IWA in discussions with EA
IWA senior trustees and management met with the Head of EA navigation recently to discuss ongoing concerns over waterway maintenance in the East Anglia region where there are noticeable problems and disparities of service provision compared to other EA regions- and to consider possible solutions to the ongoing difficulty with access to the Old Bedford river and the inoperability of Welches Dam Lock. Discussions also took place on a variety of other issues including, cuts to EA navigation funding, impact of third sector proposals by BW and the conservancy proposals currently being promoted by IWA.
IWA Waterway Campaigning Post Election
IWA is in the process of organising a post election reception at the House of Commons for key waterway constituency MPs, to ensure that they are quickly inducted into the benefits of the waterways in their constituencies, to understand the issues surrounding funding, third sector proposals by BW, the IWA’s own conservancy proposals and to encourage the formation of a strong all party Parliamentary Waterways Group to protect the waterways’ interests in the difficult financial times ahead.
SOS Campaigns - Mayday
IWA organised or participated as a lead partner in 14 SOS campaign and waterway awareness events in key areas around the country to coincide with the May Bank holiday. IWA set out to focus public attention on local waterways and on the benefits that they provide the community as a whole, whilst also providing a backdrop for local political lobbying of prospective candidates in support of the waterways in their constituencies. The events were well attended and reported locally. IWA's London event Cavalcade, continued to be the largest regional waterways event in the country, again drawing large crowds, with more than twenty people signing up as new members on the back of our SOS campaign... more pictures
BW Third Sector
IWA has been in discussion with BW senior management over IWA’s ongoing concerns for the third sector proposals notwithstanding general support in principal; notably the current unresolved issues surrounding the need for secure long term funding; and also the need to ensure that stakeholders are fully involved and consulted on the development of the governance model, to ensure that the new organisation is both simple, efficient and properly customer focussed and engaged with its key stakeholders on both strategic and day to day management issues at a national and regional level. IWA has suggested that BW should organise stakeholder workshops to properly bottom-out concerns and ideas to aid this process.
Following the budget statement and government’s proposals to mutualise BW; IWA has contacted Defra seeking clarification of what detail any such proposals might entail. Defra has confirmed to IWA that they propose to hold a stakeholder meeting post-election to expand upon the budget statement including a review of the issues presented to Defra on this matter by IWA.
IWA continues to promote its ideas for a national waterways conservancy and has written with details to all key stakeholders explaining its ideas. IWA is in discussion with other stakeholders, and has also recently hosted a waterway user stakeholder meeting where the issue was discussed in detail.
IWA Cressy Cruise Sets Off
As part of the ongoing events and celebrations organised around the country this year in commemoration of Tom’s achievements, Ron and Mary Heritage, members of IWA’s Oxfordshire branch set off from Tooley’s boatyard in Banbury on 24 April 2010 in their narrow boat “Heron” to re-enact Tom & Angela Rolt’s, historic cruise from Banbury in 1939 on the inland waterways with their narrow boat Cressy.
Tom’s subsequent book “Narrow Boat”, which chronicled their experiences on Cressy during that cruise, received so much popular acclaim when it was published, that it led to the formation of IWA in 1946.
A series of specially minted medallions has been produced by IWA to commemorate Heron’s cruise through each IWA branch area and will be collected by Heron’s crew at each staged stop on the cruise route.
Pupils from the North Oxford Academy are also tracking the cruise route, and plan to produce displays and carry out interviews and design publicity for the event as part of their International Baccalaureate studies. more...
Protest over 'blocked' Cambridgeshire waterway
IWA's Peterborough branch held a protest cruise to raise public awareness on the two mile-stretch of the Old Bedford river waterway adjoining Welches Dam Lock....( See also IWA EA story and SOS story above) more..
Volunteers excavate two historic canal sites in city
IWA volunteers have been carrying out Time Team-style excavations at two historic canal sites as part of plans to restore them to their former glory. They have spent four days splitting their time between the Burslem Port Branch of the Trent And Mersey Canal, at Middleport, and Lock 47, at Church Lawton, also on the Trent and Mersey Canal. more...
'Green' exercise quickly 'boosts mental health'
Just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health, researchers claim. A bigger effect was seen with exercise in an area that also contained water - such as a lake or river. more...
Developers wanted to harness River Thames hydro potential
The UK's Environment Agency is searching for developers to construct and operate sustainable hydro power schemes on three of its weirs on the River Thames. more...
British Waterways appoints new Regeneration Director
British Waterways has appointed Steve Dunlop to the role of regeneration director responsible for overseeing the breadth of canal-led regeneration projects ... more...
Swing bridge considered for Sutton Weaver
British Waterways and Cheshire West & Chester are studying a range of options to secure the long term future of Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge, a vital transport link across the River Weaver. more...
British Waterways helps out rare butterflies
British Waterways, working in partnership with the Butterfly Conservation Society, has created a new habitat on the banks of the Oxford Canal to support the rare grizzled butterfly... more...
300 miles of BW canal are 'opened up' to anglers
British Waterways has made more than 300 miles of the national canal network available to angling clubs and individual anglers. The new 'Waterway Wanderers scheme' went live in April ... more
Environmentalist fined £4000 after catching the wrong kind of crayfish
The lobster-like American signal crayfish pose such a threat to native wildlife that they are high on the Environment Agency's list of most wanted foreign species. But a fishing trip landed an 'active environmentalist' with a huge fine after it emerged that he had instead caught and cooked one of Britain's rarest crustaceans...more...
British Waterways reviews canals after breach near Leek
British Waterways is to check embankments along the UK canal network after a double-decker bus-sized breach in Staffordshire. Repairs to the Caldon Canal, near Leek, are expected to cost about £500,000. more...
Waterside walkers wanted
British Waterways and the Ramblers are asking people from across Reading and Berkshire to help them celebrate two very important birthdays during May. more...
Students aim to punt from Cambridge to Oxford
... along the River Cam, the Great Ouse, the Middle Level Navigations, the River Nene, the Grand Union Canal, the Oxford Canal and the River Cherwell to raise money for ‘help for heroes’. more...
It is with sadness that we report that Dave Prior, former Milton Keynes Branch Chairman and long time supporter of the canals and working boats, passed away on Wednesday 14 April.
Tim Jolly, editor of the Wey and Arun Canal Trust's magazine Wey-South has died, Tim had been a member of the Trust since 1983, serving in many capacities.
IWA asked Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield, to question the Waterways Minister to confirm the assessment made by British Waterways of its waterways network infrastructure and the elements of its waterways network infrastructure not categorised as ‘principal assets’ from the response IWA is also concerned that the figures cited are not as good in terms of condition as they appear on first glance and that 54% of BW towpaths may be 'defective in some way' and 64% of BW lock gates are 'defective in some way'...more