Photo: Goring on Thames (courtesy of Graham and Marilyn Speechley)
GMB, the union for Environment Agency (EA) staff, has announced that it has discovered that EA plans to cut 90 resident lock and weir keeper posts from the river Thames. This follows the announcement from EA last year that it has planned staff cuts of 1700 positions for 2014.
GMB claims that the report will recommend the revival of previously rejected plans for a substantial reduction in the number of lock and weir keepers on the Thames and a freeze on further recruitment to these posts. EA originally claimed that the freezing of these positions would save £47,000 per residential post. Such a saving would free-up funds to use in essential maintenance across EA waterways. GMB has argued that EA can provide no evidence that such savings would result from the freezing of residential posts.
It is clear that EA would benefit from savings of this size. However, the removal of residential keepers would have a detrimental affect, reducing the service level at locks on the Thames; a pattern that is likely to take hold across all waterways services provided by EA as it continues to have to deal with large budget cuts. This highlights the importance of IWA’s continuing campaign to have EA’s navigation duties transferred to Canal & River Trust and the damage that EA waterways will potentially suffer as a result of delaying this move. Waterways owned, managed and operated by the government are not safe as the essential funds needed to properly maintain the waterways and provide an adequate service to users are not being made available to EA.
An additional concern of GMB’s, following the recent flooding, is that reductions in front line staff of this scale would have the potential to escalate the risk of flooding. EA has given assurances that this would not be the case as there are now over 200 members of staff on stand-by to respond to any incidents on the Thames. The Thames is not liable to flash flooding; instead, water levels increase over time after prolonged periods of rain. Any flood risk from the Thames comes with plenty of warning because of this slow increase and because water levels are continuously monitored remotely. This allows EA stand-by staff to respond to any risk of flooding in the necessary timescale.
EA has stated that its 2014/15 budget is yet to be confirmed but that it is likely to cut staff numbers from 11,250 at the end of March 2014 to around 9,700 by the end of October 2014. Staff numbers should then remain stable until March 2015.
For more information on Trade Union GMB’s views of these cuts, visit the GMB website.
Photo: Chesterfield Canal (courtesy of Tim Lewis)
The High Speed Rail (HS2) Phase 2 consultation on the initial preferred route for Phase 2 from Birmingham to Manchester, and Birmingham to Leeds, closes on 31st January 2014.
IWA has been working with canal societies, CRT and others in identifying waterway issues with Phase 2, to put together a single ‘waterways’ response which will be published shortly, but individuals are also urged to respond.
One of the areas that will be most impacted, is along the proposed route of the Chesterfield Canal restoration. IWA and the Chesterfield Canal Trust (CCT) would like to encourage individuals to respond to the consultation, and appeal for an alternative route that does not impact on the restoration of the canal.
The proposed rail route lies directly on top of the restoration route of the Chesterfield Canal for 800 metres at Renishaw and for 1200 metres, in a cutting, at Killamarsh. In addition, the links to the proposed HS2 Infrastructure Maintenance Depot at Staveley would cut through the canal’s route at three further points.
IWA has supported the work of CCT in its response and appealed for the continuity of the Chesterfield Canal in this section to be assured. Additionally, Chesterfield Canal Partnership and Derbyshire County Council have submitted their own detailed engineering information and alternatives and Chesterfield Canal Trust has put in a formal statement of objection to the HS2 route where it interferes with the canal’s restoration.
Chesterfield Canal Trust has produced a short video that provides an overview of progress to date. The video explains why the restoration should not be allowed to fail, and why IWA, CRT, Derbyshire County Council, local councils and many others are working hard to bring HS2 to the table to work out a better way forward. The video can be viewed on Vimeo (last around seven minutes).
The other Phase 2 major issue is where the Leeds Spur viaduct impinges on the Aire & Calder Navigation at various locations around Woodlesford Lock where the the navigation and the track bed would be too close. The south bank of the navigation above Woodlesford Lock is used for boat moorings, and significant visual and noise impact would be caused by the route. IWA is campaigning to maintain air and water clearances, navigation width, as well as the towpath and connecting footpaths.
It is important that individuals also respond to support the objections by IWA, CCT and other waterway groups.
You can register your views online, by emailing HS2PhaseTwoRoute@Ipsos.com, or by sending a letter to Freepost RTEL-YAZX-HAZT, Phase Two Route Consultation, PO Box 1152, HARROW, HA1 9LH.
