IWA Bulletin Mid-November 2012

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IWA Members’ Campaign on Recreational Craft Directive Makes Good Progress

In response to an amendment to the Recreational Craft Directive which urged the European Commission to: ‘consider submitting proposals to harmonise watercraft licences at Union level, to encourage regular technical checks and to prevent tax evasion by discouraging the use of agricultural diesel.’ IWA asked several of its waterway supporting MEPs, including the Rt. Hon Sir Robert Atkins MEP, former Secretary of State, who is an IWA member and narrow boat owner to discuss our concerns with the Rapporteur.

IWA has also spoken in some detail with the Rapporteur for this Directive, Malcolm Harbour MEP, chairman of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee whose constituency covers Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull. 

It is understood that the amendment was passed ‘against the advice’ of the Rapporteur but is hoped to be dropped in the subsequent negotiations with the Council of Ministers because, as IWA and other waterways supporters have already noted, it is entirely outside the scope of the Directive, and the topics covered by the amendment are the responsibility of individual member states.

Les Etheridge,  IWA National Chairman, said:

This is heartening news. We understand that the UK Government position is that the Directive should not include any such recommendations, and UK MEPs and civil servants will be working to ensure that this text is removed from the proposed revision to the Recreational Crafts Directive during final negotiations.

We understand that the Directive will now be subject to negotiations with Member States at the Council of the European Union, with the UK Government playing a key role. The negotiations between the Parliament and the Council are likely to begin in earnest in December and not likely to complete until the end of March 2013, under the Irish Presidency of the Council, at the earliest.

He continued:

Whilst it is clear that it isn’t the intention of the UK Government to allow this recital to be included, it is there at the insistence of Toine Manders, the Dutch MEP, and until such time as it is dropped there is still an on-going need to ensure that UK MEPs are made aware of the clause and of waterway supporters’ concerns.

It is clear that the waterway supporters campaign is also having an effect. We would thank all those who have already contacted their MEPs and ask them to write again both to thank them in turn for their prompt response to this issue and to further ask that that they continue to monitor the situation until such time as we can be certain the clause has been removed and there is no risk of it being adopted.”


IWA News

EA/CAM Conservators Reciprocal Agreement

There continues to be disquiet in boating circles at the extent for the current charges to access the river Cam, following the changes to the Environment Agency's reciprocal agreement last year.

The Cam Conservators are unable by law to issue a day or short term licence and can currently only grant annual licences. Under the revised EA reciprocal agreement a 10% surcharge is made to the EA annual licence to permit navigation on the Cam. As a result this makes it the most expensive stretch of water to navigate typically resulting in an additional £40 to travel through one lock and 7 miles. The situation is much worse for CRT licence holders who choose to purchase a Gold Licence to navigate EA waters for the year. The 10% surcharge is applied to the whole of the Gold Licence not just the EA component. The result may be in the order of an additional £110 to gain access.

IWA has arranged a meeting with the Cam Conservators and will seeking to find a better solution to the licence fees for short term visitors.

IWA's South Yorkshire Branch Tinsley Lock Flight Cleanup

IWA's South Yorkshire Branch took part in their bi-annual clean-up of the Tinsley Lock Flight on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation in conjunction with CRT on Sunday 28th October. The clean-up attracted 29 volunteers which included IWA members, local boaters and members of Sheffield Rotary Club.

The volunteers included two people in a canoe collecting floating rubbish.

The party worked on the whole lock flight, halfway towards Sheffield City centre, finishing with pie and peas.

The next Tinsley Flight cleanup will take place on Sunday 7th April 2013. For more information please contact mavis.paul@waterways.org.uk

IWA's Lichfield Branch ‘Country Moorings’ Work Party

IWA's Lichfield Branch has installed 20 mooring rings on the Trent & Mersey Canal, between the Brindley Aqueduct and Rugeley Bypass Bridge so as to provide ‘country moorings’ in the Brindley Bank area.   The work took place over 2nd to 4th November.  Canal & River Trust provided a hopper and all necessary equipment and materials, with the branch providing the mooring rings and manpower.  Advice and support was received from Brian Holmes of Shropshire Union Canal Society, and volunteer support was also provided by Rugeley Lions, Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and Stafford Riverway Link.

