IWA Bulletin Mid-November 2011

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Minister to Attend All Party Waterways Group Hearing

The All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group is to reconvene a hearing for the Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, to attend on Thursday 8th December.

The primary purpose of the hearing is to provide the Minister with the opportunity to report to the All Party Group on the Government’s response to the views it received on its New Era consultation about the future of the inland waterways, including the consideration that the Government gave to the Group’s Memorandum – The Future of the Waterways – that it submitted to Defra last July. This focussed on appropriate governance for the Canal & River Trust and the need for adequate financing.

It is expected however that All Party Group Members will also want an update on progress with  governance and appropriate financing for CRT and will want to be assured that everything is on track for a successful launch of the Charity in April next year in a manner that safeguards the future of the inland waterways in the short, medium and long term.

The Group can also be expected to want to know what provision Government has planned so that any unexpected difficulties that the new charity may face in its early years – financial or otherwise – do not jeopardise a fully functioning network that delivers undisputed public benefits.

IWA currently provides secretarial support for the All Party Group and will therefore be in close attendance.


IWA News

IWA Issues Call to Arms over Waterway Funding

IWA is asking all waterway supporters to act now to secure the future of the Canal and River Trust.

Things are at a critical juncture for the transfer of British Waterways’ managed canals and rivers into the Canal and River Trust. The money is everything. A good deal from Defra will deliver a significant Big Society project, and secure the future of a national asset. IWA is concerned however, that Defra is playing hard ball, and trying to impose a lean deal just to get BW off its books.

IWA is asking all waterway supporters to urgently:

  1. Write to your MP drawing their attention to the fact that the waterways are being transferred over into the charitable sector, and that it is vital that the funding package is sufficient that it allows them to be maintained in a sustainable condition. Let them know that you don't want to see the waterways become another Defra inspired  'forestry' type disaster. 
  2. Please also ask your MP to contact the Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP, directly, to register their concern, and to ensure that he knows that there needs to be more money put on the table.

Here are IWA's Key points:

  • Government has initially offered to transfer the British Waterways (BW) property portfolio to CRT and to provide a 10 year funding contract indicated at cash £39 million per year. (so no index linking with the consequence of erosion in value over time by inflation). This is just not enough.
  • BW has thoroughly updated its financial projections. It says that for its waterways to be reasonably maintained, with an acceptable level of risk, it has an annual funding deficit of £20 million. The CRT would inherit this annual deficit. The BW new projections do not appear to embrace the remedy of a repairs deficit which was already significant and has been growing in recent years [in 2007 reported to EFRA Select Committee as being an accumulated figure of  £107million].
  • British Waterways also has a pension deficit of £65 million. Nearly three quarters of which is in respect of previous employees. Ought this huge state incurred liability be transferred over to the new charity?
  • The revised annual deficit does not take account of a large dredging backlog incurred as a result of chronic underfunding, that requires £8-12 million per year to stabilise, and ensure drainage, navigation and environmental requirements are properly supported. 

Don't let the proposed transfer of BW assets become another 'forestry' debacle for Defra through underfunding!

Please act now - Please write today.

You can find out who your MP is and write to them directly by using this link http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

A downloadable template letter for your MP is available here http://www.waterways.org.uk/documents/dear_mp



IWA Sees Interim Role for IWAC

IWA has submitted its representations to Defra concerning the proposed abolition of IWAC.

IWA believes that IWAC has fulfilled a valuable role with the independent view it has taken on matters affecting the inland waterways. It has said that it doubts whether any of the suggestions made by Defra for a continuation of the activities undertaken by IWAC will be as effective.

At the very least IWA considers that there should be a role for a skeleton IWAC through to 2014 so that Defra can engage its assistance over its review of the Canal & River Trust after two years of operation.

IWA has also raised the future of the restoration reports prepared by IWAC periodically. It has offered to undertake this role but would wish to discuss with Defra the support that IWA might attract so that it can fulfil this function and the status that would be afforded to the reports by both Defra and the HLF if they were prepared under the auspices of IWA.  

Read  the IWAC Abolition IWA Submission www.waterways.org.uk/pdf/iwac_abolition_iwa_submission


news_tubscleanup150pxIWA Lee & Stort Branch Help Tidy Up The River Stort

Tidy Up Bishops Stortford (TUBS) volunteers met on the 12th November to clean up the River Stort.

An excellent turn out was led by a large contingent of canoes from the Bishops Stortford Canoe Club. They were joined by the local MP, Mark Prisk, IWA Lee & Stort Branch, and the new litter boat, The Pride of Stortford.

Two large Biffa containers were filled with rubbish picked out by intrepid volunteers, and several passers-by commented on the difference it made and a job well done.