For more information on HS2, visit IWA's website.
Photo: Cycling on the Grand Union Canal
IWA has issued new advice on towpath cycling in response to the increase in demand for new or continuing use of canal and river towpaths as cycle routes.
IWA acknowledges the wider benefits of encouraging the population to cycle for recreational and transport purposes. A variety of users cycle on the towpath as commuters, with friends and family or in following the long established practice of cycling as the boaters’ choice of transportation. The benefits of cycling on towpaths in particular include:
Additionally, IWA welcomes the benefits of funding that can be available to navigation authorities for improving towpaths for cycling; funding that would not be available for general towpath improvements. Such improvements benefit all users and not just cyclists, but should be carefully monitored so as not to have adverse side effects such as increased cycling speeds.
Despite these benefits there is a need to positively manage cycling on the towpaths. Individuals often cycle on the towpath as an alternative to using the road, believing the towpath to be the safer option. Whilst in some instances this is the case, there are many hazards on the towpath that cyclists are often not, but should be, aware of.
Included in the cycling advice issued by IWA is a cycling code to help make cyclists more aware of the potential hazards along a towpath. IWA’s Cycling Code aims to promote good practice amongst cyclists on the towpath and to raise awareness and improve the safety of both cyclists and other towpath users. Key points of IWA’s Cycling Code include:
The full IWA Cycling Code can be viewed in the IWA Briefing Note – Cycling on Towpaths.
IWA supports cycling on towpaths when properly managed. However, not all towpaths or sections of towpath are suitable for cycling on as they may be too narrow, have restricted views ahead, have surfaces that are susceptible to deterioration or feature a large number of hazards. Neither should towpaths be used for cycling competitions. However, there is no reason why individuals, families and small groups should not enjoy a leisurely commute or recreational bike ride along a suitable towpath as long as they are considerate in their use of the resource.
Additional advice for cyclists can be found on IWA's website.
More detailed guidance can be found in IWA’s Policy on Towpaths.
Photo: John Fevyer, for IWA, receives the award from National Boat Show Chairman, Peter Gordon (Copyright onEdition 2014©)
IWA has received a special award from the organisers for its loyal attendance at the London Boat Show. IWA was a founder exhibitor when the event was first launched 60 years ago, and has not missed a year since.
The show is an opportunity for IWA to promote the use, maintenance and restoration of Britain's inland waterways as well as the Association's specific campaigns. Although the Boat Show is primarily aimed at the offshore sea-going boater, it was once the only national show of its kind, and has enabled IWA to encourage thousands of newcomers to canal and inland rivers over the years, and well as being a recruitment source for hundreds of IWA members. IWA's stand has long been an important attraction for the show - providing the principal focus for information on inland boating. The stand is organised and run by a dedicated team of IWA volunteers, mostly from the London area, who build the stand in the days running up to the show, man it throughout the time the show is open, and then dismantle everything afterwards. In past years, this has frequently meant overcoming blizzard weather conditions to get there! This enables the stand to produce a surplus for the Association each year.
The London Boat Show, which always takes place in January, features a wide range of boats, inside the venue as well as a display of tall boats and other vessels in the Royal Victoria Dock immediately outside the exhibition centre. ExCeL also hosts a dedicated marina and a naval ship (either a destroyer or frigate).
The first London Boat Show was held at Olympia in 1954, before the event moved to the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in 1957 following growth in attendance. The event then moved to ExCeL in 2004 and included a Watersports Action Pool, which showcased smaller craft such as dinghies, kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards.
IWA launched its annual calendar competition at the end of last year and over 350 brilliant photos have been entered so far all of which can be viewed in the calendar competition group on Flickr.
The competition closes on 31st January 2014 so there's still time to get involved. You can submit your phtotgraphs by:
Entrants may submit up to twenty photos of UK waterways. Please include a brief description of the waterway location when uploading your photos. Take a look at the IWA Phtography Tips Blog for ideas of how to take the best shots.
The winning entrants will receive three free copies of the IWA 2015 calendar in which their photo will feature.
Find out more about the calendar competition.
Next month IWA will be launching its Monthly Desktop Calendar Competition, details will feature in the February Bulletin.
