IWA Bulletin Mid-May 2012

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Heritage Lottery Funding Secured to Restore the Ty Coch Flight

A project to restore a derelict section of the Monmouthshire Canal in Cwmbran, South Wales, is now underway thanks to the support of a £854,500 Heritage Lottery Fund grant awarded to Torfaen County Borough Council in partnership with the Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canals Trust.
Generally referred to as the ‘Mon and Brec’ the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals form a 50 mile link between the Brecon Beacons National Park and the South Wales Valley. The aim is to see boating, fishing and canoeing taking place along this 200 year old canal which was key to the industrial revolution in the Welsh valleys.

The money is being used to develop a comprehensive programme of training to equip new and existing volunteers, with the heritage construction skills and canal management techniques needed to carry out the restoration work.
The funding will also be used to create a community website, walking leaflets and newsletters. A senior project officer and a volunteer supervisor will be employed to manage the development and distribution of education packs for local schools which will give them the opportunity to get involved. The packs will include a multi media CD and learning aids linked to the national curriculum.

An estimated 270 volunteers will take part in the project, including volunteers from IWA's Waterway Recovery Group which has worked alongside the Trust for many years.

This year, WRG is running two Canal Camp working holidays which will involve the reconstruction and repair of Tredegar Lock, vegetation clearance of the canal corridor from Drapers Lock, and the removal of silt from Ty Coch and Lower Brake Lower locks.


IWA News

IWA Talks to the Environment Agency About its Navigations

IWA’s lobbying for the inland waterways to move from public sector control to the third sector, has included that the transfer of waterways to what is now the Canal & River Trust, should include both the British Waterways and the Environment Agency navigations.

We know the conclusions that the Government reached.  The Government Response to the New Era consultation was that it was committed to the transfer of the Environment Agency navigations in 2015, subject to affordability and the agreement of the Canal & River Trust's trustees at that time. The Government decision would be advised by a Government review to be carried out in 2014. We also understand that the Government may consult on the transfer at that time.

Tony Hales, chairman of the Canal & River Trust, told the All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group, at its hearing on 15th March, that subject to affordability, the trustees supported the transfer of the Environment Agency navigations to the Trust in principle.

Since it all comes down to affordability, and that must be determined over the next couple of years leading into the Government’s next Comprehensive Spending Review, IWA decided to look into what is going on to determine affordability. Two years is not long if Government takes its eye of the target of the transfer being achieved in 2015 and there should be no surprises on affordability for the Comprehensive Spending Review. Government must have bottomed out affordability, made sure that this is not an impediment, and be able to present a package to the Canal & River Trust trustees that is acceptable to them.

The Environment Agency is leading on this project, so IWA has had exploratory discussions with the Agency's senior management to assess progress. The Environment Agency's chairman, Lord Smith, has said that the Environment Agency recognises the enthusiasm for the transfer. He was unable to comment upon affordability – that was a matter for the Government. But the Environment Agency would provide the Government with all the information it needed from the Agency to allow consideration of an appropriate package.

IWA has subsequently discussed with Environment Agency senior management what it is doing so that Government will have the information it needs to determine how it can assemble an affordable package.  The Agency has work underway to fully understand its asset base. That is not as straightforward as it might seem:

  • Ownership of land in itself does not necessarily fall to the Agency, so is being explored and determined.
  • The Agency needs to fully understand its asset base. For example, structures such as weirs need to be assessed for functionality – their purpose can be principally for flood defence, water management, navigation, or environment, and any combination of these.

These investigations would allow the Agency to have a better handle on cost and potential liabilities. These have not been addressed by the Agency before in the level of detail necessary for affordability to be properly assessed. Since navigation is a relatively small part of Agency operations, it has not determined a precise funding line in the past since it can simply transfer monies at the margin of expected expenditure, and it can self insure against more costly eventualities, such as unprogrammed weir repair or maintenance. The Canal & River Trust could not act in this manner. It would need to be presented with a package that is clearly affordable and taking full account of liabilities.

