IWA Bulletin November 2014

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Waterway Recovery Group Launches New Building Bridges Project

Volunteer carrying out repairs to Bridge 178, Grand Union CanalPhoto: Volunteer carrying out repairs to Bridge 178, Grand Union Canal

IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has launched the new Building Bridges Project.

The Building Bridges Project is a joint initiative by WRG and Canal & River Trust, which aims to enable volunteers to carry out minor, and some more major, repairs to canal bridges in desperate need of restoration, giving local people and communities the chance to come together and look after a structure on a section of canal or waterway.

WRG is encouraging local organisations such as community groups or residents' associations to undertake more technical restoration work along their local waterways. It is hoped WRG’s new leaflet ‘Building Bridges – A guide for volunteers carrying out restoration work on waterway bridges’ will help volunteer groups through the process, ensuring the work is well planned and that everyone has a safe and fun experience.

Richard Parry, chief executive of Canal & River Trust says "Our partnership with WRG makes a positive impact on both navigable waterways and those still under restoration. Since the launch of the Trust we have been developing new ways of working together, and have placed the role of volunteers at the centre of our approach. This document is a superb planning tool that will help both our own teams and the wider waterways community when working on more complex and ambitious projects."

Volunteers can do many things to help preserve or restore a waterways bridge. In October 2014, local residents from Black Jack's Lock Residents Association were the first to take part in the Building Bridges Project, spending four days repointing Bridge 178 on the Grand Union Canal near Harefield. Volunteers also gave the lock gates and lock furniture a new coat of paint. Residents will return later in the year to repaint the bridge and restore it to its former glory. Photos of the project can be viewed on WRG's website.

Miles Hendley, chairman of the Residents Association said "Our residents’ association and its members are initiating a number of projects to enhance the Black Jack’s & Copper Mill Conservation Area for the benefit of the local community and many canal users. On reading about the restoration of Lady Capel’s Bridge on the Grand Union Canal by WRG volunteers, we joined forces with them and the CRT to renovate our bridge and lock. We are especially grateful for their technical and financial support without which this project could not have come to fruition. Working with the WRG and CRT has been a highly enjoyable and rewarding experience. I very much hope that the example of our combined efforts will prompt others to do the same."

Find out more about the Building Bridges Project and how to get involved at WRG's website or contact WRG's Volunteers Coordinator, Jenny Black on 01494 783 453 ext 604 or at jenny.black@waterways.org.uk.

IWA News

Sir David Higgins HS2 Report ‘Rebalancing Britain’

Following the release of Sir David Higgin's latest report on HS2, Rebalancing Britain, on 27th October, Gren Messham has prepared a summary of its contents.

On 27th October Sir David Higgins, accompanied by various national and local politicians, produced his report updating his first review of HS2, HS2 Plus, released in March 2014. This latest report is entitled Rebalancing Britain - From HS2 towards a national transport strategy.

In this report, David Higgins talks about continuing the work begun in HS2 Plus to better make the case for HS2 as a national asset and a holistic part of a national transport strategy delivering benefit across the whole country. He gives seven viewpoints across the whole project, with varying waterway impacts:

  1. The broad proposal for a Y-shaped route remains correct and necessary to deliver the economic benefit.
  2. The hub stations proposed in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire are broadly in the correct places for the region and existing transport networks. However, the East Midlands hub site is to be reconsidered, looking at sites to the west of Toton with better links to the M1 and Midland Main Line railway. This could change the impact on the Erewash Canal. At the present time, the South Yorkshire Hub is to remain at Meadowhall, whilst recognising that Sheffield is preparing a report on the benefits of a city centre station.
  3. The northwest hub should be at Crewe, and be built six years earlier than planned (as first suggested in ‘HS2 Plus’). The suggested HS2 service to Stoke on Trent is not recommended, although Stoke on Trent, Stockport and Macclesfield could be served by running ‘compatible’ trains on a mix of high speed and normal track (via Handsacre) to improve their services. The route to Manchester should still allow for a station at the airport, although the proposed route northwards that would rejoin the West Coast Main Line and the building of a maintenance depot at Golbourne needs to be reconsidered as to the best location. This may reduce the potential impact on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal from the junction itself.
  4. The terminus station at Leeds will need to be designed to meet the needs of HS2, existing rail routes particularly east- west, access to Bradford and Leeds City’s redevelopment plans. It also should be considered alongside the planned remodelling of Leeds City station. This work could affect the route into the city (currently via Woodlesford, with its impact on the Aire and Calder Navigation) and the waterways in the city near the station (River Aire and Leeds & Liverpool Canal).
  5. Major improvements to east-west rail connectivity in the north are feasible, and necessary. Work needs to continue to ensure the provision of HS2 is exploited fully, alongside other transport improvements. This may have impacts on waterways.
  6. The ‘One North’ group of local authorities reported in August on a programme of proposals to improve transport across the north, to deliver increased prosperity and exploit the arrival of HS2. Currently in addition to the poor rail network, the motorway system is increasingly congested. 'Rebalancing Britain' recommends that "the Government and local authorities build on the work of the One North report by….turning its analysis into a practical plan for the future".  It also recommended the formation of a "Transport for the North" body of local authorities and others to formalise this cooperation, and the early appointment of a Programme Director to drive the process. Again, this extensive infrastructure programme could impact waterways across the region.
  7. HS2 Ltd should use the ‘space’ between Phase 1 and Phase 2 to investigate new designs and techniques to build the second and subsequent phases more quickly and at lower cost.

The report was supported by a document entitled Transport Constraints and Opportunities in the North of England prepared by Stear Davies Gleave, a global transport consultancy claiming to "… plan, design, advise and provide technical expertise to help deliver better transport solutions to everyone, everywhere". This reviewed transport in the north across all modes, to provide a factual basis for the gaps in productivity and economic opportunity that could be reduced by integrated improvements to remove the constraints in all areas.

The report was not intended to be a response to IWA and others’ comments on the preferred route for HS2 Phase 2, which is likely to emerge next year. However, it does give us some information on less likely proposals, as well as presenting the potential for a significant programme of rail and road infrastructure developments around HS2 and the corridor from Liverpool to Hull. We will need to keep an eye on these, whilst waiting for more information on the possible impacts inherent in the east and west HS2 Phase 2 routes. The report is a fairly chunky read, and that from Stear Davies Gleave even more so, however there is further information in there for those that need it.

Download and read Rebalancing Britain - From HS2 towards a national transport strategy (PDF, 3.5MB)

Download and read Transport Constraints and Opportunities in the North of England (PDF, 2.9MB)

Get Your Boots On and Help Raise Funds for WRG

WRG vansPhoto: WRG vans

On Sunday 22nd February 2015, walkers will be given the opportunity to take to the towpaths of the Stratford-upon-Avon and Grand Union canals as part of a sponsored walk to raise funds for IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG).

IWA Warwickshire Branch is supporting a nationally-organised eight-mile sponsored walk to raise funds for WRG towards the purchase two new minibuses in summer 2015, each of which is likely to cost in excess of £25,000.

WRG’s small fleet of minibuses and small goods vehicles are a vital part of its operation as they are used to transport tools, equipment and volunteers to waterway restoration sites across the country. Some of the fleet are now showing signs of ageing having provided good service over the years and the WRG Board has decided that replacements are needed. IWA plans to launch an appeal at the beginning of 2015 with the sponsored walk the first activity planned to raise funds for the vans.

The eight-mile circular walk, starting at Lapworth Village Hall, will take participants along idyllic stretches of the Stratford-upon-Avon and Grand Union canals, as well as through country lanes and fields. En-route, walkers will pass country pubs, ideal for lunch, before arriving back at the village hall for tea, something to eat and a well-deserved rest. It promises to be a great day out and will help raise funds to enable WRG to continue its important work.

Places are £5 per person and under 16s go free, after which it is over to you to raise sponsorship. More information is available at IWA’s website and each registered participant will receive a welcome pack with all the details.

To register for the sponsored walk visit IWA’s website or contact Toby Gomm on 01494 783453 ext. 611 or at toby.gomm@waterways.org.uk. Please note that under 18s must be supervised by a responsible adult.

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown

2016 marks the 300th anniversary of famous landscape designer Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, of whom it was said “He courted the aristocracy, charmed the King, and drained the last drop of sweat from many a hard-working navvy.” In doing so, he changed the face of eighteenth century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and making flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, a magical world of green.