Boat spaces are quickly filling up for the 2014 Canalway Cavalcade, those who are interested in booking a place are advised to do so as soon as possible. Boat entry forms can be downloaded from IWA's Website or contact Mark Saxon on 07867 488161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canalway Cavalcade is a major event in this year's national canal calendar. Organised by IWA annually since 1983, it now always takes place over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend (3rd to 5th May) at Little Venice in Paddington. It combines a boaters’ gathering with a trade show and a wide range of activities, attractions and delicious food stalls.
The event is open to the public from 10am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday and 10am to 5pm on Monday. There is also a procession of illuminated boats at 9:00 pm on the Sunday evening.
For more information visit IWA's Website.
Photo: Fazeley Junction, Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (courtesy of Angela Acott)
Throughout 2014, Canal & River Trust’s (CRT) Chief Executive, Richard Parry, plans to host a series of open meetings for boaters and other waterway users across the country. The meetings will offer a chance for people to informally air views on any local or national issues and open up channels of communication for any future consultations.
The first meetings will take place on:
Richard Parry plans to host these open meetings regularly, seeking to hold them in each waterway area over the year. Boaters with home moorings in the local area, and continuous cruisers who have been sighted nearby, are to be contacted by CRT with email invitations. Anyone else who is interested is welcome to attend and the meeting details will be available on CRT's website. If you would like to attend, please email Fran Read.
Photo: Moorings at Bridgwater Docks
CRT is to carry out a series of measures to raise awareness of the demands of living afloat without a home mooring. The Trust is concerned that those who are new to this way of living may not be aware of or fully understand the requirements for navigation as a continuous cruiser without a home mooring. CRT is concerned that many may believe it is sufficient to move around within a small area and will be shocked when they find that they are in breach of the rules and the subject of an enforcement process.
CRT is working to raise awareness of these constraints amongst home-seekers and boat sales advertisers, as well as aiming to provide clearer information to those who live afloat. From January 2014, CRT plans to contact everyone who registers as a new continuous cruiser to ensure they fully understand the navigation requirements. Following this, the newly registered will be contacted after three months if CRT is concerned by limited movement of the boat. A reminder will be sent along with an invitation to contact the local enforcement officer to discuss the cruising pattern. If the cruiser cannot meet the movement requirements, they will have to secure a home mooring before they can renew their licence.
Photo: Wappenshall Wharf (courtesy of Richard Knisely-Marpole)
Plans to restore the canal warehouses at Wappenshall in north Telford are to be part funded by a grant of almost £1million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
A first round grant of £72,000 has been awarded to Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust to fund the development of the plans for the project. The Trust plans to restore the canal-side warehouses and wharf at the junction of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals, Wappenshall, to create “Thomas Telford’s Wappenshall Wharf”.
The utilisation of the first grant to develop good plans will support a second round application for a further £909,900, to be used with other grants to complete the work at a total cost of £1.453 million.
The project aims to carry out conservation work to restore the warehouses, which will include a Thomas Telford Information Centre, a cafe and a space for community use, business meetings and other events. An educational programme is also planned that will involve students from local schools and colleges.
Trust volunteers and members of the public will be able get involved both during and after the renovation. The renovation, which is planned to start in the Autumn of 2014 and will be completed within two years, will create many jobs during the restoration and some permanent employment once open.
After three months work, the long since derelict arm at Nelson’s Wharf on the Grand Union Canal at Stockton in Warwickshire, is once again navigable. This is the first stage of a private restoration with further stages planned for later this year and early 2015.
Nelson’s Wharf is the new home for Willow Wren Training and the arm is just part of the challenge to reinvigorate the canal-side area. The site used to be a cement works using the canal and a fleet of Nelsons narrowboats to bring in coal and take out cement and lime products.
In addition to the arm, Willow Wren Training is building a new training centre, planned for completion by March 2014.
Further information on the progress at the site can be seen at the Willow Wren Training website.
Photo: Gardham Lock, Pocklington Canal (courtesy of John Ellis)
A project to protect important wildlife habitats and repair the 200 year-old Church Bridge on the Pocklington Canal has been awarded an HLF grant of £47,100. The money will help the project team, CRT in partnership with the East and North Yorkshire Waterways Partnership, East Riding Council, the Pocklington Canal Amenity Society and Natural England, to develop plans to support an application for a full grant of almost £500,000.
The Pocklington Canal, which runs between Canal Head, near Pocklington, to the River Derwent in East Cottingwith, is an important canal environmentally and historically. Almost the entire length runs through sites of scientific interest and all nine locks and four bridges are Grade II listed.