Purchase of the mooring rings has been funded from a donation of £1,200 via IWA Lichfield Branch as part of IWA's West Midlands Region’s allocation from the profits of the 2011 National Festival, which was held at nearby Burton-on-Trent.  A further £800 from the same source has recently been donated to Caldon and Uttoxeter Canals Trust to pursue restoration work on the Uttoxeter Canal.

On the Sunday 14 local volunteers turned out for a couple of hours in the morning for a scrub-bashing session. They managed to clear the long path leading from Wolseley Road down to the ‘Bloody Steps’, which is part of the branch's intended ‘Brindley Trail’.  IWA's Lichfield Branch has been offered a £500 grant from the Community Paths Initiative towards resurfacing the 150 yard footpath - provided it can raise another £1500 and carry out the work before the 31st March 2013.

Details of the next Lichfield Branch work party will be available on the branch's page on the website shortly, or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.uk and ask to be put on the email list for all details of future events.

See gallery of photos


IWA's Manchester Branch Supporting CRT Towpath Taskforce

Following on from the success of the Ashtac Reunion clean up weekend at Dukinfield Junction, IWA's Manchester Branch supported the first of the Canal & River Trust’s Manchester & Pennine Towpath Taskforce work party days just a couple of weeks later, on Saturday 27th October. 

14 volunteers (who had all been on the Dukinfield weekend) turned up, to work in both directions from Fairfield Junction at the top of the Ashton flight. More than 10 bags of litter were collected between Fairfield Junction and Lock 17, vegetation was cleared, rubbish was grappled out of the canal, and railings and lockgates were painted. Volunteers from the Ashton Packet Boat Company helped with grappling hooks using historic wooden motor narrow boat Joel and they produced a lorry load of rubbish out of the canal between Fairfield and Dukinfield junctions. CRT provided a van and lorry to take the gatherings away and also provided all the other equipment. 

The next Towpath Taskforce work party will be on Saturday 24th November and is likely to be in held in the Failsworth area.


Inland Waterways Advisory Council Reports

The government's advisory body on inland waterways, The Inland Waterways Advisory Council (IWAC), was abolished on 2nd July 2012 following an initial announcement in July 2010.  Before its demise, IWAC authorised IWA to publish any of IWAC's works so that its reports and research was not lost to the benefit of the inland waterways community.  A selection of IWAC's recent reports are now available on the IWA website. Further reports will be added shortly.

IWAC was first formed under the 1968 Transport Act as the Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council, solely covering the inland waterways managed by the then British Waterways.  It was reformed as The Inland Waterways Advisory Council in April 2007 under the Natural Environment and Communities Act 2006, covering all inland waterways in England and Wales and the waterways then managed by British Waterways in Scotland.


Waterways Magazine

The Winter 2012 edition of IWA Waterways Magazine is now available to view online

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:

Lichfield Branch - Lichfield Lines - Winter 2012

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

West Midlands Region - Navigation - Autumn 2012

Chiltern Branch - Grapevine - Autumn 2012
Great Ouse Branch - Ouse News - Autumn 2012
Peterborough Branch - Hereward - Autumn 2012
South Yorkshire Branch - Keels & Cuckoos - November 2012
West Riding Branch - Milepost - October 2012


2014 Calendar Competition

Photos have been submitted for the 2014 IWA Calendar 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



IWA Volunteering Opportunities

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

Canal & River Trust Financial Planning

In his speech to the AGM of the Waterways Crafts Guild on 10th November, John Dodwell, Canal & River Trust Trustee discussed some CRT financial figures.

The Trust has an annual income of about £150m, all of which is spent each year.

He said that waterway area maintenance teams are split into Monthly Inspection; Construction (working to a schedule of works); Customer Operations (who respond to calls and do planned preventative maintenance and water control. Each waterway area has about 80 staff, 75% of which are bank staff. Each has an annual budget of about £5m to deliver day-to-day maintenance and customer service. This includes planned preventative maintenance, defect repairs, the annual lock gate replacement programme, vegetation management and the risk management inspection processes. The more complex projects and major dredging are managed by centralised specialists.

He also said that looking forward, £4m has been allocated to improve some areas where water can be scarce – such as the Kennet & Avon Canal, the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the canals around Braunston.

A ten year dredging programme is being planned, probably spending £8m a year, which is twice the previous amount.

Last winter British Waterways replaced a little under 200 lock gates as part of a winter maintenance programme costing £50m. This winter the Trust is undertaking a similar programme.

