IWA Bulletin Mid-January 2013

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IWA – Departure of Canal & River Trust Chief Executive “Passing of an Era”

IWA said that news that Robin Evans, chief executive of the newly formed waterways charity Canal & River Trust, is to step down in May, marked the “passing of an era for the waterways”. IWA was, however, keen to stress its belief in the vital importance of getting the right successor, and of the need to continue to work to secure the culture change necessary for a modern customer-focussed third sector organisation.

Speaking on behalf of IWA, Les Etheridge, national chairman, said:

Robin’s announcement very much marks ‘the passing of an era for the waterways’.

He has steered the former British Waterways, for ten years, through some of the most severe and testing economic times, and has managed a successful transfer to the third sector with the formation of Canal & River Trust, complete with a dowry of a 15-year stable funding settlement from government, something that, in time, will be seen to be both visionary and unprecedented.

As chief executive of a large organisation providing a public service, he has often had to bear the brunt of managing high public expectations, whilst having to constantly manage wholesale internal reorganisations as a result of annual budget cuts from government. No one in business would envy him, and the fact that the Trust exists today is testament to his vision, strength and determination.

We wish him well for the future, and look forward with interest as to who will be his successor at Canal & River Trust. It is a very difficult role to fill and will need someone with the ability to manage the operational business needs, and to additionally drive the transition to secure the culture change necessary for a modern customer-focussed third sector organisation.”

IWA News

Last Chance to Enter 2014 Calendar Competition

The closing date for entering your photographs for our 2014 calendar competition is 31st January. Many brilliant photos have already been submitted for the competition and are available to view online in our gallery of competition entries.

We are offering three free calendars to the photographers whose photos are used in the final calendar. Photos for the Calendar need to be digital with a resolution of at least 300 DPI and at least 2100 pixels x 1500 pixels (can be landscape or portrait). You can usually adjust the settings on your digital camera to take high resolution photos.

Photos for the competition need to be submitted by 31st January 2013. The photos will then be shortlisted and then put to a public vote.

See more information on the calendar competition and uploading photos

All Party Parliamentary Group for Waterways Update

In its plans for “A New Era for the Waterways” published in March 2011 the Government proposed that new Canal & River Trust Waterways Partnerships be established in each of the managed waterways areas as part of the new governance arrangements for CRT.

The Joint Chairs of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Waterways (APPWG), Sir Tony Baldry MP and Huw Irranca Davies MP, (both former Waterways Ministers), wish to evaluate the progress of CRT's Waterways Partnerships in England and Wales and to understand their future plans. The APPWG proposes to hold a series of evidence sessions which would be concluded by a report of the inquiry's findings together with recommendations for Government and other relevant bodies.

The thirteen CRT Waterways Partnerships have now been established and CRT describes these bodies purpose on its website to “help shape plans for each waterway. They guide the Trust’s decisions about spending and help develop local engagement, external funding while championing the interests of the waterways.

Waterways Partnerships are a very welcome feature of the new era. They have the opportunity to galvanise local support at a practical level such as raising public awareness of the waterways and increasing volunteering. There is also the important prospect that at a regional strategic level by working with key partners such as local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships they can help shape and deliver regeneration projects.

The Inquiry will last for three months starting in the early part of 2013.

For more information please see the DEFRA and CRT websites.

IWA Encourages Waterways Restoration Groups to Record Volunteer Time

The creation of Canal & River Trust has helped raise profile of volunteers considerably. Volunteers are making contributions in all aspects of waterway management and restoration. Recently published figures show that numbers are on the increase year on year.

Most funding agencies require applicants to make a contribution towards their project costs. This contribution can sometimes be in the form of volunteer-time expended on the scheme. As well as time spent on practical work, it can also include time spent on more diverse work, such as historical research and meetings.

IWA irecommends that waterway restoration groups should accurately record volunteer hours, even if there is no plan to make a funding bid within the foreseeable future. New funding opportunities may arise and having the information available will support applications.