Following the recent exceptional rainfall on the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal there has been movement of the embankment at Llanfoist. CRT has taken the precautionary measure to close the canal between bridges 93 and 97. The canal will remain closed in this area whilst further engineering investigations take place.
For up to date information please contact CRT on 0303 040 4040.
In October, a culvert beneath the Rochdale Canal between locks 6 and 7 failed leading to the closure of the navigation between these locks to allow repairs to be carried out. Work has re-commenced following the Christmas break with the installation of temporary dams and pumps to create a dry working environment and removal of the temporary repair to uncover the failed section of culvert.
A permanent concrete repair will be carried out to the culvert and then new puddle clay will be laid over the top to ensure a watertight seal.
The contractors will then remove the temporary dams and pumps, refill the canal, reinstate the towpath, site compound area and rebuild the boundary wall.
Currently the work is expected to be completed and the canal re-opened by 24th January, however this is dependent on good weather and working conditions.
IWA is saddened to report that David Henderson, General Manager of the Canal Museum in Stoke Bruerne, died suddenly on 11th January following a heart attack. David was 57 and had been with the museum since 2006.
CRT is to launch the 2014 Living Waterways Awards (previously the Waterway Renaissance Awards) on 7th February, to recognise waterway-based projects across the UK.
Led by an independent panel of experts drawn from the voluntary, environmental, heritage, engineering and architecture sectors, the Living Waterways Awards will celebrate the work completed by individuals, communities and organisations to improve waterways.
There are nine categories which will be open for entries until 3rd April, winners will be announced in September 2014.
For more information visit CRT's website.
The Directive 2013/53/EU on recreational craft and personal watercraft was published in the EU Official Journal on 28th December 2013. The directive can be viewed at the EUR-Lex website.
The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust has many old Waterways World magazines dating from the early 1970s in its archives, which the The Trust wishes to pass on. For further information contact email@example.com.
From 6th April to 4th May 2014, Audlem Mill in Cheshire is to host an Exhibition of Canal Paintings. The 2014 Canal Art Exhibition, organised in conjunction with the Guild of Waterway Artists, will include paintings, and some photographs, by many of the best canal artists in the country.
The exhibition attracts many visitors from across the country to the canalside village of Audlem, to enjoy both the artwork and the other features of the village. Other events that may be of interest to boaters includes the historic Narrowboat gathering from 26th-27th July, organised by Audlem Mill.
Visit Audlem Mill's website for further details.
Photo: Blisworth Canal Festival
Blisworth Canal Partnership has confirmed that the 2014 Blisworth Canal Festival will take place over the weekend of the 9th-10th August. This festival, completely organised and run by volunteers including villagers and local community groups, attracted over 25,000 visitors last year and promises to be just as successful in 2014.
On and around the canal there will be trade and work boats, the opportunity to take a boat trip to Gayton Junction and back and a bar, food, live music and stalls on the Wharf. In addition to these attractions on the waterfront, there will be vintage caravans, a children’s fairground, WWII re-enactors and much more in the Festival Field, located adjacent to the canal, and events taking place at six other locations around the village.
Parking, mooring and entry are free (not including Open Gardens). For more information contact Blisworth Canal Partnership.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its canal camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work they have been undertaking.
WRG's main Canal Camp programme ends in October but this does not mean that its volunteers go into hibernation for the winter. From 26th December – 1st January a team of thirty volunteers from around England spent a week working on two sites in the Cotswolds. The first site was at Weymoor Bridge on the Thames & Severn (T&S) Canal carrying out enabling works for the Cotswold Canals Trust’s bridge re-building project. After rising water levels on the River Thames curtailed works at the second site, Inglesham Lock, volunteers productively cleared vegetation at an alternative site on the adjacent North Wilts Canal where it meets the T&S at Latton Basin.
Weymoor Bridge originally provided an access to the historic Latton Basin trans-shipment site between the Thames & Severn and North Wilts Canals. Volunteers constructed a temporary hardstanding for the site compound, assisted with the installation of a water main diversion, carried out excavation work around the remains of the bridge, and went on to expose more of the original brickwork and coping stones. It is hoped that considerable progress with rebuilding work will be made in 2014 by the Cotswold Canals Trust together with assistance from WRG volunteers. Other volunteers spent the week exposing the canal bed near the Basin and successfully cleared around 350 metres of vegetation and hand winched out numerous tree stumps.
