July 2010 Bulletin

Top Story

IWA Launch  National Restoration Appeal for Inglesham Lock

The Inland Waterways Association  (IWA)  launched a national appeal on Saturday 26 June 2010, in order to raise funds for the restoration and re-commissioning of Inglesham Lock at the junction of the Thames and Severn Canal  with the River Thames, which is part of the Cotswold canals scheme.

The announcement was made at the IWA’s Chester Rally, and to coincide with the commemoration of the  Centenary of Tom Rolt, one of IWA’s founders.

Speaking on behalf of IWA, Clive Henderson, national chairman  said:

Today we are announcing that we want to extend the Thames.’

‘Inglesham is the gateway to the Cotswold canals restoration, and an iconic structure. IWA is keen to present an opportunity to get it open and create a usable link to the network.’

 ‘IWA wants to raise funds towards the Restoration of the canal from the junction with the Thames, involving the restoration of Inglesham lock chamber and to fund the purchase and restoration of 380 metres of the pound above the lock. ‘

‘In doing so we want to provide a new front on the Cotswold canals restoration campaign, to encourage momentum and engagement with local residents. This new restoration front will compliment the work in the Stroud valley. We also want to force further movement on the full realisation of the Cotswold Water Park where it links to the Wilts and Berks Canal. This is the shortest and simplest route to reconnect Swindon with the national waterways network. We hope therefore, to encourage and capture the imagination and support of the population in and around Swindon in relation to regeneration of Swindon Town centre as part of the Wilts & Berks master plan.’

‘IWA wishes to show continued support to the Cotswolds Canal project following its previous set back regarding certain funding commitments, and to consolidate and build on the recent gift of the lock at Inglesham to the trust by British Waterways.’

‘We are creating a new project on the Cotswolds Canals that our volunteer restoration arm Waterway Recovery Group can wholly own from start to finish; and to help develop and facilitate new forms of volunteering from those who may be interested in just giving a day or half a day’s time through to fully committed weekenders and week- long ‘canal campers’ thereby encouraging more participation by locals and waterway supporters.’

The target for IWA to raise in support of the whole appeal is £125,000


He went on to say;

If everyone who supports our cause raised and donated just £10 we would easily meet our target.


Just go to www.inglesham.org.uk   for more in formation and to make a donation on line or by direct debit, or send your cheque made out to IWA to  IWA Inglesham Appeal, Island House,  Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA ‘

Waterways Minister Makes Key Statement on Third Sector and Possible Waterways Merger .

June 21 2010 ...  The Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP made the following written statement .   

‘I am pleased to be appointed as Waterways Minister as I am familiar with the public benefits the waterways provide and I am making this statement to set out how I intend to take forward inland waterways policy for England and Wales.  The Government considers civil society has a very valuable role to play in delivering public services as part of our commitment to creating a Big Society.  We will therefore be continuing to look in detail at whether a third sector model would be appropriate for British Waterways, including the possible inclusion of the Environment Agency’s navigations as the other navigation authority grant aided by Government.  My department will be engaging a wide range of stakeholders in this work (and liaising with the Scottish Government). However I must make clear that, given the Government’s overriding objective of reducing the financial deficit, no decisions on such a change will be taken until after the forthcoming Spending Review. In the light of this I have also decided not to proceed now with a new Government waterways strategy and I will review the situation following the Spending Review.’

About IWA

IWA‘s Views on BW and Third Sector

IWA has been lobbying hard for a form of waterways conservancy , initially arising from an amalgamation of the two main government funded navigation authorities, British Waterways (BW) and the Environment Agency (EA) navigations as one body, with the possibility of other navigations voluntarily joining at a later date.

IWA is therefore pleased to receive news of the Waterway Minister’s statement on the 21 June concerning Government’s views and intentions to consider the implications of integration of the EA navigations as part of a move by BW to the third sector. IWA is also pleased that the Minister has signalled his intention for Defra to undertake to engage with stakeholders on this work ahead of the Spending Review in the Autumn.

Key to progressing the issue of any move into the third sector; IWA believes that more work is still needed on understanding the funding of the third sector organisation, and the extent to which government will have to continue to support it as recognition of the public benefit that it provides, and how funding is to be managed and developed over time.

In addition to the currently unanswered funding issue; IWA also has concerns over the ongoing discussions on governance, which IWA believes needs to more fully engage the wider waterway stakeholder community.

