This of course is the enabling legislation for government to pursue the Transfer Order that will ensure that the British Waterways rights and obligations are passed to the CRT.

The Transfer Order was intended to be laid before Parliament before Christmas. That Order has still to be laid. When it is laid it will be subject to an examination by Parliament under what is known as the Enhanced Affirmative Procedure. It will be the first time this procedure has been used and it will almost certainly lead to consideration by Parliament for a 60 day period, including a debate, and approval will be required by both Houses of Parliament. The Order is also wrapped up with the ongoing negotiations between the CRT Transition Trustees and government on the government finance for the project – those negotiations were also expected to be concluded before Christmas.

IWA has always said that the £39m per annum was not enough. We argued that this had to be improved.  In our representations to government we have said that elements that it could consider for incorporation into a sustainable funding package fro CRT, included, to:

  • Meet the past service pension liabilities of BW so that the charity starts with a clean sheet on pension liability.
  • Provide a transition fund both to cover the increased costs needed for a successful launch of the charity and the costs of promoting broad based local ownership of our waterways, including finance to pump prime locally determined projects. 
  • Index the indicative funding.
  • Provide certainty of funding beyond 10 years.
  • Find funding for the cost of bridge repairs which have risen exponentially for BW given the nature and axle weight of today’s commercial traffic, including the option of transferring responsibility for maintenance of road bridges to the relevant local highway authorities.

IWA added substance to these arguments by liaising with MPs who are waterways supporters to ensure that liabilities with cost implications – such as the British Waterways pension liability, bridge repair and maintenance, dredging – were all explored publicly in Parliament.

We make no apology if our interventions play some part in a delay for the inception of the CRT. We would hope that these interventions will lead to a better deal for the CRT. If that means that it takes longer for the CRT to come into being, it will have been a worthwhile campaign to ensure that the CRT starts life with a better chance of survival than offered by the deal on the table last year.    

IWA News

thermometermen150pxInglesham Lock Restoration Appeal

One last big fundraising push required.

The Inglesham Lock Restoration Appeal in Support of the Cotswolds and Wilts and Berks canals restoration schemes is progressing apace and IWA is looking for further donations to now help finalise the fundraising.

IWA and WRG have set an ambitious target to restore the lock by 2013. Three further WRG camps together with weekend digs are planned for this year.

Inglesham is strategically important as it is the eastern starting point for the Cotswolds restoration and provides additional focus for the Wilts and Berks canal restoration that spurs off it several miles west of the lock’s junction with the Thames.

The Cotswolds is one of only a few major funded projects that is currently making major progress, and IWA is keen to support this as one of the first of a series of appeals it wants to carry out in support of these schemes around the country.

IWA aims to provide a new landing stage, restore the lock chamber with the facility to deliver back pumping and clear the cut above the lock whilst also ensuring that the balance of the work can be completed to have the lock operational as quickly as possible .

Speaking about the restoration appeal, Inglesham Appeal Chairman and IWA National Treasurer Les Etheridge said.

‘We want to wrap up the fundraising this year if we possibly can, so that we can focus our attentions on completing the practical restoration works unhindered. This then puts us in a position to support schemes in other parts of the country.

I would urge all waterway supporters to help us finish the fundraising for this scheme as quickly as possible’.

Please send a cheque made out to IWA to IWA Inglesham Appeal, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA or donate online

Donations totalling in the region of £73,000 have now been pledged towards the Inglesham Lock Appeal, a good achievement in these difficult economic times, but we need to get as close as possible to our £125,000 target by the end of April when the appeal will close to personal donations.

See photo gallery of restoration undertaken so far.


Ribble Link Access Campaign

Although BW Wigan is taking bookings for next year they have recently been telling  applicants that any boats with a draft in excess of 24" may be excluded. 

IWA has taken this issue up with BW as although the skippers guide indicates that 24" is the maximum, many boats with drafts up to 36" have successfully navigated the link in the past.

We understand that the issue surrounds  siltation  in the first pound after the rotating tidal gate. BW staff let boats proceed while the tide is still coming in thus giving more depth to the first pound. The designed depth over the lock cills is 4',  therefore there is a presumption of  plenty of leeway for boats with drafts above 24". 

Following IWA pressure  a hydrological survey was carried out which will now hopefully help clarify the situation.  BW as a result of the new survey confirm that the new maximum safe draft for boats will be 33". ( 2’9”) . BW has explained the reasoning as follows; “The level was set using many criteria, however the main restricting factor has been the seasonal siltation that  we remove at the start of each year. In theory it may well be possible to get a craft with a deeper draft through the link in April but I would have significant concerns about its ability to return by July; or even earlier if we have very heavy rainfall in spring”.

IWA will continue to monitor the situation locally.


Big Waterways Clean Up 2012

Big Waterways Clean Up 2012 is a partnership campaign to improve the East London’s waterways by the start of the Olympics in July 2012.

BWCU2012 is seeking volunteers of all ages to get involved in this initiative to inspire community activity and produce a lasting legacy for Londoners and their local neighbourhoods after the 2012 Games.