Despite some inclement weather it was a successful week and a lot of progress was made at both sites. The New Year was seen in with a fantastic four course meal prepared by the canal camp cooks and celebrated in the appropriate WRG style.
Photo: Volunteers hedge planting on the Caldon Canal
Volunteers from IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust met at Basford Bridge on the Caldon Canal for a hedge planting work party on Thursday 9th January. After loading up wheelbarrows with spades, stakes, protective sleeves and a variety of hedge plants, the volunteers walked down the towpath to Woods Lock, where they then started working back towards Cheddleton filling in the gaps in the existing hedge. Some gaps just required two or three plants, but some of the longer gaps took twenty or thirty plants. Such good progress was made that a return trip to base for further plants, stakes and protective sleeves was required. Over 300 trees were planted in total.
During 11th and 12th January over a dozen volunteers from WRG's Regional Group, London WRG spent two days helping the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust carry out restoration work at Meretown Lock.
The main task for the weekend involved removing infill from Meretown Lock on the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals. The lock had been completely filled in, and volunteers removed around 3ft of topsoil from the entire length of the chamber, using an excavator and two dumpers. The volunteers then transported the materials 90 metres to build a dam at the far end of the length of canal, above the lock, that is going to be restored and re-watered. As well as lots of soil and some rubble, the chamber excavation job produced an interesting assortment of old iron – parts of the paddle gear including a rack and a distinctive Shropshire Union type jackhead, both of the top stop-plank grooves, and parts of the gate reinforcing ironwork – plus many reusable coping stones.
The second task of the weekend consisted of digging a 100 metre long trench (by hand and with an excavator) to install a water supply pipe that will be used with a pump, which is currently keeping the length of the canal between Meretown Lock and Newport town centre in water, to re-water the new length of canal.
Volunteers also removed vegetation and trees that were encroaching on the towpath and the offside canal bank. Click here to see photos from the weekend.
Martin Ludgate, London WRG’s site leader for the weekend, said "It’s quite a distance for us to travel up from London, but it is well worth it to help a canal restoration that’s starting to make some real progress!”.
WRG volunteers will be returning in the summer for a weeklong canal camp from 16th-23rd August to continue clearing the chamber and start working on the section above the lock that is going to be re-watered. Visit WRG's website to find out more.
Over the weekend of 11th-12th January members of WRG’s specialist Forestry Team continued their work on the Wey and Arun Canal. Twelve volunteers, with support from the Wey and Arun Canal Trust, spent two days working between Brewhurst Lock and Baldwin’s Knob Lock carrying out selective tree removal and tree pollarding. Their work was aided by the purchase of a new pole saw funded by WRG donations and with a team working from a boat they cleared a good amount of vegetation that was obstructing navigation, for the Trust’s mid week team to burn.
WRG Forestry is able to carry out work from a single tree removal to major scrub and tree clearance, for canal restoration projects throughout England and Wales. The Team has a firm belief in safe working practices; all chainsaw operators within the team have undergone training and gained LANTRA & NPTC qualifications.
The next weekend dig is planned for February (13th-16th), working near Ryeford Double Lock on the Cotswold Canals.
For more details about WRG Forestry click here.
Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
Major IWA events in 2014
Branch Boating Events in 2014
2nd - 5th May 2014 - Braunston Boat Gathering (IWA Northampton Branch)
4th - 6th July 2014 - Ware Boat Festival (IWA Lee & Stort Branch)
6th - 7th September 2014 - Maesbury Canal Festival (IWA Shrewsbury, District & North Wales Branch)
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.
21st January Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
25th January Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
1st February Work Party - Dee Branch, Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
1st - 2nd February Work Party Weekend - Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (IWA Chelmsford Branch and Essex WRG)
2nd February Work Party - Hatton Locks (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
3rd February Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th February Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
8th - 9th February Work Party Weekend - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
9th February Stoke-on-Trent Canal Clean-up (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
12th February Work Party - Kidderminster (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
14th February Work Party at St Augustine's Field, Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
15th February Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
18th February Work Party - Malkins Bank (IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
20th February Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd February Work Party - Hyde (IWA Manchester Branch)
22nd February Work Party at Leathermill Lane, Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
23rd February Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
23rd January Waterway Walk (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
2nd February London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
16th February Walk - Napton Bridge (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
16th February London Towpath Walk (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar
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 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 Narrow Boat magazine subscription
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
IWA's Mid-January 2014 Bulletin newsletter is available to read in an alternative format.
Read online (via Issuu)