Heritage Lottery Fund and an influential partnership have plans to give Capability Brown due recognition and spread the understanding and enjoyment of his genius to a much wider audience, both nationally and internationally, to mark this 300th Anniversary. More information is available at the Capability Brown 300 (CB300) website.

The national CB300 committee supports the idea of waterway links to Capability Brown sites and CB300 activities and the search is now on for people to find Capability Brown sites near navigable rivers and canals. If you would like to contribute to this project by finding sites close to waterways in your locality, or in places that you know, please contact Jim Shead at js@jim-shead.com.

About People

Sonia Rolt

Sonia Rolt at Tom Rolt Centre opening, Ellesmere Port,  Dec 1984 (photo Waterways World)Photo: Sonia Rolt at Tom Rolt Centre opening, Ellesmere Port,  Dec 1984 (photo by Waterways World)

IWA is saddened to report the death of Sonia Rolt OBE, a key waterways and IWA figure, who passed away on Wednesday 22nd October.

Sonia, who was an IWA Vice-President, played an important role on the waterways and in IWA throughout her life. Her love of waterways began during the Second World War. When war broke out, she was one of the many women who found themselves wiring military aircraft before later answering an advertisement for canal workers to replace those who had left to fight. Sonia had never seen a canal before she joined the girls working the waterways as a trainee boatwoman, commonly known as the Idle Women, but she was soon to develop a life-long passion.

Once the war ended, Sonia married working boatman George Smith and together they worked a pair of boats, Cairo and Warwick. During the 1940s, Sonia was politically active on behalf of the boating community as she campaigned for better conditions. Sonia met IWA co-founder Tom Rolt in 1945 and was one the Association’s early supporters following its formation in 1946, as well as an active campaigner  for the future of the waterways network. In 1951 Sonia left George Smith to marry Tom Rolt and the pair continued to be actively involved in IWA and the waterways for years to come. This included Sonia’s work writing many introductions to her second husband’s books as well as publishing her own book, A Canal People, the Photographs of Robert Langden in 1997.

Sonia’s tireless efforts to improve the inland waterways have been recognised by many. In 1986, she accepted honorary membership of IWA and in 1993 she became Vice-President of the Association. More recently, Sonia’s achievements have been recognised firstly in the 2011 New Year Honours, when she was appointed an OBE for her work in Industrial Archaeology and Heritage, and then in Canal & River Trust’s 2014 Living Waterways Awards, where she received the Outstanding Achievement Award.

Sonia's funeral is to be held at the church in Stanley Pontlarge, near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire on Thursday 13th November. The church is very small so the family has asked that only those who receive invitations from the Rolt brothers attend the burial service. There is likely to be a memorial service held in London at a later date for the many others who will wish to pay their respects, the date for which is yet to be confirmed.

Read more about Sonia in The Guardian.

Sonia Rolt at the opening of IWA Head OfficePhoto: Sonia Rolt at the opening of IWA's current Head Office Building in Chesham in May 2009.

Other News

River & Canal Rescue Offices Destroyed by Neighbouring Warehouse Fire

On the evening of Thursday 30th October, a fireworks warehouse on the Baswich Industrial Estate in Stafford caught fire. The fire took three hours to bring under control and sadly cost two people their lives.

Waterways business, River & Canal Rescue (RCR) is also based on the Baswich Industrial Estate, and were badly affected by the incident as the fire spread to its unit. Managing Director, Stephanie Horton reported that RCR employees escaped the building but that all stock and documents have been destroyed. Despite this, she assured the public that call-outs would continue to be answered, but boat owners in need of assistance would need to contact RCR on 01785 785680 as its emergency lines are currently out of operation.

CRT Continues Dredging Programme

Wightwick winding hole being dredged (photo by Paul Fox)Photo: Wightwick winding hole being dredged (photo by Paul Fox)

In October, CRT continued its programme of dredging, with a focus on the Rugby Arm of the Oxford Canal and the Wightwick area of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.

The 325m long Rugby Arm had 660m3 of silt removed in what was the first dredging of the waterway in living memory. The silt was used to raise the freeboard level on a 600m length of the Rugby embankment. Whilst the dredging plant was in the area, the dis-used arm at Falls Bridge, Newbold was also dredged. Although only 100m long and a dead-end, CRT deemed its dredging necessary as there is a control weir near the end that had become obstructed by dense reed growth. The total cost of the project was £110,000.

