Photo: Les Etheridge, IWA National Chairman, and Rory Stewart, Waterways Minister and MP for Penrith and the Border
Over fifty people including MPs, members of the House of Lords and waterway representatives were joined at the Houses of Parliament by the new Waterway Minister, Rory Stewart MP, on Tuesday 7th July at a reception organised by IWA. The event, which was the first meeting of a waterways group at Westminster in the new Parliament, followed on from IWA’s pre-election campaign that saw over forty MPs pledging their support to the Association’s Waterway Manifesto.
Among those present at the waterways reception was former waterway minister, Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury, who was a leading figure in the setting up of Canal & River Trust. Other MPs from across the House took time out of their busy schedules to drop in to the afternoon session, where IWA representatives outlined the five points of the Manifesto. About a third of the MPs who attended the event were newly elected, and so this was their first opportunity to learn about the work of IWA at a parliamentary level, and to discover more about the waterways in their constituencies.
All the MPs and peers who attended were encouraged to join the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways, which will now be reconvened for the new Parliament, as well as being invited to develop a close relationship with local waterway groups such as canal societies and IWA branches in their constituencies.
IWA’s National Chairman, Les Etheridge, said “We were pleased to see the enthusiasm for waterways issues from those attending and to have the opportunity to meet Rory Stewart MP so soon after his appointment as Waterways Minister. I’m also delighted that he has agreed to a further meeting with us to discuss these issues in more detail”.
Photo: A pawl stop fitted to the paddle gear at Planet Lock on the Caldon Canal in Stoke-on-Trent
Following on from IWA’s recent report on its concerns about CRT’s proposals to implement new paddle pawl designs, an incident was reported to the Association at the end of June that illustrates IWA’s unease at the introduction of a paddle pawl design that would prevent paddles being wound down using two hands.
Boaters who regularly visit the UK’s waterways from New Zealand were boating down Baddiley No3 Lock on the Llangollen canal. Two ladies were operating the difficult lock, needing two hands to move the paddles just one click at a time. The boater left his boat to assist them but suddenly noticed that the bow was hung up on the lock. He asked for the paddles to be dropped as quickly as possible, which proved very difficult as the ratchet on these locks cannot be thrown back but must be held back as the paddle is lowered. Those operating the lock struggled with this as they had insufficient strength in just one hand to lower the paddle. Fortunately, the boater had the foresight to open the upstream paddles whilst the other paddles were lowered, which put more water into the lock than was going out and avoided disaster. A less experienced boater may have been less fortunate.
The boater readily admitted that they should not have had the boat so far forward but also highlighted that if the paddles had been easy to operate he would not have left the boat to help and those operating the lock would have seen the boat was hung rather than putting all their energy into moving the paddles. Furthermore, if the ratchet lock had been like most that can be lifted clear the paddles could have been lowered with two hands more quickly.
This incident illustrates IWA’s concerns about CRT’s proposals and emphasises not just the benefit of having ratchets that can be flipped back rather than having to be held up but also the importance of having locks that are easy to operate as even experienced boaters can find themselves in tricky situations.
Photo: Marple Aqueduct offside
CRT has announced that it intends to install a fence along the offside of Marple Aqueduct following its consultation on the issue but contrary to IWA’s suggestions.
The majority of responses to the consultation, including IWA’s, expressed concerns over the proposals. IWA disagreed with the installation of a fence, believing that it could give the impression that it was ok to access the offside making it more dangerous. Instead, IWA suggested that if additional safety measures were necessary, alternatives such as better signage and/or alteration of the offside surface, so that it looks more like an out of bounds area, should be utilised. Despite this CRT believes that the safety risks are too great to decide against installation of a fence, citing reported incidents and anecdotal reports of near misses at Marple Aqueduct in recent years. In addition, CRT has argued that its investment in the aqueduct will attract more visitors to the area, which will increase the risk of a fatal fall occurring.
IWA hopes that CRT will therefore address its and others concerns around the design of the fence, which should be as sympathetic as possible to the Grade I Listed aqueduct. In addition, the positioning and material of the fence should be chosen carefully so as not to endager boaters or the view from the aqueduct, more details on IWA’s suggestions can be found in its full consultation response. IWA also urges CRT to ensure that the proposal and installation of fences does not become the default response to safety issues on its aqueducts.
Download and read IWA’s full response to the consultation (PDF, 221KB).
Download and read CRT’s consultation report (PDF, 1.3MB).
Download and read CRT’s response to the consultation results (PDF, 103KB).
On Saturday 19th September, IWA's WRG is organising a sponsored walk along the Droitwich Canals and Ring to help raise funds for its Van Appeal. It wants everyone, WRGies, IWA members, friends, family and members of the public to get involved!
