European Union Amendment Threatens UK Boating
What was looking like an innocuous directive to harmonise standards between boat designers in the EU and to standardise and simplify safety arrangements has developed into a potentially huge issue for boaters throughout the EU but particularly in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
An amendment by a Dutch MEP at the tenth draft stage has introduced a request that a further directive be developed because:
"There is no harmonisation or level playing field with regard to water craft licences or technical checks, and tax evasion can still take place through the use of agricultural diesel. Therefore the Commission should consider submitting proposals to harmonise water craft licences at Union level, to encourage regular technical checks and to prevent tax evasion by discouraging the use of agricultural diesel."
This amendment if unchallenged would have major implications for all UK boaters as it introduces the idea of compulsory driving-type licences for boaters, the potential for more and wide ranging compulsory checks on boats and yet again threatens the supply of red diesel which could lead to problems maintaining waterside fuel supplies in extreme cases. All of this could limit access to boating, prevent current boaters going boating or using their boat and add to the general cost of boating.
The internal market coordination committee Rapporteur is, perhaps ironically, a UK MEP Malcolm Harbour (Cons) West Midlands.
IWA is arranging high level contact with both the Rapporteur and also UK Government on this matter to raise our concerns and see if we can avoid this matter proceeding any further.
The danger, if ignored, is that it will fall in to the bureaucratic process of the EU and end up as a draft Directive by which time it will be too late to do anything about it.
IWA campaigns team is asking all concerned waterways supporters to lend their weight to the campaign.
Please write to your own MEP and as a ‘constituent‘ let them know of your concern and ask that your MEP in turn write to the Rapporteur and take the issue up with him.
You can find out who your MEP is here www.writetothem.com/?a=mep and write directly to them.
Supporters will notice that the link may list several MEPs – in which case please feel free to write to all of them as all of them represent your constituency.
If you wish to use a template for the basis of your letter please feel free to use or adapt this form of words.
Dear ( insert your MEP’s name ),
Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on recreational craft and personal watercraft
(COM(2011)0456 – C7-0212/2011 – 2011/0197(COD))
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
I am writing to you as a concerned constituent and as a supporter of the Inland Waterways Association. We are a campaign charity and the leading representative for Inland Waterway users in the UK.
I am aware that there is a new version of this draft , I am very concerned to learn that at this late stage an MEP has made the addition of:
Recital 26a ( new)
‘There is no harmonisation or level playing field with regard to watercraft licences or technical checks, and tax evasion can still take place through the use of agricultural diesel. Therefore the Commission should 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.’
I believe that this has absolutely nothing to do with laying down essential safety requirements that manufacturers need to consider and follow, and would cause potentially limitless and unnecessary administrative and cost problems for the millions of yachtsmen and boaters in the UK and on the continent, as well as being to the detriment of the very successful UK leisure and hire boat industry .
Can you help me understand how and why these additions have been made and what if anything you as my MEP can do to help remove this clause?
Getting Around the Trent & Mersey Canal Breach
The two recent breaches on the Trent & Mersey Canal, north of Middlewich, left many boats stranded and unable to return to their home moorings before the winter set in. However, IWA's Chester & District Branch committee member, Mike Carter, has come to the rescue. With his extensive knowledge of navigating the Manchester Ship Canal as well as leading recent cruises across the Mersey, Mike formulated an 'escape plan', leading convoys down the Anderton Lift, and onto the river Weaver towards the Manchester Ship Canal. Following surveys to ensure seaworthiness, the boats then breasted up and were escorted down the Ship Canal towards Ellesmere Port.
This cruise is not for the faint hearted as some significant shipping still uses the Ship Canal, which can cause waves and drag on smaller craft trying to keep out of the way. However, the first 'escapees' landed safely at the National Waterways Museum on 17th October. Two more flotillas are taking craft from Anderton to Ellesmere Port and another will be taking craft in the reverse direction. A great example of mutual co-operation between IWA, Canal & River Trust and the Manchester Ship Canal Company - and utilising the specialist knowledge of a keen IWA volunteer.
See more photos of the convoy
Grand Union Canal Clean-up Milton Keynes to South of Leighton Buzzard
IWA's Milton Keynes Branch, working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and sponsored by the Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd completed their second annual canal clean-up over the weekend 20th-21st October. This clean-up went south for over 10 miles of the Grand Union Canal from Fenny Stratford, Milton Keynes to Grove Lock south of Leighton Buzzard.
