IWA Campaigns to Fill £40m Funding Gap in Government response to the NWC consultation
The Government has published its response to the consultation on the proposals to move British Waterways in England and Wales from being a public corporation to a New Waterways Charity (NWC).
More than 350 responses were received on the consultation from individuals and organisations, including a detailed submission from IWA.
On funding, much has been said by IWA leading up to and during the consultation, and the All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group has also supported IWA concerns over insufficient funding. There are several references in the response by Defra to the government funding contract being negotiated with the trustees in the autumn of 2011. This can only be regarded as implicit acceptance by Government that IWA’s assertions over inadequate funding have been fully or partly justified.
On efficiencies, the most common suggestions in the consultation were to review remuneration of senior staff, make more effective use of volunteers, prioritise preventative maintenance, and minimise rebranding costs.
Defra indicates that over the coming months the Transition Trustees will be preparing NWC’s first three year business plan, which will include any proposals to develop new income streams and further efficiencies.
On charitable income, Defra admits that BW's original charitable income projections, although based on market research conducted during the recession, remain hypothetical and the Impact Assessment recognises this by assuming, in its central case, that only 75% of these projections are realised. It also adopts an even more pessimistic 50% achievement in its sensitivity analysis. The key conclusion in the Impact Assessment, is that, in social cost-benefit terms, the charity will always bring a better outcome, other things being equal, than retention of the network in the public sector.
Defra maintains that the valuation of greater use of volunteers in the Impact Assessment is not intended to imply direct substitution of paid staff. Volunteers will enable the charity to do more and it is this ‘added value’ which has been captured here.
On the final agreement for funding however, Defra indicates that ‘A revised and final version of the Impact Assessment will be published later in the autumn, following the negotiations between Government and the Transition Trustees on the government funding contract’.
IWA is continuing to lobby NWC's transition trustees and all the political parties to support the argument for more funding and is suggesting ways that this could be achieved. To this end it has published a Political Briefing note for use at the forthcoming party conferences and has arranged meetings with various key senior politicians including the Waterways Minister. IWA will also ensure that the transition trustees are properly briefed on other issues of concern that they are charged with pursuing in the run up to launch of the NWC.
Other issues within the consultation response were the familiar demands by many waterways users, including a guarantee that canal towpaths would continue to be open to the public – not quite that they would become rights of way (currently the majority of BW-onwed towpaths are only available for public use at BW's discretion as permissive footpaths.) A major and overriding concern of IWA’s that the scope of the charity was not firmly grounded in maintaining ‘connected navigation’ has had effect. Defra in its the response recognised the concern and stated that more prominence to the use of the network for navigation was needed, and has revised the draft charitable purposes accordingly. These have been referred back to the NWC transition trustees to consider. IWA has already brought this matter up with the NWC transition trustees and will be monitoring this matter closely.
A clear majority of replies favoured the IWA’s proposal of a merger of EA navigations into the new charity, and Defra has re-affirmed of its intentions for this to happen, in 2015, although again caveated heavily with the statement “subject to affordability and the agreement of the NWC Trustees at that time”. A review of NWC performance in 2014 will advise government on the prospects. IWA will keep a close watch on progress having made and won the argument for this union.
The original consultation proposed a series of region-sized ‘Local Partnerships’, and while the proposal is likely to go ahead, IWA had been critical that their name belied their large size and that there should be more ‘localism’ in the partnerships. Defra has agreed, and is renaming them ‘Waterways Partnerships’, with an instruction that they should develop ‘localism strategies’ that allow a greater involvement from local communities.
The current plan is for 13 partnerships. Eleven would be based on waterway management boundaries, one for museums and one ‘All-Wales Partnership’ (as requested by IWA). But the proposal should not prevent the partnerships from evolving into the future.
The NWC Council organisation and structure was also confirmed. Initially this is envisaged to consist of 35 members. Five of which will be boaters, and others taken from various other interests – including two from boating businesses and one from employees of the charity. All of these positions will be directly elected (except one boater nomination) - again meeting an IWA request for direct representation rather than nominations. NWC trustees and Government now accept IWA’s position of the need to move to fuller direct elections of Council and indicate that they will progress to 50% of the Council being directly elected over time, particularly those representing identifiable waterway user groups.