IWA will continue to have discussions with both central Government and the Environment Agency from time to time to keep abreast of progress with the project to transfer the Environment Agency navigations. 


Cavalcade_Lynx150pxJubilee Celebrations at Canalway Cavalcade

5th to 7th May 2012

A dedicated team of about 60 IWA volunteers pulled out all the stops to put on a wonderful show to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at the annual Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice during the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

118 boats attended the Cavalcade. Several of which were on their way to join in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, but stopped to entertain crowds at the Festival. The boats taking part in the pageant on the Thames in June include Quercus, Ketura, Scholar Gypsy, Hazell Nut and, of course, Steam Narrow Boat President with her butty Kildare.

The Festival was opened by Councillor Jan Prendergast, Locum Tenens Lord Mayor of Westminster, BW Waterway Manager for London Jon Guest, IWA national chairman Clive Henderson, and Sir Brian Fender, chairman of the newly formed Canal & River Trust London Region Partnership.

Thousands of visitors braved the chilly May weather to purchase from the many and varied traders’ stalls, which were laid out attractively along Warwick Crescent and the Paddington towpath. The vendors were very upbeat about trade during the three-day festival.

The many children who attended were entertained with activities and workshops in the West London Floating Classroom Elsdale II, by the staff of the London Canal Museum, in Rembrandt Gardens by John Styles and by Mr Punch. On Sunday about 80 parents and children joined in the Teddy Bears’ Picnic, organised by Graham Nunn of the Church Army.

Reverend Gary Bradley, Vicar of Little Venice and Chaplain to the Lord Mayor of Westminster blessed all the boats as he cruised through the Pool and along the moorings, which stretched along the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals into Paddington Basin.

One of the many highlights of the weekend was an appearance by Maggie, of the London Waterbus Company, who steered her historic narrow boat Water Ouzel in the Working and Historic Boats Parade.

The Awards were presented by John Edmonds, chairman of the Inland Waterways Advisory Council, who has kindly agreed to be the new Vice President of IWA's London Region. John was accompanied by Paul Strudwick, IWA's London Region chairman.

The award winners were:

  1. Marcus Boudier Trophy: for the best privately owned boat in the Pageant:
    1st - Elizabeth Rose, owner Mr Ross
    2nd - Highlander, owner Tony Tucker
  2. Ray Dunford Buckby Can: for the best community/volunteer group:
  3. Vic Trott Memorial Trophy for the Boaters’ Best Sunday Best:
    Sandra Green and Ken Brentchley on narrowboat Lynx
  4. Cruise Electric Trophy: for the best illuminated boat
    1st - Tartan Rose, owner Martin Hacon and Mo McNicoll
    2nd - Highlander, owner Tony Tucker
  5. Graham Capelin Award: for the best boat not previously entered in the Pageant or Illuminated Boats Procession:
    Molly, owner Stuart Silver
  6. Westminster Trophy:  for the winner of the Boat Handling Competition (sponsored by Porter & Co)
    1st - Robin Ormerod on Miss Matty
    2nd - Martin Ludgate on Fulbourne
  7. Roger Squires Trophy:  for the novice winner of the Boat Handling Competition
    Gary Naden on Southern Star
  8. Mike Stevens Memorial Trophy: for the best boat
    Comet, owner Roger Allsop

Murad Qureshi, Member of the London Assembly, announced the nine winners of the Grand Prize Draw, which raised over £3,000 towards IWA's campaigns and projects.

Ian West, IWA Festivals chairman, said the event had been a fantastic success and wished to thank all the volunteers of IWA, Waterway Recovery Group, The Church Army, the Pirate Castle, The Westminster City Guides and all the other people who made such a massive contribution in time and effort towards its success.

(photo by Hannah Ranken)


wrg_friends_mont150pxGet Outdoors & Dirty This Summer With WRG

Waterway Recovery Group's summer working holidays called ‘Canal Camps’ are booking up fast, but there are still some spaces.  The Canal Camps are a great experience for anyone who loves being outdoors and offers you the chance to learn new skills such as bricklaying, stone-walling, machine operation and other restoration techniques.