As well as helping raise money for the Van Appeal, joining the walk is a great opportunity to see the Droitwich Canals that have been fully restored, particularly for those who were involved in the restoration of the Hanbury Flight and the Droitwich Barge Lock.
How to get involved:
For more details or to book your place, visit the sponsored walk web pages.
In June 2016, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch, in conjunction with the Eldonian Village Trust and the Liverpool City Council, plans to hold a Festival to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. It might seem early to be announcing arrangements but for those considering coming by boat it is essential to book in early as numbers are restricted and it is expected that places will be fully booked before Christmas.
The Festival will take place on 11th and 12th June at Eldonian Village in Liverpool. Boats can arrive via the Leeds & Liverpool Canal from the 8th June. If boaters have been at the Merseyside River Festival the previous weekend, they can move up from the Dock complex to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Festival site during that week but must make sure they book their Liverpool Link passage. Information about the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Festival, including booking forms, are now available at IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch’s web pages.
Photo: Lifting of Brown's swing bridge
Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC) has been in discussion with Derbyshire County Council for some months on investigating problems with Brown’s Swing Bridge at High Peak Junction on the Cromford Canal. Towards the end of May the bridge became very difficult to swing and use of the bridge had to be restricted, which limited navigation.
Fortunately, volunteers led by John Baylis, Chairman of the FCC and a Director of IWA’s WRG, were able to fix the problem on 5th June. The bridge was lifted by a contractor so that WRG East Midlands and Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (ECP&DA) could remove the cast iron balls in the bridge bearing, which were then replaced with a similar uniform set from an old Nottingham Canal bridge. Volunteers then added around 200kg of cast iron to the counterweight of the bridge so that it now swings without catching on the stonework.
Ware Common Wharf visitor mooring on the River Lee has been brought back into use through the concerted efforts of IWA Lee & Stort Branch, Ware Town Council and CRT. Located on Common Wharf close to the town centre, the site had been used for unauthorised mooring for a number of years. The Council has now taken control of the site and thanks to fundraising from IWA Lee & Stort branch, a new visitor mooring sign is to be installed.
Many organisations and charities offer free funding opportunities in the form of grants which can be applied for by going through their specific application process.
To view the list of all the grants currently on the website please visit Available Grants.This month the following grants have been added to the website and are open to applications:
Photo: (clockwise from top-left) 2016 IWA calendar cover - Grantham Canal (photo by Adam Morris); and IWA Christmas cards new for 2015 - Working boat on Grand Union (painting by Alan Firth); The Packet House, Worsley (painting by Dave Gardham); Hungerford Church, Kennet & Avon Canal (photo by Gillie Rhodes); Berkhamsted Lock, on the Grand Union Canal (painting by Alan Firth); Tuel Lane Tunnel, Rochdale Canal (photo by Darren Fleming)
IWA’s Christmas cards and 2016 calendar are now available to order online at IWA Shop or by phone at 01494 783 453.
New Christmas cards (pictured above) for this year are:
The winning photos from IWA’s 2014/15 Calendar Competition that appear in the 2016 calendar can be viewed on the competition web pages.
View and order 2016 IWA calendars.
View and order from IWA’s selection of Christmas cards.
Photo: Winter morning on the Peak Forest Canal (photo by Victor Gibbons)
CRT has announced its winter mooring plans for 2015/16. The Trust has said it hopes to offer winter moorings at a selection of visitor moorings and towpath sites across the country that will be available between the start of November and the end of February; a draft list of the proposed winter mooring sites can be found at CRT’s website. Bookings for the winter moorings will open on 1st October 2015, and can be made through CRT’s boat licensing site. Boaters should register on the site before 1st October.
More information, including how the moorings will be priced and how long boaters can book moorings for, is available at CRT’s website.
Photo: Reception at Eastnor Castle
The 225th anniversary of the formation of the original Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Company was celebrated on 2nd July, when Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust's 225 Anniversary Campaign was also launched.
Over 180 guests were invited to Eastnor Castle, the family home of James, Vice President of the Trust, and Lucy Hervey-Bathurst, for the celebrations, which were co-hosted by the pair alongside Dame Janet Trotter DBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and Christopher James OBE DL, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire.
The Trust is working to restore the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal, but faces the major challenge of acquiring the land needed to rebuild the Canal, which was sold long ago to over 100 landowners. The 225 Anniversary Campaign seeks to raise the funds needed to meet this challenge, in the form of donations and loans.
The numbers of boats using the Regent’s Canal has grown significantly and certain stretches have become very congested with limited opportunities for visitors to find short stay moorings. This has been exacerbated by the major works underway in the various Kings Cross sites, which has led to the suspension of towpath moorings until 2016.
In response to its Central London Visitor Moorings consultation held in spring 2014 and two stakeholder workshops to discuss improved management of the central Regent’s Canal in December 2014 and February 2015, CRT has proposed to introduce a trial visitor mooring at Kings Cross to attempt to tackle this mooring shortage.