On the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal it was a land drain that comes into the Canal between the two locks at Wightwick that had caused problems. Water exiting the land drain into the Canal had caused a large scour that boats were getting stuck on. To solve the problem CRT postponed planned dredging and arranged for Land & Water to clear out the scour, the overfull silt trap on the offside and the tail of the upper Wightwick Lock where there were also problems. Whilst in the area, the team also dredged the winding hole. What can be a costly task of disposing of the silt was managed effectively, with the silt used to backfill bank protection on the offside.

CRT is planning a £1m dredging programme along the whole length of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire  Canal for 2015/16 and seeks comments from users about where they think dredging is needed. Comments should go to project manager, Paul Fox, at paul.fox@canalrivertrust.org.uk.

Historic Burnley Canal Wharf Secures National Lottery Funding

Finsley Gate Wharf (photo by CRT)Photo: Finsley Gate Wharf (photo by CRT)

An historic, disused canal wharf in Burnley’s Weavers Triangle conservation area is to be restored by CRT, thanks to £2 million of earmarked funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Finsley Gate Wharf, known locally as Mile Wharf, is one of the oldest wharves on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and includes three listed warehouses, a listed canal cottage, outbuilding, former blacksmith forge and boat slipway, dating from between 1700 and 1830.

HLF’s initial development funding award of £262,500, supplemented by £26,800 from CRT, will enable emergency repair work to be carried out to stabilise the buildings from further deterioration. The grant will also allow CRT to commission a building restoration schedule, business plan and an activity plan to develop educational and volunteering opportunities at the site. This information will be submitted to HLF for assessment to secure the full grant of £2 million.

Part of the Weavers Triangle conservation area, this funding will revitalise Mile Wharf through the creation of new local enterprises including a boat repair yard, restaurant, rental cottage and moorings.

This grant has been awarded through HLF’s Heritage Enterprise programme which has been designed to specifically help when the cost of restoring an historic building is so high that without additional financial intervention putting it back into use would not be commercially viable.

Lichfield Canal Restoration Safeguarded from HS2

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (L&HCRT) has concluded an agreement with HS2 Ltd to safeguard the restoration of the Lichfield Canal at Huddlesford  under the plans contained in the Hybrid Bill for construction of HS2.

HS2’s original plans, as detailed in the bill, provided for a crossing on an embankment, which would have allowed retention of the newly reconstructed Cappers Lane Bridge and canal route, with other impacts on the restoration, which L&HCRT has been in detailed discussions with HS2 Ltd on. The Promoter, the Secretary of State for Transport, has now given specific assurances on these. However, the modifications to the route around Lichfield recently announced, which also included the IWA Alternative around Fradley, have changed the impact of the route at Huddlesford.

The original route of the Lichfield Canal under Cappers Lane will be lost, as HS2 will cross at the present water level. L&HCRT engineers have devised a deviation that will instead enable a new channel to cross under HS2 and then reconnect with the original Canal line above Lock 30. HS2 Ltd has assured L&HCRT that this new section of canal will be designed into the HS2 construction programme and will be funded by HS2 Ltd.

L&HCRT is very pleased that its long-term project to restore the seven miles of the Lichfield Canal should no longer be under threat from HS2. Through collaboration with HS2 Ltd a satisfactory outcome for all parties involved has been reached and L&HCRT has withdrawn its petition against the Hybrid Bill.

Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd Celebrates £500,000 Grant Win

Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd has won a Biffa Award Flagship grant of £500,000.

The project to create The Portal, a brand new welcome building and visitor centre is set to receive £500,000 over two years from Biffa Award; a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK. The project was funded under Biffa Award’s ‘Cultural Facilities’ category and will contribute to funding the welcome building and development of an interpretation space.

The Portal building will create a facility for visitors, in keeping with the labyrinth of canal tunnels and magnificent limestone caverns within Castle Hill; a unique gem of the Black Country that is hidden underground and only accessible by boat. The site is of regional, national and international significance for its geology and highlights the industrial history of the canals.  An enhanced educational programme will be introduced, to include new opportunities for volunteers and to open up the attraction to wider audiences, including people who may not traditionally visit a heritage site.

The Biffa Award Flagship Scheme supports unique and exciting, regional projects in either the Rebuilding Biodiversity or Cultural Facilities categories. Biffa Award received more than forty applications for Flagship projects, but The Portal captured the Board’s imagination with its professional approach to project management.