The Trust has taken on 22 new apprentices, 2 in each of the 11 waterways areas. The apprentices are mainly in the joinery and bricklaying trades and it is intended that they will help keep the heritage skills on the waterways alive.

The full speech can be downloaded from CRT's website

EA Navigation Charges 2013

The Environment Agency has announced that it will continue to apply cost increases to its licences at Consumer Price Index + 2% until 2015. This is in contrast to Canal & River Trust’s position, where following their boaters' survey which identified cost as a major concern, CRT gave a commitment of just inflation increases beyond the current spending round period. EA was unable to give a similar commitment because, unlike CRT which now has certainty of funding for a 15-year term, the EA does not know what the government's funding position will be from year to year and the Agency is currently facing more funding cuts.


Environment Agency Strong Stream Advice

Boaters have been urged to take notice of the Environment Agency's Strong Stream Advice, which are issued whenever flows reach a level that could be hazardous to boaters on its navigations.

A narrow boat partially sunk on the Rive Nene at Ditchford in early November after taking to the river following heavy rain.  The Environment Agency says that it had issued warnings about strong streams, but the boat owner claims that they were unaware of them. Two people were on the boat when it became lodged at a sluice gate. They were able to get off safely and were not injured.  The vessel was later raised by River Canal Rescue with support from the Agency once river levels had receded.

The Rivers Great Ouse and Nene are unique in East Anglia because EA ‘reverses’ the locks during flood events and at times of high flows. The Strong Stream Advice system advises river users when locks are ‘reversed’ and EA strongly advises against attempting to navigate.

When Strong Stream Advice is in force, red flags, signs and warning lights at various lock sites are activated.

EA will call those that have signed up to the scheme, free of charge, using an automated service,  to advise when Strong Stream Advice has been issued or cancelled. Text and email facilities are also available.

If you would like to sign up to receive this free service for either the River Great Ouse, River Nene or River Ancholme please contact EA on 01522 785943. Further information can be obtained by telephoning EA's Floodline Information Service on 0845 988 1188.

More information can be found on EA's website


Moving Closer for Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway

Some 100 delegates from councils, businesses, education and community groups gathered at the Open University for the third annual partnership conference of the B&MK Waterway Trust on 2nd November 2012.

Councillor Morris said she was delighted that Milton Keynes Council continued to support and be committed to the waterway project, and that this continued in the Council’s core strategy. She looked forward to things beginning to appear.

The Milton Keynes Waterway Park Steering Group, and Bedford Borough Council, said they are looking at about 11 km from the Grand Union to the M1. They advised that in the context of Milton Keynes expansion, opportunities for the waterway would be safeguarded. The Council had also ensured planning permission was in place for next five years.

An order is to be placed for the building of a 60 plus seat trip boat, which the B&MK Trust will operate initially on the River Great Ouse in Bedford on behalf of community groups, schools and colleges, businesses and individuals. The full cost will be just under £138,000, most of which has been raised. More donations will be needed to cover the last costs of getting the boat operation up and running. More than 70 people have volunteered to become involved in various ways.

The B&MK had always enjoyed the support of the former British Waterways and CRT confirmed that they would continue to work closely.

Photo by B&MK Waterway Trust.


Measham Wharf Plans Link With Ashby Canal
Plans for a new canalside development will see up to 400 new homes built off Burton Road, Measham linked by an 800-metre stretch of newly formed canal to a wharf overlooked by shops, offices and leisure outlets.

Measham suffered serious economic, social and environmental problems as a result of the closure of the local deep mining industry.  The project plans to link up with the Ashby Canal, which would reach the wharf via an aqueduct over High Street.

Leicestershire County Council is leading the restoration of the Ashby Canal from its current terminus at Snarestone to the Heart of the National Forest at Moira. A newly completed 40-metre stretch of canal alongside the pumping station at Snarestone is being connected to the previously restored length.

Work on the scheme is due to start in the summer. 
The plans were displayed at a public consultation meeting on 13th November, which was well attended by locals in favour of returning the canal to the town. Planning approval for the project is likely to be sought in December.


The River Stour lighter John Constable is Re-Launched

Nearly 100 years after the lighter fleet on the Essex and Suffolk Stour was scuttled at Ballingdon, a restored lighter has been launched on the Stour and is being prepared by The River Stour Trust to carry passengers.

The launch took place at the Trust's  Visitor & Education Centre on 27th September after 2 days on display at Ipswich docks.