In principle, what IWA doesn’t want to end up with is  a ‘rebranding’ of BW in a third sector guise, IWA sees the third sector as an opportunity to radically address the way in which our waterways are managed and to seek to improve their husbandry. Together with its colleagues and partners in the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, who are currently piloting a local partnership model, IWA wants to see more consultation, so that the new organisation incorporates the best of waterways expertise and experience, with sound local structures and good local volunteer support in turn supporting a slim-line and efficient head office. This means a joint, working partnership arrangement of the stakeholders, to work up a new model of governance in the light of Government’s ‘Big Society Agenda’ which both IWA and K&ACT believes has relevance in putting the  waterways at the heart of communities in the future. IWA has suggested that a stakeholders meeting and workshop might be a way of achieving full and transparent participation in the development process, similar to that which was carried out by Defra during the Waterways for Everyone process.

IWA will continue to press BW and Defra on the matter of both funding and governance – and whilst supporting the third sector proposals as part of a wider conservancy idea, we raised these matters at the Defra sponsored waterways stakeholder meeting of national waterway user groups with the Waterways Minister on the 30th June.

IWA understands that a Stakeholders workshop is being organised in July by Defra on the subject of the third sector and IWA will be attending and fully participating, we hope to be able to report further in our next edition.

We know currently  that the coalition emergency budget shed £1.5m from the current in year budget for BW and 5.8m from the EAs total budget. In addition it is inevitable that  grant in aid will  be affected by cuts forecasted to be in the region of 25% in public spending promised as part of the plan to tackle the UK’s fiscal deficit as a result of the Spending Review round in the Autumn. Our understanding following the recent meeting with the minister is that this will translate as a series of cumulative cuts of between 5-7%  year on year until the full 25% cut has been reached in expenditure based on current levels by 2014.

So, the next couple of months are therefore critical for the waterways, and IWA will be continuing its SOS campaign to press for awareness of the importance of the waterways to riparian MPs and councillors’, and also to guard against any property raid by Treasury, whilst participating fully to cement a Conservancy incorporating BW and EA waters, and to ensure the best outcome in shaping the new organisation that may result.

IWA Parliamentary Reception

IWA held its first reception for MPs elected to the new Parliament on Tuesday 15 June. It was hosted by the Rt Hon Alun Michael MP. The purpose was for IWA to give new MPs a briefing on the importance of the inland waterways to Britain and the problems which must be overcome if they are to continue to flourish.

mp_receptionversion2Alun Michael, one of three former waterways Ministers present, gave a brief introduction, explaining how his time as waterways Minister had ingrained in him just how valuable the inland waterways are to the nation. Clive Henderson, IWA Chairman, then gave a brief presentation to set the scene for the reception. The key issues that he raised were:

·         The benefits that the waterways can convey – regeneration; a focus for social    cohesion and integration; a facility for community health and recreation.

·         The continued use of suitable waterways for freight movements.

·         The need for infrastructure funding.

·         How in times of great strain for the public finances, there is no better time for the Government to seriously consider the formation of an Inland Waterways Conservancy, initially comprising the British Waterways and Environment Agency navigations, gaining the cost efficiencies that would be realised by this merger.

The reception was well attended - 24 MPs representing all the major political parties, with many others unable to attend asking for a briefing when possible, confirming that the inland waterways remain apolitical for MPs. IWA had representatives on hand from around the country to engage with MPs about what benefits specific waterways can provide for their individual constituencies.

The event was also attended by senior representatives from British Waterways, the Environment Agency and Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

New WRG site now out

Following on from the recent launch of  IWA’s new  web site , WRG now have a new and vibrant website as well.-With more information and better access toassist people to get more inviolved.

For more information go to http://www.wrg.org.uk

Upcoming Events -

3rd July WRG Training Day book now
3rd July Gough's Orchard Camp
10th July Chesterfield Canal Camp

Call 01494 783 453 or email enquiries@wrg.org.uk    to receive a booking form in the post.

IWA - Tom Rolt Centenary Rally, Chester

Over 100 boats of every type squeezed themselves into Chester Basin during the weekend of 26 & 27 June for the Inland Waterways Association’s (IWA) Tom Rolt Centenary Rally.

chester_rallyAs well as a show of boats , there was also  the Tom Rolt steam train from the Talyllyn Railway and a vintage car display. 

Amongst the VIP’s were the Sheriff of Chester, Cllr Pat Lott, who officially opened the Rally, and Sonia Rolt and the newly appointed MP for Chester,  Stephen Mosley, who informed those attending how important the waterways were to regeneration. 