This clean-up removed nearly 10 tons of rubbish from the canal and adjacent towpath and banks. Among the huge variety of items dredged from the canal were a drum with 200 metres of fibre optic cable, a generator, lawnmower, dishwasher, 3 motorbikes, a television, a sewing machine, 2 wheelbarrows and the usual cull of shopping trolleys (17 this time). Some 20 black plastic sacks worth of litter were retrieved from the towpath and offside banks.
IWA members’ boats towed the 70-foot hopper and a 40-foot pan (workboats supplied by CRT) into which the rubbish was placed. The dredged rubbish was obtained by operating eight strong grapple hooks from the hopper and more by other volunteers from the bank. CRT supplied a crewed dredger to follow the dredging and give very necessary assistance in retrieving the heaviest items.
IWA MK Branch members and other volunteers engaged in the operation working on the hopper and pan, from their boats grappling and litter picking contributed 314 volunteer person hours over the weekend. Two CRT volunteer leaders as well as the dredger crew were additional to this effort.
IWA's Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch Assists at Stourbridge
Members from IWA's Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch have been helping out the Stourbridge Navigation Trust with preparations for their recent open weekend, which saw 10,000 people visit Stourbridge over the weekend of 20th and 21st October to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Stourbridge and an IWA National Rally in 1962.
The weekend before the event, volunteers from both organisations, as well as boat owners and local residents, helped prepare the site in readiness for the anniversary weekend. Litter picking, grass mowing and vegetation clearance was carried out for about a mile along the towpath. Several local people were encountered as they walked or cycled past, as this route is quite popular and useful, and all were pleased to see the work being carried out.
The car parking area, which was going to be used the following weekend for stands, displays and other activities, was also tidied up, including creating more level surface for gazebos by clearing a build up of soil. Ground was cleared, branches were cut, and hedges were trimmed.
The anniversary weekend itself was a great success, with an estimated 10,000 visitors attending to join in the celebrations. There was much reminiscing about the famous Battle of Stourbridge, which saw protestors claim their right of navigation to hold a rally in Stourbridge in 1962. The outcome is widely regarded to have forced a change in government policy which led to the survival and restoration of Britain's canal network.
There were about 100 boats at the event, and on the Saturday over 50 vehicles were on display including traction engines, fairground organs, vintage and classic cars. There was also a craft fair and displays from local canal societies.
The evening entertainment, sponsored by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch, was 3 sessions from the “Boaty Folk” group. The highlight was a specially composed song celebrating the 50th anniversary composed by Phil Clayton (a member of the band and of IWA), making it a memorable evening for the almost 100 people attending.
Chris Dyche, chairman of Stourbridge Navigation Trust, said: "The weekend was extremely successful. It brings home the contribution people made, not only in 1962, but also in 1967 with the 16 locks restoration in Wordsley.”
Photo: Some of the 100 or so boats at the Stourbridge 50 Celebration, by David Struckett
IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch Work Party
The third work party on the Cheshire Lock flight of the Trent and Mersey Canal took place on Saturday 20th October. It was a lovely autumnal day, cool and clear when volunteers met at Lock 53 near Rode Heath, but soon the sun warmed the air and it turned into a lovely day. Excellent progress was made continuing the work started at this lock on the previous work party. The lock gate painting was completed together with mooring bollards and most of the significant amount of railing was given an undercoat and top coat.
Several of the team continued vegetation clearance and weeding edges, paths and steps. A small amount of finishing off remains for the next work party on Tuesday 20th November, before moving on to Bridge 140 and Lock 52.
Volunteers can turn up just for the morning or the afternoon, or come for the whole day and bring a packed lunch. All tools will be provided – you just need to wear old clothes and stout shoes and bring waterproofs in case of rain. Future tasks will include vegetation clearance from walls and bridges, removing weeds and grass from cobble setts and painting handrails, balance beams and bollards. These work parties are organised by IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch, in partnership with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and the Canal & River Trust.
IWA's Milton Keynes Branch Works with Dobbies Garden Centre to Improve Fenny Stratford Lock
Dobbies Garden Centre are generously sponsoring plants for three beds and three hanging baskets for the Pump House at Fenny Stratford Lock which has been adopted by IWA's Milton Keynes Branch in agreement with Canal & River Trust. The initial plants for the garden were delivered and planted up on Monday 15th October. Stewart McCullough, Dobbies Plant Supervisor, with Alana McDonald delivered and supervised the planting by IWA's Milton Keynes Branch project team. These plants are a splendid contribution to the upgrading of the appearance of the whole lock area being undertaken by the branch. Considerable tidying of the area and repainting of the lock and adjacent features has been achieved already in three work party days.