Why not join WRG on the Cromford Canal 11th-18th August and help to replace a side weir on the watered section of the canal in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site? The existing structure has to be demolished and then rebuilt four times bigger so if you are interested in bricklaying this is the camp for you!  

WRG also have two weeks planned on the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation (28th July-4th August and 4th-11th August) with volunteers getting stuck into various improvement works from bank protection and weir repairs to towpath improvements. 

Alternatively why not head to the Welsh Borders and volunteer on the Montgomery Canal Camps and construct a new channel using a liner system consisting of geotextiles, bentonite matting and blocks. Availability left on the following dates 11th-18th August; 18th-25th August; 25th August-1st September.

Each camp costs £56, which includes food & basic accommodation.

For more details and to book on WRG Canal Camps


colin_edmond2_150pxChelmer and Blackwater Navigation Stalwart to Retire

IWA's own waterway, the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, is looking to recruit a new Navigation Manager, following the announcement of the forthcoming retirement of Colin Edmond, who has been in charge of the waterway since IWA rescued it from administration in 2005.

The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation runs through a largely unspoilt part of rural Essex and connects the county town of Chelmsford with the tidal estuary of the river Blackwater at Heybridge Basin. It has remained open and independently run throughout its history. Never having been nationalised, it continued to carry commercial freight until 1972, and an increasing number of leisure users since that time. It was designed by the renowned canal engineer John Rennie and most of his original structures are intact, together with the entire length of the original waterway. In 2005, IWA stepped in to rescue it from administration and closure, and since then it has been managed by IWA’s subsidiary Essex Waterways Ltd as a not-for-profit operation.

It is hoped to appoint the new manager by the end of the summer, to allow Colin to retire at the end of November.

Roy Chandler, chairman of Essex Waterways Ltd, said: “Prior to working for Essex Waterways, Colin had been employed with the Company of Proprietors of the Navigation for twenty years as lockkeeper at Heybridge Sea Lock, coming to the Navigation with a sea-faring background.  Colin took on further responsibilities when the old Navigation Company went into administration and, with his years of practical experience on the waterway, became the logical choice for Navigation Manager when IWA took on the waterway.  I think the new manager will probably have a more office-based role, but none-the-less will need to be prepared to handle all eventualities on the waterway, and at all times of the day and night."

Anyone interested in applying can download an application pack at: www.waterways.org.uk/essex_waterways/job_vacancies

Essex Waterways Ltd is also looking to appoint an assistant ‘lengthsman’ / assistant ranger to support practical work on the Navigation. 

Roy Chandler added: “The post may be particularly suitable for someone graduating from an agricultural college or similar background this summer.

Old WOW Laptops

We have some elderly laptop computers that were previously used for WOW activities at festival sites, but which are now no longer needed. These laptops only have very limited memory and disc space, and lack a port for an ethernet (internet) cable, but may be ideal for taking notes at meetings, etc.  They are available on a 'first come, first served' basis, at no charge to IWA branch officers or other waterway good causes - or for private use in exchange for a donation to IWA.  For further details please contact Tracy Higgin (tracy.higgin@waterways.org.uk).


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

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

Droitwich Canals Restoration Wins Institute of Civil Engineers Awards

The Institution of Civil Engineers West Midlands Awards were held on 9th May to showcase the best of civil engineering in the region.  A total of 20 projects were nominated, including the £12.7 million restoration of Droitwich’s Canals, which re-opened in July 2011 marking the end of a 38-year drive to restore them.

The entry for Droitwich Canals Restoration won the construction category and went on to win the award for overall winner. The ceremony was attended by the construction team and Wychavon District Council.

Broads Authority to Take on Responsibility for Breydon Water

The Broads Authority and Great Yarmouth Port Company have reached agreement on the transfer of responsibility for navigation in Breydon Water and the Lower Bure.

Breydon Water and the lower parts of the River Bure are within the Broads Authority’s boundary. However, when the Authority was established in 1989, responsibility for the navigation for this area stayed with the Great Yarmouth Port Authority.