Montgomery Canal Towpath Improvements

In October, work started on a £260,000 project to improve the towpath along the Montgomery Canal. The aim is to make it more attractive to walkers, cyclists, joggers, anglers and canoeists.

Over £1million has already been invested in transforming a 14 mile section of the towpath between Newtown and Welshpool.

The latest mile-long section to be improved is between Four Crosses and Carreghofa, just south of the town of Llanymynech, near the Welsh-English border. The work will replace the existing well-trodden grass towpath with a surfaced path and provide several new canoe access points; it is expected to be completed by Christmas.

This is the seventh section of towpath to be upgraded and is being carried out by Gland┼Ár Cymru - Canal & River Trust in Wales, in partnership with Powys County Council and with funding from the Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund for 2013/14.

Due to the restricted width of the towpath, temporary closures will be needed on the footpath to complete the work. 

Historic Nantwich Aqueduct Gets £200,000 Renovation

Nantwich Aqueduct Group: From left to right, front row Cllr Penny Butterill, Cllr Arthur Moran, Cllr Christine Farrall (Mayor of Nantwich), Cllr Peter Groves Cheshire East Council. Back Row Lee Bradley Principle Engineer CRT, Jeff Stubbs Chairman of the Nantwich Partnership, Mike Houlston Chairman of Acton Edleston and Henhull Parish Council, Marc Evans Project Manager CRT. Photo: Nantwich Aqueduct Group: From left to right, front row Cllr Penny Butterill, Cllr Arthur Moran, Cllr Christine Farrall (Mayor of Nantwich), Cllr Peter Groves Cheshire East Council. Back Row Lee Bradley Principle Engineer CRT, Jeff Stubbs Chairman of the Nantwich Partnership, Mike Houlston Chairman of Acton Edleston and Henhull Parish Council, Marc Evans Project Manager CRT.

Nantwich Aqueduct, one of Cheshire’s scheduled monuments, is to be conserved in a £200,000 project.

Known as the ‘Gateway to Nantwich’, the aqueduct is an iconic grade II* structure, designed by Thomas Telford in 1826, which today carries the Shropshire Union Canalover the A534 Nantwich to Chester road.
The project is being funded by donations to CRT by members of the public (£130,000), Cheshire East Council (£40,000), Nantwich Town Council (£20,000), Acton, Edleston & Henhull Parish Council (£3,000) and the Nantwich Partnership (£2,000).
The aqueduct, at the end of Welsh Row, comprises a cast iron trough, supported on six arches. It was constructed during Telford’s lifetime and is recorded in the great engineer’s biography “The Life of Thomas Telford”. Although still structurally sound, the aqueduct is in need of significant renovation to maintain its condition. Work will include preparation, four coats of paint, replacement of a missing cast Iron panel and important masonry repairs and is expected to start in spring 2015. Nantwich Aqueduct has a sister aqueduct that crosses the A5 in Staffordshire, which has also been identified for investment in the future years. 

Montgomery Canal Restoration Faces Further Delays

Further restoration of the Montgomery Canal could face months of delays as Natural England (NE) has advised CRT that it will reject the Trust’s application for a licence to relocate newts in the area.

Shropshire Union Canal Society volunteers with the support of CRT have already restored a large stretch of the Canal and have now secured grant funding to restore the next 50m stretch beyond Pryce’s Bridge.

Before work can start, a licence has to be obtained to relocate newts from the Canal section. CRT has waited several months for a decision from NE who has finally advised that it is intending to reject the application for the licence.

CRT have been asked to provide more compensation habitat and to revisit the application to provide more information on the proposals, including details of planned newt compensation measures for future restoration work.

It has taken NE over 130 days to process the application; its stated target for determining a licence application is 30 days. CRT has criticised this delay and believes it is not the only applicant to be affected this year.

CRT Project Aims to Promote Therapeutic Benefits of Canals and Waterways

Brightwork Project Officer Andy Wild on the Leeds Liverpool CanalPhoto: Brightwork Project Officer Andy Wild on the Leeds Liverpool Canal (photo by CRT)

A project has been set up by CRT in East Lancashire to reach out to people who have yet to discover the benefits of the region’s canal system.

The Brightwork Project is funded by the BIG Lottery Fund – Reaching Communities programme and seeks to connect as many people as possible to the varied opportunities along the canal and river network in their local area.

