IWA Bulletin November 2015

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Richard Benyon Named as IWA’s Parliamentarian of the Year 2015

Photo: Richard Benyon receiving his award from IWA National Chairman Les Etheridge

Former Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon, was named as IWA’s Parliamentarian of the Year 2015 at a function held at the House of Commons on Tuesday 3rd November.

The MP for Newbury, who was Minister during the transfer of more than half the country's navigations from British Waterways to Canal & River Trust, has retained a strong interest in the inland waterways and was recently elected as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways.

Presenting the award, IWA National Chairman Les Etheridge, said “The support our inland waterways get from so many politicians always makes this a difficult decision and this year has been no different. Transferring inland waterways from government to charity control with an appropriate funding package was a brave and wise decision which recognised what volunteers bring to the waterways, and it is this as well as Richard’s continuing involvement in the waterways that make him this year’s IWA Parliamentarian of the Year.”

One of the main topics at the dinner was the future transfer of the navigations currently run by the Environment Agency to Canal & River Trust. Subject to a satisfactory funding package, this would enable those waterways to benefit from improved maintenance through long term asset management plans, third party funding opportunities and the economies of scale to be gained from being part of a larger navigation authority. At present, despite the efforts of EA staff locally, who are coping with reducing budgets, many river navigations run by EA are deteriorating due to lack of maintenance.

IWA News

IWA Wants Your Waterways Photographs

Photo: Entries to IWA’s Photography Competition

For its latest photography competition, IWA is looking for photographs that illustrate the changing seasons of the year. Shots of waterways from all over the UK can feature bustling canal and river scenes to more serene, lesser used waterways.  You can also enter images with various structures, craft and activities, to demonstrate the fantastic and diverse ways in which waterways are used. Winning photos will feature in IWA's calendar and Christmas cards.

The top prize for our latest photography competition is a complete set of OS Nicholsons Guides to the Waterways, worth over £130, kindly donated by Harper Collins. All shortlisted entries will receive three copies of IWA's 2017 calendar.

Find out more about the competition and enter.

Looking for some inspiration? Take a look at our top tips for waterways photography.

Support IWA’s London Marathon Runner

Photo:  David Edwards-May in training  for the 2016 London Marathon

David Edwards-May will be running in the 2016 London Marathon on 24th April to raise funds for IWA.

David originally gained a place in the 2015 London Marathon but unfortunately had to pull out due to injury. His place has been carried over and he is aiming to raise £5,000 in total, having already raised over £1,500.
In addition to his many training runs, David also completed a half marathon earlier this year and is hard at work making sure he is ready for the big day in six months time.

If you would like to help David in his efforts to raise funds for IWA’s work, you can sponsor him:

  • By Phone – Call 01494 783453 ext. 611
  • By Post – Send a cheque payable to ‘The Inland Waterways Association’ to London Marathon, IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA

For more information on David or to follow his progress on Facebook go to the IWA London Marathon webpage.

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Donate £500 for ‘Pride of Sefton’ Community Boat

Photo: Peter Bolt, Chairman of IWA Chester & Merseyside branch on the left, with Jim Brett, Chair of the Pride of Sefton group on the right.

IWA’s Chester & Merseyside Branch recently presented £500 to the ‘Pride of Sefton’ Community Boat, as a donation towards their yearly maintenance costs.

The boat is operated on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal as a community and education facility but many people will also have seen her when she travelled to Burnley in 2012 and carried HM The Queen and Princes Philip and Charles on a canal cruise.  She also featured in the recent John Sergeant programme, “Barging round Britain” when he travelled down into Liverpool docks on her.

With many boaters already booked in to attend the Eldonian Village Canal Festival during the weekend of 11 & 12 June 2016, which is being organized by IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch, in conjunction with Liverpool Culture Company and the Eldonian Village group, the ‘Pride of Sefton’ will undoubtedly be playing a key role during the Festival.  