The legislation received Royal Assent in June 2009. Now, following written confirmation of the approval of the Great Yarmouth Port Company the date of 1st June 2012 has been set for the transfer.

Under the current arrangements the Broads Authority already provides a launch with two rangers to patrol the area in the boating season funded entirely by the Authority. One option being considered is to make this a year-round operation.

The prime aim of the 2009 Broads Authority Act was to improve safety on the Broads and the transfer of the Breydon Water area and lower reaches of the River Bure is the last major element of this legislation to be implemented.   


Staffordshire Canal Watch

Many people will be familiar with Neighbourhood Watch schemes which help reduce crime by encouraging neighbours to look after each other, be more aware of potential problems and report any suspicions to their local police.

Now, the particular problems of the canal community in Staffordshire are being addressed by a related Canal Watch scheme which allows those who sign-up to have access to the OWL system of notification as used by Neighbourhood Watch.

See full article on IWA Lichfield Branch's news page.


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
  • 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 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 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.


2012 Waterway Events

Some dates for your diary in 2012:

BCN Society Summer Rally - West Midlands 18th - 20th May
Rickmansworth Festival - Hertfordshire 19th - 20th May
Moira Canal Festival - Leicestershire 19th - 20th May
The Broads Green Boat & Tourism Show - Norfolk 20th May
Jubilee Canal Festival at Etruria - West Midlands 2nd - 3rd June
IWA National Trailboat Festival 2012, Stroud - Gloucestershire 2nd - 4th June
Canalside Jubilee - Surrey 2nd - 4th June
Crick Boat Show - Northamptonshire 2nd - 5th June
Shrewsbury River Festival - Shropshire 3rd June
Stoke Bruerne Museum Gala Weekend - Northamptonshire 8th - 10th June
Stafford Boat Club Gathering - Staffordshire 8th - 10th June
Leicester Riverside Festival - Leicestershire 9th - 10th June
Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival - Cheshire 15th - 17th June
Droitwich Boat Gathering - Worcestershire 22nd - 25th June
Northwich River Weaver Festival - Cheshire 23rd - 24th June
Overwater Marina Safety Afloat & Family Fun Day - Cheshire 24th June
Stratford River Festival - Warwickshire 29th June - 1st July
Leeds Waterfront Festival 2012 - West Yorkshire 30th June - 1st July
Chesterfield Canal Festival - Derbyshire 30th June - 1st July
IWA Thwaite Mills Boat Gathering 2012 - West Yorkshire 30th June - 1st July
Foxton Locks Festival - Leicestershire 30th June - 1st July
Evesham River Festival - Worcestershire 6th - 8th July
Wheel 10 - Falkirk Wheel Boat Rally - Falkirk 6th - 8th July
Ware Boat Festival - Hertfordshire 6th - 8th July
Regent's Canal Festival - London 13th - 15th July
Pershore Town River Festival - Worcestershire 14th - 15th July
Newbury Waterways Festival - West Berkshire 20th - 22nd July
Bristol Harbour Festival - Bristol 20th - 22nd July
Cosgrove Canal Festival - Northamptonshire 21st - 22nd July
Audlem Festival of Transport and Gathering of Historic Boats - Cheshire 27th July
Blisworth Canal Festival - Northamptonshire 11th - 12th August
IWA Campaign Festival 2012, Preston - Lancashire 25th - 27th August
Red Hill Marina and Tuggyland Boat Show - Nottinghamshire 25th - 27th August
Shackerstone Family Festival - Leicestershire 1st - 2nd September
Maesbury Canal Festival - Shropshire 1st - 2nd September
Ellesmere Boat Rally - Shropshire 7th - 9th September
Slough Canal Festival - Berkshire 8th - 9th September
Whitchurch Gathering of Boats - Shropshire 15th - 16th September
RNLI Rally - Surrey 22nd - 23rd September
Village at War Weekend - Northamptonshire 28th - 30th September
BCN Society Bonfire Rally - West Midlands 4th - 5th November