The name of the charity is still not decided. The word ‘waterways’ is well understood by enthusiasts, but consideration also needs to be given to words more familiar to the wider public such as ‘canal’ and ‘river’ if the name is to have the widest possible appeal.
It is expected that the Welsh name for the charity will not be a direct translation of the English one to ensure that it resonates properly to Welsh speakers.
The results of the consultation can be downloaded on www.defra.gov.uk/consult/files/110912-waterways-summary-responses.pdf
Defra also launched another six-week consultation about the proposed ‘Transfer Order’. This will run until 24th October, and sets out the legal framework for transfer of the waterways and associated powers and responsibilities from BW to the new charity. IWA will be closely studying this consultation and will be responding in due course.
IWA's Waterway Recovery Group has been hard at work this year, at the 'Gateway to the Cotswold Canals', Inglesham Lock. Volunteers have been busy with scrub bashing, construction of the site compound, as well as laying the first bricks for the re-construction on the upper wing walls, off-side paddle hole and culvert.
WRG plans lots more work on the lock in the forthcoming months, so there will be plenty more opportunities for everyone to get involved.
£52,211 has now been pledged for the Inglesham Lock Appeal but more is needed to allow the volunteers to continue their work.
To donate please go to www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1294
To see photos of the restoration please go to www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/inglesham_lock_restoration_photos
For more information on the restoration work so far please go to www.waterways.org.uk/campaigns/appeals/restoration_update
Join IWA for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flotilla down the Thames
On Sunday 3rd June 2012, The Queen will lead a flotilla down the Thames of up to one thousand boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world.
The Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, the largest flotilla to be assembled on the river for at least 350 years, will be one of the major celebrations of the Queen’s sixty year reign.
By participating in this historic and unique event you could also fly the flag for IWA by displaying a burgee on your vessel and sporting IWA corporate wear. The closing date for applications is 31st October 2011 and the organisers will notify those awarded a place in the pageant by the end of this year, so there is still time for you to apply, if you act now!
Boat owners can apply to take part in the flotilla through the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant website www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org
IWA's Promotions & Communications Committee has agreed to award a selection of merchandise to IWA skippers whose place in the pageant has been confirmed. To apply for your prize email a copy of your confirmation* with your full name, telephone and/or mobile numbers, address and membership number to IWA.QDJF@gmail.com
*this should be the notification you receive before the end of the year, not the initial registration acknowledgement email. Prizes will only be awarded to skippers who are IWA members and are at PromCom’s discretion. No cash alternative. Closing date: 27th April 2012. Any queries about this promotion to be directed to the above email address only.
Red Diesel – Update
IWA has had a response to its representations to Government about the suggestion that the European Commission is to pursue the UK for infringement of Directives in relation to the practice of using marked (red) fuel to operate private pleasure craft.
Justine Greening, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury has replied. We have had confirmation that the Commission is pursuing infringement proceedings. The UK Government continues to share IWA's view that the procedures operated in the UK comply with Directives and has responded to the Commission accordingly. If the Commission nevertheless continues with its stance we will work with the RYA and the British Marine Federation, as before, to assist Government in combating this threat.
The IWA's National AGM will be held at 2.00 pm on Saturday 24th September 2011 at Cookley Village Hall, Lea Lane, Cookley, Kidderminster. DY10 3RH
A meeting of branch, region and national officers will be held in the morning from about 10am.
Following the AGM there will be a presentation by the chairman on the year's business for those that want to find out more about IWA.
Please note: We are no longer taking bookings for lunch at the AGM.
Pete Redway Memorial Dig 8th - 9th October
Basingstoke Canal, Surrey
On the 8th and 9th of October, instead of the normal reunion weekend, WRG will be holding a memorial dig on the Basingstoke Canal, in memory of Pete Redway, the longstanding Surrey & Hants Canal Society chairman and working party organiser who died earlier this year. Plans are still being finalised for the weekend but work may include bollard installation; brickwork repairs; replacing of lock ladders; scrub bashing and general maintenance work. To find out more go to www.waterways.org.uk/wrg/canal_camps/bonfire_bash_2011
IWA is looking for an additional volunteer to help out at our Head Office in Chesham. Work hours are flexible and full training will be provided. For further information please email email@example.com.
Milton Keynes Branch Secretary - Includes liaising with the Branch chairman, issuing agendas, and taking and circulating minutes of committee meetings and AGMs. As the first point of contact for the Branch for many matters, the secretary is also responsible for circulating communications to Branch officers. Must be computer literate and have the use of email and word-processing software.