The project is aimed at:

  • Volunteers, who want to help maintain the canal network, relax and reconnect with the environment.
  • Volunteers seeking a training opportunity which may improve their job prospects.
  • People in recovery from mental illness, substance misuse issues or struggling to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life and who are seeking the restorative benefits of outdoor spaces.

The aim of the Brightwork Project is reach out to those who have yet to discover the benefits of living close to a waterway. The project will work closely with local residents and community groups to develop volunteering and training opportunities that will look to enrich lives and increase individual job prospects, whilst improving the environmental amenity of the canal corridor through the Blackburn, Hyndburn, Burnley and Pendle districts. Part of the project will forge partnerships with local health and well-being services to demonstrate the benefits of outdoor spaces and activities, broadly known as ecotherapy, in aiding individual recovery.

A steering group of representatives of local organisations is currently being set up and will drive the project forward.

CRT Partnership Chairs Appointed to North Wales & Borders and South Wales & Severn

CRT has appointed Brenda Harvey as chair of its North Wales & Borders Waterways Partnership and David Hagg as chair of its South Wales & Severn Waterways Partnership. Each has been appointed for a three-year term starting on 14th November.

As Partnership chairs, each will lead a group of local experts to help deliver the regional plans for CRT and champion the interests of local waterways. The unpaid roles include guiding decisions about spending, helping to develop local engagement plans, supporting external funding bids for waterway projects and representing their region’s waterways on the Trust’s national Council.
Brenda Harvey has a background in partnership working. A town planner by training, she has spent a career working in local authorities, including as chief executive of Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough Council. For the past five years, she has run her own consultancy business with a focus on inter-agency and partnership working. She is a former trustee of The Waterways Trust and has served on CRT’s Museums & Attractions Partnership.
David Hagg has substantial experience of partnership working and public service, having been chief executive of Stroud District Council since 2001 and, prior to that, assistant chief executive at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council in Greater Manchester. He also joins with experience of both the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow and Cotswold canals.

Quagga Mussel Discovered for First Time in UK 

An invasive mussel, the quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis), has been discovered in the south east. It is the first time the invasive non-native species has been recorded in the UK.
The discovery was made by Environment Agency teams carrying out routine water quality testing on the river Wraysbury. It has subsequently been found in the nearby Wraysbury Reservoir too.
The identification was confirmed by Dr David Aldridge of Cambridge University on 1st October.
Since the mussel was identified the Environment Agency has been working with partners including Thames Water, Angling Trust and local angling clubs, to put biosecurity measures in place. Work is now taking place to monitor the Thames and reservoirs in the local area to investigate the extent of the problem and the distance that the quagga mussel has spread.
Anglers and boaters can play an important part and everyone is urged to help stop the spread of this species by following the ‘check, clean, dry’ approach and thoroughly cleaning any equipment.
The quagga mussel is a prolific breeder, a fully mature female mussel is capable of producing up to one million eggs per year. Due to its ability to filter out large quantities of nutrients and to breed quickly, the quagga mussel can significantly reduce native populations and affect freshwater ecosystems. It can outcompete native mussels. This alters the ecology of the habitats it invades. It can also block water pipes and smother boats’ hulls.
Like the zebra mussel and killer shrimp this species comes from the Ponto-Caspian region, an area around the Black and Caspian seas in south-east Europe. They tend to be about the size of a human thumbnail but can grow to around 4cm. The larvae of quagga mussel are not visible to the naked eye, which makes drying a critical step in applying good biosecurity. There is good evidence that rinsing or soaking equipment in hot water increases the chance of killing larvae and adults, and is a suggested addition to the Check, Clean, Dry approach.

EA has asked that any sightings of the quagga mussel be reported through the online recording form.

IWA & WRG Work Party Reports

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 the group has been undertaking.

Report on Congleton Work Parties This Autumn

Volunteers at the IWA work party on the Macclesfield Canal at CongletonPhoto: Volunteers at the IWA work party on the Macclesfield Canal at Congleton

After a short summer break, volunteers with IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch returned on Friday 26th September to Congleton Station and the Macclesfield Canal to continue their monthly work parties. Ten volunteers from the local area spent the morning clearing litter from along the towpath and around the station, as well as continuing vegetation clearance. The major emphasis for the work party was to clear low hanging branches across the towpath between bridges 75 and 76 to create a much more open feel to the mooring area along that stretch of the Canal.