The rates used by different funding agencies to value volunteer work vary, however the following rates, suggested by the Heritage Lottery Fund, could help with costing up a project: -

  • professional services – up to £350 a day
  • skilled labour - £150 a day
  • unskilled labour - £50 a day

Caldon Canal Work Party – 10th January 2013

The 3rd Caldon Canal work party took place on Thursday 10th January, when a group of enthusiastic volunteers spent the day hedge laying.  The volunteers came from a number of organisations, IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch, the Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust and the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership (CVLLP). Although the skill of hedge laying was new to a number of volunteers, under the guidance of Richard Whiting, Practical Projects Office with CVLLP, the group was soon enthusiastically putting its newly learned skills to practical use.  Although the day was very cold and foggy, the work proved very warming and soon the coldness of the day was forgotten.

The end of the day saw the sight of a significant amount of hedging layered ready for new growth in the spring.  Next month (14th February) sees the volunteers return to finish off the work and everyone looks forward to putting newly found skills to further use.  All tools and materials are provided, but volunteers are advised to wear old clothes and stout shoes or boots and bring waterprooofs.  Contact Bob Luscombe, Work Party Organiser, IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch (bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk)

About People

Audrey Drake

We are saddened to report the death on 10th January of Mrs Audrey Drake, an active member with IWA Chester & District Branch for many years, and the wife of Richard Drake, former IWA National Chairman.

Geoff Wheat

We are saddened to report the death on 7th January of Geoff Wheat, well known for his commercial freight carrying activities, primarily on northern inland waterways, and particularly on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, over a period of nearly 50 years from when he first helped out on a Willow Wren run.

Jo Gilbertson

Jo Gilbertson will be leaving IWA Head Office on 8th February, to join the Agricultural Industries Confederation, in Peterborough, as one of their Sector Heads - looking after the fertiliser industry, in a full time lobbying and public relations position.  Jo joined the Association in May 2007 and has looked after communications and campaign issues at Head Office during an important period in waterways history, when IWA's voice needed to be prominent in influencing politicians and decision-makers.  The Association is grateful for all that has been achieved during this period.

IWA Branch and Region Magazines

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:

East Yorkshire Branch - Newsletter - January 2013
West Riding Branch - Milepost - January 2013

The following IWA region and branch magazines have also been added in recent weeks:

Chelmsford Branch - Newsletter - January 2013
North Lancs & Cumbria - Towing Path Topics - January 2013
Warwickshire Branch - Bear Essentials - December 2012


IWA Volunteering Opportunities

New IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

Chairman - Chiltern Branch *NEW*
Web Master
- Chester & District Branch *NEW*
Towpath Action Group Co-ordinator - Chester & District Branch *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


Other News

Devon County Council pledges £3m to repair Grand Western Canal

Devon County Council has pledged up to £3 million to repair and modernise the Grand Western Canal. The money is to be included in the authority’s capital budget, which will be examined next week.

A section of the Grand Western Canal near Tiverton collapsed during torrential downpours in November last year.  Twenty homes were evacuated, roads were closed and fish spilled into neighbouring fields.

The canal closed as a commercial waterway in 1925 but has been restored as a country park and forms part of the West Country Way cycle route which runs from Padstow in Cornwall to Bristol.  Passenger rides on a horse-drawn boat have made the canal a popular tourist attraction.

The County Council hope that the work will be completed in time for the 200th anniversary of the opening of the canal in 2014.

£3m heritage centre at Dudley Canal is approved

Proposals for a £3.3 million canalside heritage centre have been approved by councillors.

The new education and visitors’ centre, called The Portal, will be the centre for Dudley Canal Trust.

Members of Dudley Council’s planning committee followed recommendations and granted planning permission for the scheme at a meeting on the 7th January.

IWA and Waterways conservationists have welcomed the committee’s decision. There was widespread consultation and IWA's views on the proposal were taken into account.

The centre will be based off Birmingham New Road at the Todds End entrance and operated by the Trust’s commercial arm.

Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Gets Formal Planning Permission

The scheme to transform 2.1km of Maidenhead's neglected town centre channels into a navigable waterway and town centre amenity now has formal planning permission.

With the project now formally approved, the dedicated Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group (MWRG) is moving on to start work on the next stage - the detailed design of every structure, footpath and metre of the enlarged channels - and is calling on the public to come forward with ideas.