Jim Brett, Chair of the Pride of Sefton group, said, “We are extremely grateful for this donation towards our maintenance costs as it is vital to keep our boats in good condition.  We are also looking forward to 2016 and playing our part in the festival as we feel it will be a great showcase for the canal.”

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Chairman, Peter Bolt, also commented, “We are delighted to present this donation to the ‘Pride of Sefton’ so that we can help her to continue providing a great facility for local people to get out on the waterways and learn about the history and natural environment on the Leeds & Liverpool.”

Harry Arnold, MBE Receives Outstanding Achievement Award

Photo: Harry Arnold (left) receives Outstanding Achievement Award at the Living Waterways Awards 2015, from Richard Parry Chief Executive CRT (right).  (Photograph courtesy of CRT)

The Living Waterways Awards 2015, run by Canal & River Trust, in which IWA won an award for the Himalayan Balsam Campaign (as reported in last month’s Bulletin), have honoured Harry Arnold, MBE with an Outstanding Achievement Award.

Harry, a national Vice President of IWA, author, historian, journalist and photographer, has been a stalwart supporter of the inland waterways for more than half a century, recording the changing places, craft and people of the waterways since the late 1950’s.  Harry was also central to setting up the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port, now the National Waterways Museum and has supported many other waterway projects and campaigns.

Inspiring and assisting many individuals on their own conservation and restoration projects, including his daughter Julie, who volunteers with IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire branch, Harry’s Outstanding Achievement award recognises the enormous contribution he has made to helping make the waterways what they are today.

HS2 Phase 1- Yet More Amendments

Further amendments have been made to HS2 Phase 1, as the Government has announced recently the ‘Additional Provisions 4 (AP4)’ which relate mainly to minor consequential changes along the route.

IWA has studied the changes to the bill, and the Supplementary Environmental Statement. Two canal  locations are specifically affected, as follows:

  • The ‘Oxford Canal Viaduct’ near Willison’s Bridge Wormleighton is being moved slightly north to pass the canal through the southernmost span to allow increased views of the landscape from the Oxford Canal
  • Curzon Street Station and the Digbeth Branch Canal- a large autotransformer station on the side of the canal is to be moved further east, across the A4550 Lawley Middleway.

Both are considered to be slightly positive to the canal setting. Read more about Additional Provisions 4 (PDF)

Based on this document, IWA does not propose to make a response to the Supplementary Environmental Statement, or to petition these changes.

If you have any comments, please get in touch by emailing hs2comments.co.uk.

In addition, IWA has submitted its response to the Supplementary Environmental Statement on Additional Provision 2 and commented on issues of waterway interest. The main issues include, as in the draft, the realignment of a road along the canal at Fradley- better than the 3 canal crossings removed by following IWA’s original ‘Alternative Route’, however still unnecessary and a potential blight on the canal there. Noise nuisance has not been reduced at all in these additional provisions, and is a major cause of impact at the new Heathrow Express Maintenance Depot close to the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal.   Here it affects public recreational users of the tranquil area of canal, as well as boaters both leisure and residential around The Boatyard, Mansion Lane, Iver. IWA’s consultation response briefly describes the impacts in the new proposals, and sets out what we would like to see altered to improve them further- often at little expense or occasionally a small potential saving.

Reserve Your Place Now – Restoration Workshop 2016

On Saturday 23rd April 2016 IWA and Canal & River Trust are holding their annual waterway restoration workshop, which will take place at Austin Court, Birmingham. The theme of this years workshop is ‘Why the Blue and the Green Matter’ with a focus on environmental issues. The workshop will also look at other topics including – a review of the State of the Nation survey, fundraising, social media and forecasting the benefits of your restoration project.  The aim of the workshop is to ensure that local waterways societies and trusts have more support and information to assist in the development of their schemes.
The event is free.  Read the Waterway Restoration Workshop 2016 page for more information and to reserve your place now.

Other News

Major Advance for Canal Restoration

Photo: Susan and Malcolm Brenton sign the lease for the Wey & Arun Canal Trust to re-construct 400 metres of the waterway on their land at Bramley.

IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group has been praised for its work on Wey and Arun Canal Trust’s Bramley Link project in Surrey, which has recently taken a significant step forward with the signing of a land lease.  With this agreement, the Trust can now re-create 400 metres of the waterway’s Bramley Link section, south of Guildford.

The long lease is for farmland owned by Trust supporters Susan and Malcolm Brenton. It will enable a stretch of the canal from Shalford down to the Tannery Lane Bridge near Bramley to be restored.

A year-long environmental impact assessment is being carried out on phase one of the Bramley Link, from the River Wey at Shalford down to the Gosden Aqueduct over the Cranleigh Waters stream.
Also under way for this phase are a civil engineering design study and a full flood study.

Wey and Arun Canal Trust has so far carried out work on more than half of the 23-mile Wey & Arun Canal route, from Pallingham in West Sussex to Shalford. It has restored three-and-a-half miles to full navigation in the Loxwood area, where it runs public excursion boats.

The first fully restored section in Surrey, on the Summit Level between Alfold and Dunsfold, is due to open in September 2016. The Trust is currently replacing a concrete causeway in the middle of this stretch with a new bridge.

Along with the Newbury Working Party Group and the Trust’s own Midweek Working Party, WRG volunteers have made an important contribution to the restoration so far, particularly on the Trust’s Hunt Nature Park project.

The Wey & Arun Canal has featured in the latest Timothy West and Prunella Scales TV series, Great Canal Journeys, the first episode of which was shown on Sunday 25th October and titled London’s Lost Route to the Sea.
Timothy and Prunella – avid canal fans and narrowboat owners – go in search of the 19th century canal route, from Teddington, through Surrey and Sussex, all the way to Littlehampton.
They spent some time filming on the Loxwood section back in June.

The Wey & Arun restoration so far, was featured, including some archive photographs and interviews.

New Website Launched for the Sale of Long-term Moorings

Canal & River Trust has launched a new website for the sale of its long-term moorings.  

The new Waterside Mooring website shows all current vacancies on a map or list and provides photos and details of over 300 mooring sites managed by the Trust.  In time there will be videos of locations to give people a better feel for the sites.  

Purchases of moorings will be fully automated, allowing customers to get their new berths more quickly.  For those customers who don’t have access to a computer, there is a telephone facility to help them through the process.  For further information, please telephone 0303 040 4040.

The new Waterside Mooring website can now be viewed online.


No Rise in CRT Licence Fees

There will be no change to Canal & River Trust boat licences in 2016.  This good news for boaters is in line with the Trust’s three-year commitment to limit boat licence fee increases to inflation only until 2016 (based on the August 2015 Consumer Price Index) and is applicable to all private and business boats.

The new price lists for craft licences from 1 April 2016 will be uploaded to the Trust’s website on 1st November 2015.

For further information please contact the Boat Licensing Team on 0303 040 4040.

The Portal Opens

Dudley Canal Trust’s new multi-million pound visitor centre, ‘The Portal’, has opened its doors to visitors.

The new centre features an interactive exhibition in the Biffa Award Gallery, a new restaurant, a large gift shop and space for school workshops, community events and wedding receptions.

Supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund, Biffa Award and Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, the new centre marks a significant improvement to facilities at the Dudley heritage attraction.

Established in 1970, the Dudley Canal Trust was created to protect and preserve a spectacular network of underground canal tunnels carved beneath the region to mine the raw materials. Through its subsidiary charity, Dudley Canal Trust (Trips) Ltd., over 70,000 visitors each year are welcomed onto regular guided boat trips through the tunnels.

Canal & River Trust Council – Boater Representative Elections

Voting online for the four spaces on Canal & River Trust’s Council’s for boat-owner representatives opens on 13 November 2015, and there is a four week period during which voting takes place.  Details are on the Canal & River Trust website.  All boat owners with Canal & River Trust licences should have heard from CRT by e-mail about the elections recently.  If you qualify to vote and haven’t heard, then you will need to make contact with CRT and supply a valid e-mail address.