The restoration was made possible by the efforts of many people and a grant from the Heritage Lottery. The restoration was carried out by the Pioneer Sailing Trust located at Brightlingsea, a specialist in wooden boat restoration.

At nearly 47 feet long and 10 feet beam – a bit narrower than the original - the lighter is able to fit in any Stour lock, but the current plan is to operate her at Sudbury. Although Stour lighters always operated in pairs, the one restored is the foremost of the two.

The Trust plans to operate the lighter as a trip vessel, taking up to 12 passengers, starting in spring 2013.


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
  • IceGrippers - 20% discount until December 2012
  • 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
  • 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

Visit Inside Chesterfield Canal Lock

On Sunday 25th November, Canal & River Trust will hold a Public Open Day at Stret Lock on the Chesterfield Canal in Worksop.

The open day will allow you to walk down inside the empty lock and ask questions about how the skilled restoration work takes place.

The lock will be opened at 10am. No booking is required. The last entry will be at 3.15pm. The site will close at 3.45pm. Please wear sensible sturdy footwear or wellies.

Parking will available next to the lock at the Lock Keeper pub which is off the Sainsbury’s roundabout on the A57 in Worksop; SatNav S80 1TJ.

Stret Lock was restored in the 1990s. However for very many years some boats have got stuck. British Waterways undertook a major inspection in 2011. Infra-red photographs were taken to create a computer simulation of the lock. The lock was indeed found to be narrower than it should be.

The lock widening scheme will involve taking down two of the of the outer brick courses on the towpath side and replacing them with one course, increasing the width by 50mm.

For more information please see Chesterfield Canal Trust website


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

17th November Lapworth - Stratford Canal (IWA's 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.
Contact: alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk

17th - 18th November Kings Norton  (IWA's Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
Details: IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch, IWA Warwickshire Branch, Worcester, Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society and the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal Society are organising a work party weekend, supported by the Canal & River Trust on the Worcester & Birmingham and Stratford canals around King's Norton Junction. Work will include pulling rubbish out of the canal, painting and vegetation clearance. Tools and equipment will be provided. Volunteers are advised to wear stout shoes and to bring waterproofs and a packed lunch.
Contact: Michael.Smith-Keary@waterways.org.uk

17th - 18th November Somersetshire Coal Canal (WRG BITM)
Details: Scrub bashing and stump pulling at Combe Hay Locks.
Contact: bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk

20th November Cheshire Locks Work Party (IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch)
Details: Monthly work party organised by IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch 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: alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk

24th November Rochdale Canal (IWA's Manchester Branch and CRT)
Details: Monthly work party to be held on the fourth Saturday each month (excluding December).  The work party will take place in a different location each time, see this website for details nearer each date.  This one is due to take place somewhere on the Rochdale Canal. 
Contact: chairman@manchester-iwa.co.uk

8th - 9th December - Ashby Canal (WRG BITM)
Details: Scrub bashing and stump pulling between Snarestone and Measham
Contact: bookings@wrgbitm.org.uk

13th December - Caldon Canal (IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch)
Details: Monthly mid-week work party on the Caldon Canal (second Thursday each month). Wear old clothes, stout shoes and bring waterproofs and a packed lunch. This work party is being organised jointly between IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, working in Partnership with the Canal & River Trust.
Contact: alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk

15th December - Lapworth, Stratford Canal (IWA's 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.
Contact: alison.smedley@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

17th November Ashby Canal (IWA's Warwickshire Branch)
Details: A walk from Snarestone to Measham on the Ashby Canal to view the restoration.
Contact: info.warwickshire@waterways.org.uk

6th December  Morning Walk near Atherstone (IWA's Lichfield Branch)
Details: Morning Walk near Atherstone.  A circular walk of about 5½ miles including Baddesley Common, countryside and the Coventry Canal towpath at Atherstone Locks.  Rising to the common, then gradual descent to canal and return uphill.  3 stiles so may not be suitable for larger dogs.  Meet at 10.00 for a 10.15 am start at St Nicholas Church Hall car park, Baddesley Ensor, Warwickshire, CV9 2EL. Free parking.  Optional lunch on return at Rose Inn, Baxterley (a short car journey).  Leader: Ed Rule. 
Contact: Margaret Beardsmore on 07581 794111 or email margaret.beardsmore@waterways.org.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