IWA Milton Keynes Branch Clean Up The Grand Union Canal

The latest clean up organised by IWA Milton Keynes Branch, took place from Friday 14th to Sunday 16th October.

A team of volunteers joined by 30 scouts worked through Milton Keynes, from Fenny Lock, to the Galleon, Wolverton.

The clean up operation primarily involved a boat towing a BW hopper from the stern which deployed heavy duty grappling hooks. This method cleared the centre fairway and removed approximately 80% of the recovered items.

Additionally, a BW flat was attached alongside a second boat and, the offside of the canal was cleared using long handled nets to remove floating items like bottles and cans.

Grappling hooks were also thrown from the towpath to recover other items.

There was also the support of a BW dredger which meant that several heavy objects, were able to be removed from the canal.

The hopper was well loaded by the time that it arrived at the destination at Galleon Wharf, Wolverton. The haul, as usual, included many supermarket trolleys and pedal bikes as well as two motorbikes and numerous wheels and tyres.

The event was generously sponsored by Wyvern Shipping Co of Linslade, Leighton Buzzard. Milton Keynes Branch has over a number of years secured sponsorship of our clean ups from Wyvern Shipping Co. Wyvern not only provide a cash payment to the branch but also contribute towards the cost of the diesel used by the two boats towing BW craft. They also manufactured the heavy duty grappling hooks and maintain and store all of the hooks used in the operations. Milton Keynes Branch has, on several occasions, provided hooks to their neighbouring branch at Northampton to assist their clean ups. It makes good sense to seek sponsorship from local businesses as a way of defraying the costs of the operation.

See information on www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/how_to_do_it/waterway_clean_ups

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. www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/calendar_competition_entries

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

For more information on how to enter please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/calendar_photo_competition


Waterways Directory

Observant members may noticed some out of date listings in the directory circulated with the most recent (November 2011) edition of IWA's Waterways magazine.  Although an up-to-date directory listing was sent to the printers in good time, they inadvertently reprinted the August edition of the directory in error.  The printers have apologised for this mistake, and a fully up-to-date directory should appear with the next (February 2012) edition of Waterways.


Birmingham Boat & Caravan Show Cancelled

The 2012 Birmingham Boat & Caravan Show has been cancelled.  IWA has attended the Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for many years, and it has usually proved a good recruiting ground for members.  IWA’s stand there has been well-supported by a large team of members from the Midlands and further afield.  The caravan element has always been a main plank of the show, but for next year, the caravan manufacturers decided to hold their own event in London on competing dates in February.  The show’s organisers say there was strong support from other elements of the show: accessories, waterways, tourism and outdoor leisure – but these were not enough to make the Birmingham show viable without the caravan manufacturers, hence the decision to cancel.


Inglesham Fundraising Update

£59,389 has been pledged so far.

Read about the progress that has been made at Inglesham Lock www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/news/appeals/restoration_update

To donate please go to www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1294


About People

Maj Christopher 'Crick ' Grundy

We are saddened to annouce the death of Major Christopher 'Crick' Grundy on Friday 4th November. He was one of only two remaining IWA members who joined the Association in the year of its founding, 1946. He worked with IWA founders Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman on early campaigns and continued as an active IWA supporter for many years. A full obituary will appear in the next edition of Waterways. His funeral is to be held on 22nd November at Emstry Crematorium, London Road, Shewsbury, SY2 6PS  at 12 noon.


IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Events Volunteering

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


IWA Branch and Region Help Wanted

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


Other News

Environment Agency Navigation charges 2012-14

EA is increasing its navigation charges by the consumer price index plus 2% per year in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Navigation charges will consequently rise by 6.4% from January 2012.

Having listened to the concerns of the boating community EA plan to:

  • annually review the impact of increases, together with economic and other pressures on registration numbers and review subsequent increases for 2013 and 2014 if EA is not confident that its customers can sustain them;
  • freeze navigation charges for commercial craft at 2011 levels until 2015;
  • introduce a rolling year for annual registrations;
  • develop a system for part refunding the registrations of craft in specific circumstances (to be defined).


Olympic Honour for Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct has been named as one of the alternative modes of transport for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Route.

Thomas Telford's aqueduct is one of just a few landmarks and special activities which were announced today by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, (LOCOG) through which the Olympic Flame will be carried by Torchbearers during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

People are invited to view the interactive map at www.london2012.com/olympictorchrelaymap to find their nearest community through which the Olympic Flame will be carried.

On the final day of the Olympic Torch Relay, it is LOCOG’s intention that the Olympic Flame will travel down the River Thames as it makes its way to the Olympic Stadium on 27 July 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, signifying the official start of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Olympic Flame will be carried across the UK by 8,000 inspirational Torchbearers each of whom will have a story of personal achievement and/or contribution to the local community.