Towpath Trail Receives Recognition

Photo:  Cheers all round at the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s Towpath Trail's opening in April, 2014

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s work in creating a towpath trail, suitable for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, has been recognised in the Living Waterways Awards 2015, run by Canal & River Trust.

The awards (reported on in IWA News in this issue of the Bulletin and in last month’s Bulletin), recognise the most inspiring and exciting waterway-based projects across the UK and the Lichfield Canal Heritage Towpath Trail received a commendation in the Restoration and Historic Environment section.

The quarter-mile long Heritage Towpath Trail, at Borrowcop Locks next to the A51 Tamworth Road in Lichfield, was built by volunteers from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

It is part of a project to create a towpath trail along the seven-mile length of the abandoned Lichfield Canal, which the Trust is aiming to return to water.

The award citation reads: "Building materials were carefully chosen to enhance the original features of the canal, including the use of recycled materials to create the narrows alongside the towpath.

"As well as being accessible to wheelchair and mobility scooter users, it has bus stops at either end, making it appealing and relevant to the local community."

Tickets go on Sale for Crick Boat Show

Tickets for the 17th Crick Boat Show go on sale on Monday 2nd November. The show, which sees 25,000 visitors gather in the beautiful countryside of Northamptonshire, returns on late May bank holiday weekend 28th – 30th May 2016.
Day tickets, weekend tickets and family tickets are available to pre-order. Order before midnight on Sunday 22nd May 2016 and you can save up to 20% by purchasing your tickets in advance.
Either visit the Crick Boat Show website or call 01283 742970 to book tickets, or to find out more details.

IWA & WRG Work Party Reports

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.

Towpath Transformed

Nine willing volunteers joined IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch’s Cheshire Locks work party on 15th October, to begin smartening up Lock 43. This continues the excellent work done earlier this year on Locks 44 - 46 around Red Bull and volunteers were pleased to note the support from boaters coming through who admired all the improvements made on the Red Bull lock flight.

Work focused on painting and vegetation clearance, with five of the team concentrating on the metalwork surrounding the lock which had not been painted for many years. Two volunteers worked on vegetation clearance, whilst a further two worked on the lock gates themselves. The gates are not too old but some smartening up proved worthwhile to match the other locks in the flight.

The work of the vegetation team in exposing the cobbled towpath adjacent to the lock has transformed the area.
By the end of the day most of the metal that had been cleaned was painted and protected for a few more years to come. It will however require another day's work to complete the task and the team will be meeting again at Lock 43 on Thursday 19th November.

Canal Boating Head Joins Milton Keynes Canal Clean-up

Photo:  Mike Grimes and IWA Volunteers take a tea break

Volunteers taking part in IWA Milton Keynes Branch’s autumn canal clean-up on the 16th and 17th October, were delighted to be joined by Mike Grimes, Canal & River Trust’s newly appointed Head of Boating.

Rubbish grappled from the Grand Union Canal and litter-picked from the banks was collected in CRT work boats towed by IWA branch members boats. A motor bike, a complete washing machine and an electric bicycle were the better items gathered among the usual assorted metal and plastic and other rubbish. In total and encouragingly, volunteers report that this was the lightest haul for some time; maybe regard for and appreciation of the canal as valuable heritage and a big local asset is widening.
Milton Keynes Branch has been carrying out clean-ups for almost 30 years and organises bi-annual events sponsored by the Wyvern Shipping Company and supported by CRT.

Volunteers Kept Busy

Photo: IWA West Country Branch volunteers remove rubbish from the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal

October has been a busy month for IWA West Country Branch.  The branch organised four work parties between the 15th and 20th October, in which a total of 27 volunteers contributed 105.5 hours dedicated to painting, rubbish and vegetation removal.