One month later, Friday 24th October started wet and windy. Nonetheless, eight volunteers turned up to continue the work along this stretch of Canal. The removal of overhanging branches between bridges 75 and 76 was completed as well as further clearance of vegetation at Bridge 76. Regular litter picking is a feature of these work parties with a particular issue along the towpath near the railway station. Whilst further litter was collected, it was good to record that the amount of litter has significantly decreased since the regular work parties began and opening up the area along the towpath as helped make the whole area more pleasant for all canal and towpath users.

Some further good news is that in the recent Britain in Bloom competition, Congleton was awarded a gold medal in the large town category, narrowly missing out by a few points on winning the overall category. The regular canal work party activity featured as one of the town’s contributions towards the award and the judges made specific mention of the efforts being made to encourage community engagement in the town.

IWA Milton Keynes Branch Joined by Scouts and Cubs at Annual Autumn Clean-up

Hopper team IWA Milton Keynes clean-up, october 2014 (photo by IWA Milton Keynes Branch)Photo: Hopper team IWA Milton Keynes clean-up, October 2014 (photo by IWA Milton Keynes Branch)

IWA Milton Keynes Branch, held it annual autumn canal clean-up on 17th and 18th October. The turn out was great with over fifty volunteers helping out across the two days, including fifteen Scouts and Cubs on the Saturday.

Over the two days, volunteers travelled over 9 miles of the Grand Union Canal from Fenny Stratford to Grove Lock by boat and foot, using grappling hooks to remove submerged rubbish from the canalbed, as well as tackling floating litter. The rubbish collected weighed in at over five and a half tons. The Scouts and Cubs pulled out five bicycles and two shopping trolleys whilst other volunteers found another twelve bikes and eight shopping trolleys as well as four motorbike frames, two tractor tyres, a camera and a double mattress amongst other assorted items. The great work was only achieved thanks to the nearly 400 hours spent by those at the work party grappling, litter picking and navigating boats.

IWA Milton Keynes Branch is grateful for CRT’s support before and during the event, much of the rubbish would still be in the canal had Ian and Paul not been on hand with CRT’s dredger to pull it out. Thanks also goes to Wyvern Shipping, that once again sponsored the event with its managing director, James Griffin, towing CRT’s 70ft hopper with his seagoing narrowboat Ocean Princess. Thanks also to Jonathan Brown and Athina Beckett who took the 40ft CRT pan workboat with their narrowboat Brown Trout. Both workboats were used as bases to grapple from and tackle offside litter. The fleet was completed by six IWA Branch members’ boats that provided much needed tea, coffee and cake!

Finally, thanks goes to all the volunteers, especially the Scouts and Cubs, whose efforts both before and during the clean-up resulted in another successful event!

IWA West Country Branch at Bridgwater Docks

Volunteers painting at Bridgwater Docks October work party (photo by Mike Slade)Photo: Volunteers painting at Bridgwater Docks October work party (photo by Mike Slade)

On 25th October, IWA West Country Branch was out at Bridgwater Docks on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. Volunteers met outside the newly installed IWA container for the first time and were joined by Councillor Brian Smedley, who stopped by to chat with those involved in the project. Volunteers then continued with the Branch’s painting project. The group is painting the numerous metal structures around the Docks, many of which were originally installed to cater for the large sea-going vessels that visited Bridgwater and are now an important part of its history.

IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch Autumn Clean-up

Sunday 26th October saw IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch’s biannual clean up take place. This was once again based on the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, where volunteers met and worked towards Rotherham.

Thirty-six volunteers from IWA, Abbeydale Rotary Club, Tinsley Boat Club and Adsetts Canal Project took part, all supervised by CRT’s Dave Walker. There is to be a major stoppage on the canal in January/February time, so the group targeted the area where much of the work is to take place, collecting a total of sixty-six bags of rubbish. This was to give a clear path for the work team to determine where to locate a roadway that will have to be constructed to enable machinery access to the site. The canal is to be completely de-watered between locks 3 and 8 during the works.

As usual, pie and peas were served and enjoyed by the volunteers after the event.

