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Monday 7 March

Today's news from the web

  • Newbury canal hydro project comes under scrutiny newburytoday.co.uk

    Plans to kickstart a hydroelectric facility in the [Kennet & Avon] canal near Victoria Park, Newbury, as part of a ‘Big Society’ community project came under scrutiny at a public meeting on Monday. Mark Knight, of Kiln Road, Newbury, got the idea to construct a hydroelectric facility in the Kennet and Avon Canal that would generate electricity to feed into the national grid following discussions on the Newburytoday.co.uk forum, and he called a public meeting that was held at the town council offices in Market Place. ...

  • Corrie bosses concerned over squawking birds entertainment.stv.tv

    Coronation Street bosses are said to be concerned that filming on the new Weatherfield set could be disrupted by the noise of "screeching" water fowl. The famous cobbled street is set to be relocated to new purpose-built studios at Trafford Wharf in Salford Quays. However, the waterways close to the new set are home to hundreds of ducks, geese, swans and gulls....

  • Historic Thameside moorings sold at Henley henleystandard.co.uk

    An historic set of moorings on the River Thames at Henley has been sold for the first time in its long history. This rare opportunity to purchase a length of moorings on one of England’s most famous stretches of river generated interest from a broad cross-section of potential purchasers, some with existing interests in the water-based leisure market, while others were of local or regional origin, who recognised its scarcity value and potential for business growth. The 28 moorings, which have a frontage to the River Thames of approximately 90 metres (290 ft), occupy a prime position on Thames Side, close to Henley town centre and a stone’s throw from the town’s historic five-arched bridge, a focal point for the annual Royal Regatta and Festival of Music and Arts. ...


Sunday 6 March

Today's news from the web

  • Idea just 218 years in the making for Daventry Canal Arm northamptonchron.co.uk

    A new canal arm in Daventry which was first mooted in 1793 is one step closer to becoming a reality as planning permission is sought to create a two-mile stretch of waterway. Plans will be submitted to Daventry District Council in the next few weeks for a new arm of the Grand Union Canal, half a mile south of Braunston Tunnel. A new association has been set up to pursue the project and will have their first meeting on Friday, March 11, where ways of getting the project, which is estimated to cost in the region of £10 million, off the ground....


Friday 4 March

Today's news from the web

  • River Ancholme being dredged at Brigg thisisscunthorpe.co.uk

    The River Ancholme at Brigg, which is being dredged over the next three weeks in an effort to help reduce the risk of flooding. Picture: David Haber A £60,000 scheme to reduce flood risk in Brigg is under way. The Environment Agency project involves removing around 3,500 tonnes of silt from the river bed of the Old River Ancholme. The silt is now being taken from the centre of the river in three sections, with the work scheduled to last three weeks....

  • National waterways event at Burton-upon-Trent bbc.co.uk

    An annual national celebration of inland waterways is to be held at a Staffordshire town. About 350 boats were expected to line up for the 62nd Waterways Festival at Burton-upon-Trent, The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) said. It will be staged at Shobnall Fields, alongside the banks of the Trent and Mersey Canal, from 29 to 31 July....

  • Historic tug-boat Cervia could return to the Thames dartfordtimes.com

    Thanks to the diligent work of volunteers led by a former tugboat driver, a historic boat could soon return to the River Thames. Mike Houckham — who worked the tugs for 10 years out of Gravesend — has led the restoration of the Cervia steam powered tugboat — the oldest of her class in the world — and is desperate to see her return to the town....


Wednesday 2 March

Guy Martin's Reckless attempt to be the next Fred Dibnah

The BBC is taking a confident punt tonight that it can turn racing motorcylist Guy Martin into the next unlikely prime time reality show star, with a profile to rival Fred Dibnah. 

Occupying a time slot usually reserved for soaps like East Enders, The Boat That Guy Built will chronicle Guy's attempt to restore what the press called a 'run-down' canal boat into something modern and desirable.  The twist here is that he will use old techniques that help to build the Industrial Revolution and hope to learn (and demonstrate) something about our own heritage and history. 

The boat he selected is called Reckless, and it wasn't just 'run down', but ironically an utter wreck.  About 5 years ago it was the target of an arson attack, and ended up at Streethay Wharf, where I witnessed the aftermath.  Here's the boat's traditional engine room shortly after the attack: 



A year later, in 2007, I blogged about it on Granny Buttons in the post "Recked Reckless".

Streethay's chief engineer bought the wreck and attempted to rebuild it himself as a private project.  But as with many project boats he ran out of time, and sold it on to the show's producers, who were presumably attracted by the disaster inherent in the name. 

(Actually, when built about 1999 it was originally Recklis, but a new owner was reckless enough to rename it, ignoring the superstition that renaming boats is bad luck.)    

The series will attempt to show how Britain became the world leader in building things, and appropriately Guy Martin starts off the series by find the materials to make the equipment to, er,  make a cup of tea.  (But isn't that how all canal boats get made?)

We'll follow the series with interest.   

 

Andrew Denny  | 6.16pm


Tuesday 1 March

Today's news from the web

  • Waterways minister's official statements on transfer of EA to waterways charity publications.parliament.uk

    In phase 1, the liabilities and assets of British Waterways in England and Wales will transfer into the new charity, alongside an "endowment" consisting of the property portfolio owned by British Waterways in England and Wales. In phase 2, the EA navigations would transfer to the new charity, if sufficient funding can be found in the next spending review to enable the charity to take on the liabilities associated with them, and subject to the agreement of the charity's trustees....