Milton Keynes Branch Education Officer - To co-ordinate and manage all aspects of our public outreach and education work, with a special emphasis on appealing to young people.
For a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches and regions please go to: www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies
Our Rivers Campaign Respond to EA List of Improved Rivers
Earlier in September, the Environment Agency released a list of the ten most improved rivers in England and Wales. The Our Rivers Campaign have responded with a list of ten rivers where they believe not enough is being done to tackle environmental pressures.
The list shows waterways in which salmon, trout, watervoles and other river wildlife are said to be under threat. The ten rivers chosen by the Our Rivers campaign are:
Further information is available at the Our Rivers Campaign website.
David Walliams completes 140 mile Swim of the Thames for Charity
Comedian David Walliams, has raised over £1m for Sports Relief by swimming the Thames from Lechdale, Gloucestershire to Westminster Bridge.
The swim highlighted some of the potential dangers of river swimming as there were strong currents, cold water, boat traffic and 'Thames tummy' caused by raw sewage to contend with as well as being attacked by swans, insects, and hit by rowing boat oars.
Waterways Archive united at National Waterways Museum
A collection of historical records relating to the canals is currently split between the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port and Gloucester Waterways Museum. The collection is to be brought together for the first time at the National Waterways Museum.
The Waterways Archive is made up of more than 40,000 pieces of material, including plans, drawings, accounts, photographs and audio-visual recordings.
The re-location process is due to take place later this year.
Grand Western Canal in BBC Countryfile's 2012 calendar
An image of a horse drawn barge taken on the Grand Western Canal has made it to the final of this year’s BBC Countryfile Photographic Competition. The photo will feature in the programme’s charity calendar for 2012, sold in aid of Children in Need.
The competition received over 55,000 entrants over 12 different classes and was judged by John Craven, Chris Packham and Janet Street-Porter.
There has been a public vote to decide on an overall winner from the top 12 entrants. To see the photo finalists and vote please go to www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t0bv
The result will be revealed on Countryfile on Sunday 9 October. Voting Lines closed on 18th September.
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
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.
24th September - IWA AGM
Details: IWA's National AGM will be held at 2.00 pm on Saturday 24th September 2011 at Cookley Village Hall, Lea Lane, Cookley, Kidderminster. DY10 3RH
More info: www.waterways.org.uk/agm/agm
Please see below for a list of canal restoration and clean-up events.
1st - 2nd October - Lichfield Canal (London WRG & WRG North West)
Details: New volunteers welcome to join in helping restore the Lichfield Canal at the Tamworth Road site.
7th - 9th October - Pete Redway Memorial Dig - Basingstoke Canal (WRG)
Details: Cost: £13. Work may include filling in holes in a lock; laying courses of brickwork; replacing the Lock ladders on several lock; scrub bashing and general maintenance work.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.waterways.org.uk/wrg/canal_camps/bonfire_bash_2011
To advertise your upcoming cleanup/restoration events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar http://www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/
24th September - River Gipping Walk (River Gipping Trust walk)
Details: To celebrate the publication of leaflets describing walks in the River Gipping Valley we are organising two guided walks. The first (this one) will start from Ipswich Railway Station and end at Needham Market Railway Station.
Contact: email@example.com or visit http://rivergippingtrust.org/WalkingTheRiver.aspx
2nd October - Cycle along the Grantham Canal (IWA Notts & Derbyshire Branch)
Details: In a new venture for the Branch, members David & Kerry White have offered to organise cycle rides of varying difficulty along some of our local waterways. The Inaugural ride takes place on the morning of Sunday 2nd October, starting at 9.30am from the car park of the Morrisons store at Gamston. The proposed route is a relatively gentle circular ride of about 2 hours duration, taking in sections of the towpath of the Grantham Canal. Participants may then optionally adjourn to the Goose public house for refreshment or lunch.
6th October - Walk around Chasewater Lake (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: Walk around Chasewater Lake. Meet at the Uxbridge Arms, 2 Church Street, Chasetown, WS7 3QL. 10.30 for 10.45 am start. Walk about 4 miles.
Contact: Mike Moorse on 07799 140068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To advertise your towpath walks in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar http://www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Gemma Bolton