Getting off to a good start, on October 15th volunteers painted some of Newtown Lock’s railings in Bridgwater.
Following this, at a work party on the 17th, the focus was on rubbish removal.  Volunteers began at bridge 9 on the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal and were aided on the homebound journey with a CRT Vessel.  The quantity of rubbish collected at this work party filled three commercial sized rubbish bins.  In addition, some metal items and a cone were left for CRT on the boat for disposal.
At an additional work party on the 17th, volunteers cut back and removed overgrowth and other rubbish from Firepool Lock to a point just past Taunton Town Bridge on the permissive path in the direction of French Weir.  
A visual inspection of culverts was carried out and rubbish removed from the towpath between Firepool lock and Crown Industrial estate.
On the 20th October, the group continued with its Bathpool Marina area spruce up with the painting of the facilities doors.

By-weir Cleared of Vegetation

Photo:  IWA Northampton Branch volunteers clear Lock 14’s by-weir of vegetation on the Grand Union Canal

After a chilly start, the seven volunteers that attended IWA Northampton Branch’s work party on 25th October, soon warmed up once they set to task.  Working along the Grand Union Canal, the group’s aim was to clear the Lock 14 by-weir of vegetation so that water can flow freely from above the lock, down into the next pound.  The long grass and brambles were strimmed back, so that access could be gained to the weeds and moss in the by-weir.  After lots of scraping the end result was worth all the hard work and will hopefully help keep the pounds in water.  

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:
East Midlands Region – Aegre - November 2015
North Riding Branch – The Northern Navigation News - November 2015
Peterborough Branch – Hereward - November 2015

Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2015

30th April - 2nd May 2016 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
28th May - 29th May 2016 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Staveley
27th August - 29th August 2016 - IWA Festival of Water, Pelsall

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/Cleanup Events

7th November Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th November Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
10th November Work Party - Northampton (Supported by IWA Northampton Branch)
11th November Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
11th November Work Party -Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (Supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcs Branch)
12th November Work Party -Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
18th November Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
19th November Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Cheshire Locks (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
20th November Work Party - Mossley Bridge, Rugeley (Supported by IWA Lichfield Branch)
21st November Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
21st November Work Party - Greater Manchester (Supported by IWA Manchester Branch)
24th November Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal, Burslem Port (Supported by IWA N.Staffs & S.Cheshire Branch)
25th November Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th November Work Party - Congleton  (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
28th November Work Party – Chester (Supported by IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
29th November Work Party - Northampton (Supported by IWA Northampton Branch)

2nd December Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th December Work Party -  River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th December Work Party -  Burslem (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
9th December Work Party -  Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (Supported by IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcs Branch)
9th December Work Party -  River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
10th December Work Party - Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
12th December Work Party - Tardebigge Lime Kilns (Supported by IWA Birmingham Branch)
13th December Work Party - Sleaford Navigation (Supported by IWA Lincolnshire Branch)
15th December Work Party - Northampton (Supported by IWA Northampton Branch)
16th December Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
19th December Work Party -  Uttoxeter Canal (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
19th December Work Party - Greater Manchester (Supported by IWA Manchester Branch)
22nd December Work Party - Burslem (Supported by IWA North Staffs & South Cheshire Branch)
23rd December Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
30th December Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

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

Upcoming Towpath Walks

15th November Waterside Walk - Regent’s Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)

6th December Waterside Walk - Little Venice to Camden (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
20th December Waterside Walk - Regent’s Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
27th December Waterside Walk - Regent’s Canal (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
  • Boat Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Canal Boat Magazine - Annual subscription for just £15
  • 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
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • I Love Meet and Greet Ltd - 15% discount
  • King's Lock Chandlery - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Marine Megastore Ltd. - 15% discount
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Middlewich Narrowboats - 25% discount on hire of classic boat Willow
  • Paper Wizard - 15% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - Up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • The Three Locks Pub, Grand Union Canal nr. Milton Keynes - 10% discount on food
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Wavetrain Marine - 5% discount on 1 day VHF SCR training courses
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard 
  • 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 Katie Thomas