The maintenance of the lock area by IWA's Milton Keynes Branch covers all but the lock and bridge mechanics and safety footing on the lock gate arms. The branch project group works in close liaison with Miriam Tedder, volunteer leader for Canal & River Trust. Miriam is an active participant in the work being undertaken and supplier of equipment and materials needed. Travis Perkins, Fenny Stratford is kindly acting as sponsor for supplementary materials.
The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last (mid-September edition of the Bulletin:
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
The following IWA region and branch magazines have also been added in recent weeks:
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
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
CRT Licence Fees: 2013 and Beyond
Trustees of Canal & River Trust have decided to limit boat licence fee increases, for three years from 2014, to inflation only. Their decision was made at the same time as endorsing the third and final year of British Waterways’ planned licence prices which will see licence fees rise from 1st April 2013 by 4.6% (2% above inflation).
Max Sinclair, a founder of the Droitwich Canals Trust, has won the English Heritage Angel Award for the Best Rescue of a Historic Industrial Building or Site. The award celebrates his drive, commitment and vision that made the restoration of the Droitwich Canals possible.
English Heritages panel of judges sifted through more than 200 applications from all over the country, looking for passion, perseverance and imagination as well as the scale of the challenge and how well it had been tackled. They came up with the following outstanding projects, one for each of the Angel award categories:
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges, chaired by Andrew Lloyd-Webber. They were Melvyn Bragg, Bettany Hughes, Charles Moore of the Daily Telegraph, the Bishop of London, the Right Revd Richard Chartres, and Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage.
Each of the winners received their award at a gala ceremony at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End on the 22nd October.
The ceremony, was hosted by TV presenter Clare Balding, with Graham Norton, Philip Mould, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, Melvyn Bragg and Charles Moore presenting the awards.
IWA would like to thank all those who voted for Max Sinclair.
Ashby Canal Restoration
At a very well attended public Open Day on 14th October, the chairman of Leicestershire County Council formally opened a further 40-metre length of the restored Ashby Canal north of Snarestone. At the event, Ashby Canal Association presented a cheque for £50,000 towards the restoration costs - the result of tireless fund-raising efforts over the last few years.
Work parties (including a WRG weekend in December) will continue through the coming winter months to clear the line of the canal ready for further restoration work which is expected to commence in 2013.
Aylesbury Canal Society Relocation
The Aylesbury Canal Society will be relocating in 2013 to its new home at Circus Field, alongside the canal at Broughton on the outskirts of the town. The way is now clear for the society to proceed and work is expected to start soon on the construction of a new basin with up to 40 moorings and a new clubhouse, complete with dry and wet docks for boat maintenance.
The society, formed in 1971 to encourage use of the canal and prevent closure, have occupied the present canal basin off Walton Street for the past 40 years. It has been largely responsible for the continued use and growth of the Aylesbury Arm which connects to the Grand Union Canal at Marsworth. Countless boats have visited the town over the years and should continue to do so. The society’s move to Circus field will enable the final stages of the Aylesbury Vale District Council Waterside development to proceed.
The Society intends to offer up to 2 weeks free secure moorings for visiting boats at Circus Field.
More information can be found on the Aylesbury Canal Society's Website
The latest Port of London Authority byelaws came into force in June. Byelaw 49 is of special interest in that, at long last, sewage discharge into the Tidal Thames from boats will be banned from 2015. This is to meet the requirements of EC legislation.
101 - The Police Non-Emergency Number
Canal & River Trust has urged waterway users to report any anti-social behaviour on the canals to the police. The aim is to make them aware of the size of a particular problem (e.g. motor bike riding on the towpath) so that they will take preventive action.
101 is the number to call when you want to contact your local police - when it’s less urgent than a 999 call. 101 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Calls to 101 are answered by police officers and staff in the control room of the local police force. This ensures that staff with local knowledge can answer and deal with the calls and respond appropriately.
You should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response.
For example, you should call 101:
You should continue to call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.
You should continue to call your local authority for things like:
For more information please see the Police website
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 NarrowBoat subscription
New Wey & Arun Canal Quiz Provides Half-Term Fun
Finding something different for the kids to do during the half-term break has just been made easier with the launch of the new Wey & Arun Canal children’s quiz sheets.
There are two versions of the quiz – one for the younger members of the family and another for older children – and both have been designed to make a boat trip or walk alongside the canal more interesting. The quizzes aim to make learning about the canal and its surroundings - engaging and fun for both children and parents.
