Issue Date: 9 March 2011

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has made its 2011 award for ‘Parliamentarian of the Year’ to the Rt Hon Alun Michael MP for Cardiff South and Penarth who also sponsored the evening.

The award was made at an exclusive dinner at the House of Commons yesterday evening (8 March). There were 19 MPs at the Dinner representing all the major parties across a wide geographic spread. The discussion around the table confirmed their recognition of how much the inland waterways can contribute to their own constituencies and the broader community and their interest in the way forward for the waterways.

The MPs included Richard Benyon, the waterways Minister, and the Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan, IWA constituency MP.

It was also attended by the senior representatives of Defra, British Waterways and the Environment Agency.

Clive Henderson, IWA national chairman of IWA was delighted at such good attendance for the Dinner and at the incisive contributions from so many of those present.

Turning to the presentation of the award, he said:

‘Alun has been a great supporter of the waterways for many years where his enthusiasm about the need to develop partnership between Government and the community and voluntary sector couldn’t be more relevant than it is now. When he was the Waterways Minister he recognised the need for public investment in the waterways.

He shares the IWA vision for the waterways to transfer to the third sector and has argued that case persuasively in Parliament and elsewhere, using his influence to maintain the opportunities for that transfer.’  

The announcement met with widespread approval from all those who were present.

For more information please contact Jo Gilbertson or David Padfield on 01494 783453

Notes For Editors


The Inland Waterways Association is a registered charity, founded in 1946, which advocates the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways for public benefit.

IWA works closely with navigation authorities, national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations. We campaign and lobby for support and encourage public participation in the inland waterways. IWA also manages the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation for the public benefit, through its subsidiary Essex Waterways, having stepped in to prevent its closure in 2005.

IWA actively supports waterway restoration, and through its waterways restoration volunteering organisation, Waterway Recovery Group, organises and subsidises over 20 week-long waterway restoration working holidays for volunteers of all ages throughout the UK each year, as well as conducting multiple work parties around the country on most weekends. This particularly enables young people to participate in the preservation and restoration of our heritage, and in doing so learn construction and heritage skills.

More than 500 miles of canals and navigable rivers have been re-opened to public use since the Association was founded in 1946. The Association is working to restore a further 500 miles of derelict inland waterways.

IWA is organised into 35 local branches covering geographical areas of the country, through which volunteers coordinate activities as diverse as policing planning applications through the waterway corridor, organising festivals and events to raise public awareness, providing engineering expertise, raising money for restoration schemes, and providing education on the value and benefits of their local waterways.

There is much more information at

Rt Hon Alun Michael MP ( Right ) receiving his award from IWA national chairman Clive Henderson.