Ron & Mary Heritage,were also present with their Boat Heron , which is currently circumnavigating the system in a homage to the original 'Cressy cruise' by Tom Rolt . They have stopped at many key points along the route and been presented with medallions which have pictures of the canals as they were in the early days on one side, and the current view on the other.  These gave visitors a real feeling for the amount of work that has been done in the last sixty years by IWA and other waterway societies in keeping and restoring the waterways for everyone to enjoy today. 

Clive Henderson then took the opportunity to remind everyone that the waterways were still in need of financial support and launched IWA’s latest campaign:  to extend the Thames, by restoring Inglesham Lock where the derelict Thames & Severn Canal meets the river, and additionally purchasing 380 m above the lock.  This would give a real boost to the restoration of the Cotswold Canals and the stretch could then be used for moorings, giving revenue to the Trust which could be put towards their ongoing costs.  The project would also give local people an opportunity to feel part of the restoration plans.

(See report above)

During the afternoon, a blue plaque was also placed on Tom Rolt’s birthplace, 7 South View, Eaton Road, commemorating the fact that he was born in Chester in 1910.  Sonia Rolt carried out the unveiling, accompanied by her sons Tim and Richard, and watched by others including Clive Henderson, IWA’s National Chairman.

Hundreds of local people were thrilled to see the basin so busy and thronged with craft of all kinds again.  Combined with the wonderful weather, the Rally proved a great success.

IWA Trailboat Festival Advice and Guidelines

If you are considering being a host organiser for an IWA Trailboat or Campaign Festival to celebrate your progress, or to draw public attention to a feature or problem, you can now find details on the IWA website of the basic facilities you will need: This updated site contains a fixture list of contracted out and vacant dates, essential information and advice for  organisers can also now be viewed and downloaded -   more... go to: -    Basic Facilities Needed   

For further information or advice please contact Derek Smith IWA Festivals Committee Trailboat Director  01244 382058      derek.smith32@virgin.net

IWA and Wigrams Turn Marina Help ‘Punt for Heroes’

The epic punt around the waterways in aid of the charity Help for Heroes , being undertaken by four intrepid students from Cambridge punted into Wigrams Turn Marina at Napton to a very welcoming party, which included the Wigrams Turn team and members of IWA Warwickshire Branch on Saturday 26 June.
Gillian Sansum and her husband Jeff welcomed the ‘punters’ on behalf of Wigrams, who were offered not only a  hot shower, and the use of Wigrams Industrial Washer and Dryer to wash all their clothes, but also the use of a Black Prince holiday boat for them to take a well earned – and comfortable night's sleep...a BBQ was then provided by IWA members Peter Hennessey and his Wife.
On Sunday morning at 7.30 am the Warwickshire Branch organised by Greta Russell, escorted the Punters through the Napton flight as far as Marston Doles.

The Students – Toby Dickens, Rebecka Kiff, Andrew Marshall & Karl Williams, all under 21 were well on course to finish their epic 'punt' and hoped to reach Oxford by Wednesday evening.

200 miles, 113 locks, 12 days, 4 Cantabrigians, 1 punt.  The target, for donations to their endeavour is £2,000.    


Harry Arnold MBE

IWA Stoke on Trent branch member and IWA Vice President, Harry Arnold has been awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for the significant role he has played in Britain’s inland waterways scene for almost 50 years. His name is well known in the waterways world as a photographer and as a writer - recording the changing places, craft and people of the waterways since the late 1950’s. Harry was IWA’s editor of Waterways magazine for over 17 years, and was involved with IWA Festivals throughout the 1980s and 1990s as well as being a key member of IWA's Publicity Committee in the 1980s.  He was also a founder of both Waterways World and Canal & Riverboat as well as the original Narrowboat magazine.

Other News

Harriett Protected 

On 9th June 2010 the Kennet built canal boat Harriett was formally been recognised as being of national importance and was officially protected and listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  She now joins the Mary Rose and HMS Victory which share similar designations as part of the nation’s surviving maritime history.  Built in 1905, 72 feet long and 14 feet 1 inch at the beam she had a  gross tonnage of 60; Known as one of the ‘Purton hulks’ she was beached in 1964.  


Contact Us

IWA Head Office , Island House Moor Road, Chesham , HP5 1WA

01494 783 453


Bulletin is edited by Jo Gilbertson 01494 783453