The free quiz sheets will be available from the Canal Centre beside the Onslow Arms at Loxwood, West Sussex, RH14 0RD (off the B2133), between 12 and 4pm on Wednesday 31st October and Friday 2nd November, as well as between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 3rd November and Sunday 4th November. Free car parking. For more information see www.weyandarun.co.uk. Telephone 01403 752403 (office) or 01403 753999 (Canal Centre)
WRG Reunion Weekend 2012 - 10th to 11th November
(accommodaton available from Friday evening)
Location: Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal
The annual get-together for 100+ volunteers, hopefully bringing together first-timers from this year's Canal Camps, old hands and regulars from all parts of WRG and other regional volunteer groups for a major scrub bashing and big party on the Saturday evening.
This year WRG is holding the weekend on the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal following a successful Easter Camp which saw 275 metres of new canal created by WRGies in just two weeks - see photos here. The plan for the weekend is to clear around a mile of canal, thick with trees and vegetation in preparation for excavation and towpath work in 2013. There will also be work for WRG Forestry and the possibility of some machine work.
For more information and to book please see WRG's pages on the website
Cruise on the Basingstoke
Byfleet Boat Club is organising a cruise in partnership with Surrey & Hants Canal Society and IWA's Guildford & Reading Branch to encourage use of the Basingstoke Canal. The 'cruise in company' is intended to challenge local perceptions of the Canal being underused - or even unused, and to support local efforts to re-vitalise the waterway.
The route itinerary is planned as follows:
|27th December||Woodham Junction to Bridge Barn (and an evening in the pub).|
|28th December||Bridge Barn to Sheets Heath Bridge|
|29th December||Sheets Heath Bridge to Bridge Barn (another evening in the pub)|
|30th December||Bridge Barn to Woodham Junction|
This will trip will use the Woodham, St Johns and Brookwood flights of locks.
Any boats that wish to participate will need to fill in and return a licence application form to Sequoia, 8 Sheets Heath Lane, Brookwood, Woking, GU24 0EH
For more information please contact Kathryn Dodington Kathryn.Dodington@gmail.com - tel: 07768 770070
Santa’s Sleigh to Cruise the Wey & Arun Canal
Santa is pleased to announce that he has found some space in his diary in the run up to his busy Christmas period this year so that he can cruise the Wey & Arun Canal for some special boat trips starting from the Canal Centre by the Onslow Arms in Loxwood, West Sussex, RH14 0RD
Boys and girls hoping to meet Santa in person will have their chance on the trip to tell him what they’d like for Christmas as well as receive an early gift from him.
The trip also includes refreshments, with mulled wine and mince pies for the adults and special Christmas biscuits and soft drinks for children.
The Santa Cruises will depart from Loxwood at 11am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm on Sunday 9th, Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th, Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd December. Tickets, costing £9 per person, should be booked in advance at the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s office on 01403 752403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bookings are also being taken for the public trips on Boxing Day (at 11.00am, 12noon, 2pm and 3pm) and New Year’s Day (at 12noon, 1pm and 2pm), tickets which cost £5.00 for adults and £2.50 for children.
|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.
3rd-4th November - Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
Details: Work Party weekend at Brindley Bank, Rugeley. Installation of 20 mooring rings and signage to establish countryside visitor moorings on the Trent & Mersey Canal between Brindley Bank Aqueduct and the A51. Work being done: digging the holes, fixing and concreting in the rings with brick paving, installing signs. 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on Saturday. 10 am to 1.00 pm on Sunday to finish off and also clear the footpath between the road and steps. All help appreciated, even for only a few hours. If you plan to attend on the Saturday, please let Margaret know, as we intend to provide sandwiches at lunchtime. All necessary equipment to be provided by the Canal & River Trust.
8th November - Caldon Canal (IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch)
Details: Meet at Froghall Wharf for some vegetation clearance tasks. 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.
15th November Lapworth - Stratford Canal (IWA 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.
17th November Lapworth - Stratford Canal (IWA 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.
17th - 18th November Kings Norton (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
Details: IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch and the Worcester, Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society are having a work party weekend on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal around Kings 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.
17th - 18th November Somersetshire Coal Canal (WRG BITM & IWA Warwickshire Branch)
Details: Scrub bashing and stump pulling at Combe Hay Locks.
20th November Cheshire Locks Work Party (IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch)
Details: Monthly work party organised by IWA 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.
24th November Rochdale Canal (IWA 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.
To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar http://www.waterways.org.uk/iwa_calendar/
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