The Big Waterways Clean Up is made possible through a partnership between: London Waterways Commission, IWA, Thames21, Environment Agency, London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Greater London Authority, British Waterways, Olympic Park Legacy Company, Port of London Authority, London Councils, and the City Corporation.

For more information please see the Thames21 website


List Your 2012 Waterway Events on the IWA Website

See the IWA Events Calendar for 2012 waterway events. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.

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.

Nominations for National IWA Awards

Nominations for the following awards are invited from members, branches and regions and should be emailed to awards@waterways.org.uk by 31st January. 

Award nominations will then be considered by an Awards Panel nominated by trustees, and recommendations made to trustees for final approval.


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 holding 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.

It is hoped that the day will provide an enjoyable and well-structured event that allows everyone to share relevant expertise and knowledge and collaborate in a relaxed and creative atmosphere.

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.


HS2 Canal Bridge Plans Revised
Plans for a new canal bridge over the Trent & Mersey Canal near Lichfield have been revised. The new bridge is to be built as part of the plans for the HS2 high speed rail line between London and the Midlands which has been estimated to cost £32 billion.  

IWA raised an objection to plans for the bridge in the original consultation. The plan now includes increasing the clearance of HS2 to allow more room for narrowboats, which may also slightly improve flood management.

For more information please see article by IWA Lichfield Branch


Residential Caretaker Vacancy – Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

There are currently opportunities for new residential caretaker positions on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation.  These come with a residential mooring (with local authority planning permission approved) at Heybridge Basin and at Paper Mill, on the Navigation, for which the incumbent will be charged the going rate (dependent on boat length).

The post-holder will be expected to spend a minimum of 8 hours per week undertaking maintenance and security duties at the moorings area (e.g. grass cutting) for which they will receive a modest salary. Because planning permission relevant to the mooring is for a fixed period at Heybridge, with renewal subject to review, the post at Heybridge would be for an initial period of 18 months. The post at Paper Mill is not fixed term.

For more information on duties and responsibilities please see the Essex Waterways web pages.


IWA Public Relations & Communications Internship

Public relations and social media is of continuing importance to IWA, and we need someone to help with the day-to-day duties of managing and developing 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.



Last chance to enter the 2013 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.

More information on how to enter.

Closing date: 31st January 2012


About People

Trish Humphries

We are saddened to report the death of a long serving member of IWA Lichfield Branch, Trish Humphries. Trish had been a member of the IWA for many years and also served on the Branch Committee. Trish was also a stalwart member of Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust. 


IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Events Volunteering

IWA National Campaign Festival Site Manager - The Site Manager has had to pull out and a replacement is urgently needed to lead and coordinate the existing small team.
Contact: Madeline Dean, 01257 231861, lancsandcumbria@waterways.org.uk

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

news_staveleybasin150pxNew Chesterfield Canal Basin in Water

Staveley Town Basin is full after being watered for three weeks over the Christmas period using a 6” pipe through a temporary dam. On Thursday 5th January, the dam was dug out allowing the last few inches of water to gush through.

The basin has been years in the planning, but construction started last March. The new basin has been linked back to Mill Green thanks to a washwall nearly 600 metres long that was constructed by the Chesterfield Canal Trust’s volunteer Work Party. The final coping stone was laid on 2nd January this year.

The excavation and insertion of the clay lining was carried out by Killingley’s, the contractors. All of the works have been carried out under the direction of engineers from Derbyshire County Council who supplied some of the funding. However, the bulk of the funds came from a grant from the East Midlands Development Agency. Thanks must also go to Staveley Town Council and WRG.

The next job for the volunteer work party is to build a new lock on the basin site. The foundations have already been laid thanks to grants from Lafarge and IWA. The Chesterfield Canal Trust is running a donate-a-brick scheme as part of the Staveley Town Lock campaign that has already raised £15,000.

The site includes a large events area where the Chesterfield Canal Festival will be held on 30th June and 1st July this summer. This promises to be a terrific event with three tripboats, an entertainment marquee, lots of stalls, rides and food and drink, plus the chance to go on a boat trip, vintage bus ride and steam train ride at Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

For further information about the Festival or donating bricks for the lock or anything to do with the Chesterfield Canal, please call 01246 477569 or email festival@chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk.


British Waterways Responds to Drought

Many parts of southern and central Britain have experienced the driest twelve months since records began and across parts of the South and Midlands groundwater tables and reservoir holdings are considerably lower than normal for this time of year.

BW is investing £700,000 in additional works that will make use of alternative supplies to help replenish reservoir levels and make the available water last as long as possible throughout 2012.

BW’s Water Management team has identified nearly 30 short-term, localised, schemes. These include prioritising the clearing of feeders, implementing new pumping regimes and raising weir boards. Works on the Grand Union Leicester Line will include installing new gate liners on seven key locks.

Please see the British Waterways website for the full press release.