For more information please see the British Waterways website www.britishwaterways.co.uk/newsroom/all-press-releases/display/id/3223



The Port of London Authority (PLA) To Launch Thames Safety Films

In a drive to highlight the challenges faced by recreational river users on Britain’s busiest inland waterway, the port authority has commissioned three films which follow boaters as they tackle the Thames safely.
One, covering Southend to Crayfordness, highlights the protocols and regulations around navigating in the estuary and in close vicinity to large ocean-going ships. A second deals with getting through the Thames Barrier. And a third will show how to follow the rowing code between Putney and Richmond.
For more information please go to the PLA website server2.pla.co.uk/News/index.cfm/flag/2/id/179601/site/news


Bitterns return to River Lee for winter

The first bittern of the winter has been sighted at Rye Meads Nature Reserve on the River Lee in Hertfordshire.

The bittern is one of the UK’s rarest birds, and they over-winter in the Lea Valley. The RSPB’s Rye Meads Nature Reserve had two bitterns spend the winter there last year, and they hope to encourage the birds to stay again this year.

For more information please see the Waterscape website www.waterscape.com/features-and-articles/news/3222/bitterns-return-to-river-lee-for-winter


IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

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

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

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

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

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


Upcoming Work Parties

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

19th November - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA Lichfield Branch & BW)
Litter pick together with Armitage Cubs. Meet canal side by The Mossley Tavern, Armitage Road, Rugeley. 10.00am start and hoping to finish by 12.00pm – 12.30pm for fish and chips in the village. All equipment provided, and event will be supervised by British Waterways.
Contact: margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

19th - 20th November -  Hollinwood Canal (WRG North West)
Details: Weekend of scrub bashing and 'extreme' tirforing on the Hollinwood Canal is planned by WRG's North West regional group. More details about the canal can be found on the Hollinwood Canal website www.hollinwoodcanal.co.uk/
Contact: michael.chase@ntlworld.com

19th - 20th November - Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (London WRG)
Details: Help maintain the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation. Accommodation will be on the Haybay Barge.
Contact: london@wrg.org.uk

19th - 20th November - Somersetshire Coal Canal (wrgBITM)
Details: Work party will be at Combe Hay flight of locks
Contact: bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk

3rd - 4th December - Wilts and Berks Canal (London WRG/KESCRG Christmas Dig)
Details: Christmas Party Dig on the Wilts and Berks Canal - lots of scrub bashing and Christmas fun! This is a joint dig between London WRG and the Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group (KESCRG).
Contact: london@wrg.org.uk

10th - 11th December - Cotswolds (wrgBITM)
Details: This will be wrgBITM's Christmas Work Party.
Contact: bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

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


Upcoming Towpath Walks

18th November - Hatton Flight 'The Stairway to Heaven' (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
This is a gentle walk of less than four miles up the Hatton flight of the Grand Union Canal returning over fields or, if too muddy, back down the towpath. A half way break to purchase coffee at Hatton Café is planned.
Contact: info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk

20th November - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: Little Venice – Camden, meet 2.30pm at Warwick Avenue Station.Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

24th November - Bridgewater Canal (IWA Chester and District Branch)
Details: From the Parr Arms in Grappenhall, this walk follows the towing path of the Bridgewater Canal in a north easterly direction to join the Trans Pennine Way. The route includes a peep at Latchford Locks on the Manchester Ship Canal before returning via the Bridgewater to the Parr Arms after a walk of 4.4 miles. 
Contact: chesteranddistrict@waterways.org.uk

26th November - Chesterfield Canal (Inland Waterways Protection Society)
Details: Chesterfield Canal around Renishaw. We usually start at around 10.00am and aim to finish at 4.00pm, the length of the walk being about 5-6 miles.
Contact: Ian Edgar, 0161 427 7402 or e-mail ian@theedgars.co.uk

1st December - Fradley Junction (IWA Lichfield Branch & BW)
Details: A Site Visit to see repair work on the canal locks at Fradley Junction.  Meet 10.30 for 10.45 am at the BW car park at Fradley Junction (£1 parking charge). A conducted tour by British Waterways of Keepers Lock 16 and Hunts Lock 15 which will be dewatered for brickwork repairs and gate relining. The site vist will be followed by a short walk around the Fradley Reservoir nature reserve.
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk

4th December - Regent's Canal (London Walks)
Details: King’s Cross – Camden, meet 2.30pm Kings Cross Station taxi rank. Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941, sailor1057@aol.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476, rogerw9796@yahoo.co.uk.

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