IWA Branch and Local Waterway Trust Complete Storage Project

IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust shedPhoto: IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust shed

For some time both IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust committees had been aware that suitable storage for work party tools, display boards, gazebos and other items of kit was needed. After much deliberation, and the offer of the use of a corner of a field belonging to members, a joint shed was agreed upon.   

The project started on 8th May, when the monthly work party, scheduled to be painting the bridge at Hazelhurst Junction, was relocated due to rain. After litter picking the area between the top of Hazelhurst Locks and Denford, both on the main line and the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal, the small team of volunteers who had turned out despite the rain made a start on digging in the corner of the field, in order to create a level area for concreting later on.  Some overhanging vegetation that would be in the way of the shed was also cut back. A further session on 19th May saw the digging complete.

Three consecutive days in June were designated for concreting and shed assembly, and by the end of the first work party day the concrete base had been completed, with the next two days spent on assembly. In July, a further session took place to fit a wooden floor with metal shelving units then ordered and assembled. 

The final job was to dig a trench in front of the concrete base and fill it with gravel, to stop water running down the field and into the shed. By chance, the project finished in much the same way it began with the opportunity to carry out this task taken when another monthly work party had to be relocated from painting Hazelhurst Junction Bridge due to rain, on 9th October. Four volunteers dug and filled the trench with almost 1 tonne of pea gravel, in very quick time. The next day, the shed was finally declared finished and it is now ready to use! 

Northampton Arm Work Party Update, November 2014

IWA Northampton Branch October work party Photo: IWA Northampton Branch October work party

Since the start of July, IWA Northampton Branch has run five work parties on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal, accumulating 122 volunteer hours over this period. In this time volunteers managed to paint the hut at Lock 1, paint Lock 6 and the associated bollards, weed the Sanitation Station area, cut up and dispose of a large kitchen worktop and litter pick from Lock 1 to the M1 motorway bridge.

For the remainder of the year the Branch will continue lock painting or litter pick from Lock 17 to Briar Hill if the weather is not suitable for painting. All volunteers are welcome to come and have a go.

IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.

IWA Branch and Region Magazines

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:

Chiltern Branch - Grapevine - October 2014
Lee & Stort Branch - Lee & Stort Recorder - October 2014
Ipswich Branch - Anglian Cuttings - Autumn 2014
Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch - Shroppie Fly Paper - Autumn/Winter 2014

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

East Yorkshire Branch - Wolds Waters - August 2014
Great Ouse Branch - Ouse News - Autumn 2014

Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2015

2nd - 4th May 2015 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
30th - 31st May 2015 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Cumbria
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.

See IWA's Events Calendar for a full list of waterway events. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.

Upcoming Volunteer/Clean-up Events

2nd November Big Canal Clean-up Warwick (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
3rd November Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th November Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
9th November Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
10th-14th November Work Party Week - Rugeley (IWA Lichfield Branch)
12th November Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
12th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
13th November Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
15th November Work Party - Lapworth (supported IWA Warwickshire Branch)
15th November Work Party - Newton Heath, Rochdale Canal (IWA Manchester Branch)
15th November Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
19th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th November Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd November Canal Clean-up - London (IWA London Region)
22nd-23rd November Canal Clean-up - Birmingham (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
25th November Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
26th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th November Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)

1st December Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
3rd December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
3rd December Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
6th December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
6th December Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
6th-7th December Work Party Weekend - Chelmer & Blackwater (IWA Chelmsford Branch & Essex WRG)
7th December Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
10th December Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
10th December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
11th December Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
16th December Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
17th December Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
18th December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th December Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
20th December Work Party - Hyde, Lower Peak Forest Canal (IWA Manchester Branch)

To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar

Upcoming Towpath Walks

2nd November Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
16th November Waterside Walk - Newbold on Avon (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
16th November Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
27th November Waterside Walk - Northwich (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

7th December 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

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

  • ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount
  • Airedale Cruising - 10% Discount off skippered day cruises
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Canal Boat Magazine - up to 67% off magazine subscription until January 2015
  • CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
  • Forge Studio - 10% discount
  • Grand Union Diesel Services - 5% discount
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • King's Lock Chandlery - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Marine Megastore Ltd. - 15% discount
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Paper Wizard - 15% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard 
  • Worcester Marine Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd - 10% discount on published prices
  • Zead - Free postage and accessories

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public

For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.

Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription

Boat Insurance

IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways. 

See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Stefanie Preston


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