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 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 May Towpath Tidy - Pudding Mill (British Waterways)
Details: Come and get stuck in with our planting project to support the Olympic site. E15 2PY - Blaker Road, Pudding Mill
Contact: volunteer@britishwaterways.co.uk

30th May Canal Clean Up – Etruria (IWA Stoke on Trent Branch)
Details: A clean up in the area around the Etruria Canals Festival site (at the junction of the Caldon Canal and the Trent and Mersey Canal).  The clean up will take place from 10am to 1pm. BW will be providing all tools and equipment, including a small work boat.  If you can let us know if you are coming that would be useful but otherwise just turn up at 10am at Etruria
Contact: alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk

10th June - Lancaster Canal Cleanup (IWA North Lancs & Cumbria Branch)
Details: A clean up in preparation for the Preston Guild Canal Festival over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Those interested should turn up at the car park at Haslam Park, Blackpool Road, Preston, PR12 1JD, to start work at about 9.30am  We propose to finish about 4.30pm  Some personal protective gear will be provided (as will light refreshments during the day - but advisable to bring your own lunch) - please ensure you have suitable footwear.  We shall be working a 2 mile stretch of the canal in the city centre. 
Contact: patricia.buzzard@waterways.org.uk.

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


Upcoming Towpath Walks


16th May Stafford Riverway Link (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: Evening Walk at Stafford.  A return walk along the banks of the River Sow to see the route of the Stafford Riverway Link (the former River Sow Navigation).  Meet at 6.15 for 6.30 pm start from the Civic Centre car park, South Walls, Stafford, ST16 3AQ (free after 6 pm). 
Contact: pat.barton@waterways.org.uk

18th May Chesterfield Canal (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
Details: A walk along part of the Chesterfield canal,  Meet at 7-00pm at the Hollingwood Hub, 22 Works Rd, Hollingwood, nr Chesterfield. For Satnav users S43 2JP gets you to Troughton Road which is close to the car park. After the walk (of about 3 miles) refreshments will be available in the hub (£3-95 - they need to be prebooked with Mavis White)
Contact: mavis.white@waterways.org.uk

19th May Foxton Locks (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
Details: A short walk at Foxton locks. The walk is expected to last about 90 minutes and you are advised to wear boots when the recent weather may have made the footpaths muddy.
Contact: info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk

20th May Bow Back Rivers, London (London Walks)
Details: Bow Back Rivers & 2012 Games London. Meeting point is Bromley–by-Bow Station. Cost is £9 Concessionary and student rate: £7
Contact: sailor1057@aol.com

24th May River Weaver/Shropshire Union Canal (IWA Chester & District Branch)
Details: A new walk starting from the recently refurbished and reopened Badger, Cross Lane, Church Minshull CW5 6DY. From the pub this 3.3 mile walk heads south to cross the River Weaver and the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal before circling to rejoin the canal before passing through Eardswick Wood onto Cross Lane for the return to the Badger.
Contact: jforkin@o2.co.uk

27th May Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: Regent’s Canal, Little Venice – Camden. Meeting point is Warwick Avenue Station. Cost is £9 Concessionary and student rate: £7
Contact: sailor1057@aol.com

10th June - Sponsored Walk, Wey & Arun Canal (Wey & Arun Canal Trust)
Details: The Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s 40th annual sponsored walk. The Poddle's route this year will start and finish at the newly refurbished North Hall in Loxwood, West Sussex. The route winds through Ifold before joining the canal just north of Southland Lock. Here walkers will have a chance to see the progress of the Trust's latest major rebuilding effort.  From Southland the route follows the towpath to the restored Devil's Hole Lock. The whole walk is slightly over 14 miles.
Contact: Telephone 01403 752403 or email office@weyandarun.co.uk.

13th June - Walk - Lapworth
Details: A short walk at Lapworth. The walk is expected to last about 90 minutes and you are advised to wear boots when the recent weather may have made the footpaths muddy.
Contact: info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk

To advertise your towpath walks inthe 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