Lowering of water levels on Grand Union

One of the consequences of the drought in the South East became apparent on 11th January, when BW began lowering water levels on the five miles section of the Tring summit of the Grand Union Canal in order to to save water in advance of the busier summer period.

BW hopes to conserve water while boat movements are at their lowest by reducing levels by 12 inches, as the upper section of the banks is the most prone to leaks.
The reduced water level doesn't allow boats to navigate safely or moor, so the section is expected to be closed to traffic and moored boats until March.


Social Action Fund

The second window of new £20m plus grant fund to encourage social action is now open.
The Social Action Fund is a new grant Fund of over £20 million, managed by The Social Investment Business on behalf of the Office for Civil Society.

The Fund will support social action applications that cover the following themes

  • Encourage people to come together in their locality to support each other: Projects that include plans to scale proven models to regional or national levels, or replicate them in other localities. Some priority will be given to models that encourage those who do not traditionally get involved as volunteers
  • Focus on the different life stages of volunteering

The Social Action Fund is open to applications to fund social action projects in England from civil society organisations, public sector bodies and businesses with a track record of delivering social action programmes.

The Fund's second window opened 9th January 2012 and will close noon 3rd February 2012.
Find out if you are eligible please visit The Social Investment Business website

For enquiries please call 0191 269 2276 or email info@thesocialinvestmentbusiness.org 


news_blessed_locks150pxBrian Blessed Supports Appeal For Volunteer Lock Keepers

The Canal & River Trust is calling for people to get involved as a volunteer lock keeper.

Brian Blessed, actor and adventurer, is backing the campaign in appealing to the 13 million people who use the nation’s canals and rivers each year.

Lock keepers have been a fixture on the canals for hundreds of years and the role of the modern-day lock keeper is to provide a polite and friendly welcome to waterway visitors, assisting boaters through the locks and helping to maintain the lock area.

Now, in over 50 locations across the country, members of the public, canal societies and anyone with a passion for their local canal or river have the opportunity to join in with one of the oldest traditions of the waterways.

Brian Blessed comments: “Ever since I was a child I’ve loved our canals and rivers, going off exploring on my bike and looking for wildlife. They’re unique places so I would urge people with a real passion for their local waterway to get involved as a volunteer lock keeper or take advantage of one of the many opportunities to support the Canal & River Trust. They meant so much to me as a child so I think it’s important we all do what we can to help protect them for our next generations to enjoy.”

Volunteering will be integral to the success of the Trust which will become one of the biggest charities in the UK, giving local communities a bigger say in the running of their local canal or river.

A full list of volunteer lock keeping locations will be available at www.waterscape.com; by emailing volunteer@britishwaterways.co.uk or phoning 01827 252097. Willing volunteers can start quickly and no prior experience is necessary as a full induction, training and a uniform will be provided.


British Waterways' Boundary Change - South Wales & Severn / West Midlands

BW have announced that subject to technical details, the following areas will be transferred from the South Wales & Severn waterway to the West Midlands from April:

  • 1km length of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal, incorporating Stourport Basins
  • 4km length of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from Kings Norton Junction to the south portal of Wast Hill Tunnel at Hopwood Cutting.

The main reasons given for this proposed change are that it will allow better alignment with local authority boundaries. The transfer is also reported to allow better alignment with stakeholders such as volunteer groups, community groups, canal societies and regeneration areas and encourage efficiencies in redeployment of resources and operational bases.


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • 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 - 15% 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.

28th - 29th January - Wilts & Berks Canal (wrgBITM)
Details: Steppingstones Lane Bridge - cutting and laying capping stones, plus scrub bashing along the towpath to Station Road Bridge.
Contact: dave.wedd@wrgbitm.org.uk

3rd - 5th February - Wendover Arm (Essex WRG)
Contact: Frank Wallder naymenachur@talktalk.net

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


26th January - Weaver Navigation (IWA Chester and District Branch)
Details: This walk commences at 10.15am and drops down through the wooded Weaver Parkway to follow the right bank of the Weaver Navigation in a northerly direction, passing the Meadowbank salt mine en route before returning on a higher level route to enjoy, after a walk of 4 miles, a carvery or other meal of your choice at the pub.  Map reference 650 670 OS Explorer 267.
Contact: chesteranddistrict@waterways.org.uk

29th January - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: The route follows Regent’s Canal: Mile End – Limehouse. Meeting Point is Mile End Station. Cost: £8 Concessionary and student rate: £6
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk

2nd February - Kingsbury Water Park
A circular walk around Kingsbury Water Park and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.  Meet at 10.30 for 10.45 am start at the Dog & Doublet car park, Dog Lane, Bodymoor Heath, Sutton Coldfield, B76 9JD.  Optional meal at the pub afterwards.
Mike Moorse on 07799 140068 or email lichfield@waterways.org.uk

5th February - Bow Back Rivers, London
Bow Back Rivers & 2012 Games London. Meet at Bromley–by-Bow Station. Cost is £8 Concessionary and student rate is £6.
Contact: Peter Finch: 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com

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