The public showed strong support for the scheme - a key element of the Maidenhead Area Action Plan - during the planning consultation stages and more recently by voting for it in the Council's 2012 Local Budget (participatory budget) consultation. This support - 13% of the 838 votes cast for Maidenhead projects - resulted in a cash boost of £8,000, handed over to Richard Davenport, MWRG's chairman, by Cllr M J Saunders, cabinet member for planning, property and Maidenhead.

Anyone with suggestions or views about elements that should be considered for inclusion in the final detailed design of the waterways is asked to contact MWRG at contactus@maidenheadwaterways.org

Trent & Mersey Canal Breach Update

In September 2012 the Trent & Mersey Canal experienced a breach at Dutton Hollow near Preston Brook. Canal & River Trust is expecting the repair to be completed by spring.

Works have taken place to prepare the site for permanent works. The access road and site compound have been put in place on the farm field next to the canal which gives access for cars and lorries to visit the site.

The contractor has also created an access road into the canal so that they can get at the working face of the embankment, and a dam is now in place across the canal to seal the works off.

The contractor has continued removing trees from the embankment to maintain the stability of the remaining earth structure.

Behind the scenes the designs for the final solution have been issued to the contractor who has built up a cost for the project as a whole. The project team is now reviewing this for agreement.

Over £18,000 has been raised for the Trent & Mersey Canal Breach Appeal. To make a donation please go to Canal & River Trust's website


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Guildford Boat House- 20% discount
  • Grand Union Diesel Services - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Narrowboat Services - 10% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - up to 20% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • UK Boat Hire - 15% discount
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard
  • Worcester Marine Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Zead - Free postage and accessories

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


Boat Insurance

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

Waterway Events

Some dates for your diary for 2013:

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

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.

See IWA's Events Calendar for 2012 and 2013 waterway events. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.


Upcoming Volunteer/Clean-up Events

19th January - Cheshire Locks, Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch)
Details: Monthly work party organised by IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch and 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.
Contact: bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk

19th January - Lapworth (IWA Warwickshire/Canal & River Trust)
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.  IWA Warwickshire Branch supporting Canal & River Trust Towpath Taskforce.
Contact: alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk

19th - 20th January - Tardebigge, Worcester & Birmingham Canal (IWA Birmingham supporting Worcester Birmingham & Droitwich Canal Society)
Details: This is the starting phase of a conservation project on the lime kilns at Tardebigge Depot. The purpose of this project is to improve the site and conserve the structure. The initial work will be to start ground clearance to make the site generally more accessible. In particular we will start to remove the tree trunk from the front area of the kilns, do what we can to remove the two telegraph poles, level the ground and clean the site of litter. Please be aware that weather conditions may force us to change the programme. Start time will be at 09.30am for registration and site induction. Finish around 3.30pm
Contact: volunteers@wbcs.org.uk

26th January - 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.  Meeting point for this one will be Droylsden Marina. Work will be a variety of tasks carried out in the vicinity of the Ashton flight of locks including canal clearance at Lock 18.
Contact: chairman@manchester-iwa.co.uk

3rd February Canal Clean Up - Leamington Spa (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
Details: Canal Clean up on the Grand Union Canal in Leamington Spa.  Meet at Clemens St Bridge (Bridge 40).  Removing rubbish out of the canal and removing graffitti from the bridge.
Contact: alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk

14th February Caldon Canal (IWA Stoke on Trent Branch)
Details: Monthly mid week work party held in conjunction with the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust. Hedge laying on the Leek Arm at Bridge 9. All tools and equipment will be provided, along with training. Please bring packed lunch and own drinks. Volunteers are advised to wear old clothes and stout footwear.
Contact: bob.luscombe@waterways.org.uk

To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar


Upcoming Towpath Walks

7th February - Wolseley Bridge Walk (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: A circular walk taking in part of the Wolseley Estate and the Trent & Mersey Canal.  About 2 hours.  Meet at 10.15 for a 10.30 am start from the car park of the Wolseley Arms, Wolseley Bridge, nr Rugeley, Staffs. ST17 0XS (junction of A51 and A513).  Optional lunch afterwards at the Wolseley Arms.  Further information from Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk
Contact: margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar


Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

01494 783 453


Bulletin is edited by Gemma Bolton