The proposals will cover the stretch from York Way to Caledonian Road, with the aim of providing fairer access to the mooring and keeping the navigation clear by managing uncontrolled breasting up of boats. This will be a trial while CRT works with the Kings Cross Estate to develop longer term plans for short-term towpath moorings and long-term offside moorings between St Pancras Lock and York Way for when mooring suspensions are lifted in 2016.
CRT has said that full proposals will be published shortly, for implementation this summer.
A new project, run by The Wheelyboat Trust and CRT, has been launched to provide disabled and mobility impaired people with the opportunity to enjoy trips on the Shropshire Union Canal. The Overwater Wheelyboat Project will be based at the Overwater Marina at Audlem in Cheshire, which has donated a mooring berth for the Project’s boat Maughan Lass. The boat is a specially designed 5.5m aluminium craft with a drop-down bow door and level open deck that provides complete access throughout for people in wheelchairs and with walking frames and sticks.
A new angling club, Little Britain Anglers, has been formed on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal, to whom CRT has granted the fishing rights for the Canal, with the exception of a section already being looked after by Bolton & District Angling Association. The group now plans to hold the first angling competition for over thirty years on this section of Canal.
Full details of the angling competition are still to be announced, but anyone interested in taking part or joining the Little Britain Anglers can contact them via its Facebook page.
This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group. 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 the group has been undertaking.
IWA West Country Branch have removed Himalayan Balsam from the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal as part of monthly work parties since May but on 4th July had a dedicated work party to really tackle the plant. Plenty was pulled up to help improve the waterway environment and to date volunteers have covered over a mile of the canal.
Photo: Volunteers and collected rubbish at IWA Northampton work party
IWA Northampton Branch volunteers have been as busy as ever on the Northampton Arm clocking up almost 500 volunteer hours since the start of March, and it’s paying off as the group has started to get positive feedback on the Arm in both it’s navigation condition and appearance.
During March, volunteers painted the garage at Lock 1 and did a considerable amount of litter picking especially around Bridge 9b to Lock 15, where the litter was so bad the Branch had to hold two extra work parties to deal with it. In April, the mileposts were painted and the Sanitation Station area at Gayton received a lot of TLC ready for the Arm celebration at the start of May. In May, efforts were concentrated on vegetation work around Lock 17, which is now looking very good and there are plans to mow it every four weeks to keep it in control.
June was very busy and volunteers painted Lock 15, cut back vegetation at the by-pass channel and litter picked from Lock 17 to Bridge 14 (finding twelve trollies along the way). The Branch also hosted a party from Santander, who not only helped paint locks 16 and 17 but also donated £250. Five more volunteers also completed training on feedback, brush cutter and mower operation with CRT.
All of this was possible thanks to the volunteers; Miriam Linforth, Wayne Moore and Stephen Morgan from CRT; and the party from Santander.
Photo: Himalayan Balsam work party on the Caldon Canal at Consall
By mid-July over half of IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s ten Himalayan Balsam work parties had taken place at Bridge 70 on the disused Uttoxeter Canal and several locations on the Caldon Canal. Where volunteers were returning to sites visited in previous years, they were encouraged to note the reduced growth of the plant that enabled them to progress into new areas in an attempt to contain the growth of Himalayan Balsam along the canals in the Churnet Valley.
Highlights included a summer evening’s work party between Froghall and Cherry Eye bridge and twenty-three volunteers working on the stretch between Consall Station and Flint Mill Lock, in partnership with the Churnet Valley Railway and with assistance from the Personnel and Payroll Department of Michelin, who are based in Stoke on Trent. On this occasion volunteers worked on both sides of the canal as well as from an aluminium work boat provided by CRT.
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:
East Midlands Region - Aegre - July 2015
West Riding Branch - Mile Post - June 2015
Chelmsford Branch - Chelmsford Branch Newsletter - July 2015
Great Ouse Branch - Ouse News - Summer 2015
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:
Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch - Worcester Bar - Summer 2015
North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch - Knobsticks - Summer 2015
Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch - Shroppie Fly Paper - Summer 2015
Major IWA events in 2015
29th - 31st August 2015 - Festival of Water, Northampton
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.
16th July Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
18th July Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
18th July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
22nd July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
22nd July Himalayan Balsam Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
24th July Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
25th July Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
26th July Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
28th July Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
29th July Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
1st August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
1st August Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
5th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
9th August Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
11th August Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
12th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
12th August Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
13th August Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
15th August Work Party - Greater Manchester (IWA Manchester Branch)
19th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th August Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd August Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
25th August Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (supported by IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th August Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th August Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
29th August Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar
19th July Waterside Walk - The New River (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
2nd August Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
16th August Waterside Walk - The Olympics, Three Mills, and Bow Back Rivers (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
Read Bulletin in an alternative newsletter format:
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