  • Guardians of a lost age to return to our waterways thisisbath.co.uk

    The role of the lock-keeper, for decades a prestigious and important job on the West's canals, is being re-invented for the 21st century, as the popularity of life on the waterway continues to increase. But, in keeping with 2011's age of austerity and do-it-yourself Big Society, British Waterways is looking for volunteers to man the locks on the iconic Kennet and Avon canal through the West. So while the lock-keepers of the 19th century had cottages and salaries, the new versions will be asked to volunteer for at least one day a week, with no more benefit than a uniform and the privilege of working on the canal, meeting people and lending a hand....


Monday 28 February

EA to be included in new waterways charity in 2015

The Government has confirmed the Environment Agency waterways WILL be included in the new waterways charity alongside BW canals and rivers - but not until 2015.   While BW will move into the new body next year, the EA move is to be held back to ensure sufficient funding is available to take on the liabilities associated with the EA navigations, including the expensive and vital flood and weir controls.

Commenting on the announcement, British Waterways’ Chairman, Tony Hales said: “We welcome the Government’s continued commitment to the planned ‘national trust for the waterways’ and hope the EA navigations may be able to benefit in the future.  While there will be some who are disappointed by the decision not to include all the state-owned waterways from the outset, we appreciate the Government’s caution in ensuring the considerable issues of financial sustainability for the EA navigations have first been fully addressed.”

The consultation on how the new ‘national trust of the waterways’ will be set up will begin this month.  Assuming Parliament consents, the new waterways charity is expected to be up and running by April next year.

Defra has already started the process of establishing the new charity, in January appointing an Advisory Panel on First Appointments and Transition to provide advice to Ministers, and advertising for ‘Transition Trustees’ who are due to be appointed in April.

Andrew Denny  | 12.30pm | 1 comment


Today's news from the web

  • Stourbridge canal leaking after yobs cause £30k damage stourbridgenews.co.uk

    Water is leaking from a Stourbridge canal after vandals caused £30,000 damage to a historic Stourbridge site. Police are investigating incidents of criminal damage caused to the boundary wall around the canal dry dock off Canal Street. ... “The damage is so severe that holes in the wall are starting to show, causing canal water to leak through the wall out onto the dry dock, which is now damaging the surrounding land.”...

  • Environment Agency search for tenants to take on business premises at Denver Sluice cambstimes.co.uk

    The Environment Agency is looking for a tenant to take on a 2.4-acre site at Denver Lock, on the banks of the River Great Ouse near Downham Market. The lock, well situated between Ely, Cambridgeshire, Downham Market and King’s Lynn, could be used for a variety of business including boat, canoe and cycle hire. The site already has a picnic area, parking, toilet, pump-out facility, access to a public slipway and a landing stage with water-point....

  • Fleet Air Arm Museum restores rare aircraft carrier news.bbc.co.uk

    The worlds' oldest aircraft carrier is being restored at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset. A 1918 Thorneycroft Seaplane Lighter was discovered in the River Thames by a maritime journalist who saw a rusting hull sticking out the water. Museum director Graham Mottram said he was astonished at the discovery. "I was well aware of the story of these seaplane lighters, but was astonished to find that one had survived intact," he said....

  • Rising from the depths - what ten volunteers pulled from the canal leamingtoncourier.co.uk

    Twenty shopping trolleys, eight bicycles, one motorbike, two sets of goalposts, 30ft of plastic piping and another 30ft of guttering were among the items pulled from the Grand Union Canal in one day last week. Volunteers from the Warwickshire branch of the Inland Waterways Association dragged the haul from the stretch of the canal around Europa Way on Tuesday using grappling hooks and drags....

  • ‘Nearly a sin’ boater admits to ‘careless’ driving along the Thames in Berkshire environment-agency.gov.uk

    A boater who drove a launch along the River Thames at such a speed that a water skier could have skied behind it has been ordered to pay a total of £475 by magistrates. Chris Thibault was fined £400, ordered to pay £60 costs and a £15 victim surcharge at Maidenhead Magistrates’ Court on Friday (25 February). ...


Saturday 26 February

Today's news from the web

  • Devizes canal bid to attract tourists thisiswiltshire.co.uk

    British Waterways is hoping that Lottery funding will enable it to set up a visitor attraction at Caen Hill flight of locks in Devizes. Plans have been drawn up for the recreation area, referred to as an enhanced visitor destination, on land near the existing café at the top of the flight of locks. ...


Tuesday 22 February

Today's news from the web

  • Government responds to 'Protect Our Canals' petition with 10-year plan hmg.gov.uk

    The government has finally replied to the 'Protect Our Canals' petition on the No.10 e-petition website of over a year ago, with a statement issued today. 

    The new 'charitable model' for British Waterways was announced last October, with full transition to the new charitable organisation by April 2012, with a longer term guaranteed funding model.  Today's statement confirms not only the transfer of BW's existing property portfolio, but an annual fixed grant giving support at the preannounced 2014/15 level (£39 million) through to 2022/23 - a much longer timescale than previously hinted. 

    This long-term fixed commitment is something BW has long requested, to allow it to plan more comprehensively for the future.    

    The official statement concludes: 

    "The Government will give the new charity the best start it can afford, with the transfer of the property portfolio and a long term contract.  As a first step, the Government has provided a new long term commitment to a grant allocation at the 2014/15 level (£39m) to 2022/23 inclusive (covering the next two Spending Review periods) that will enable the development of a funding plan which gives confidence to the incoming Trustees of the new charity.  The amount and length of the contract will be subject to negotiation with the Trustees, who will be appointed this April."

    ...

  • Canal towpath north of Audlem to close for a month crewechronicle.co.uk

    Ore than half a kilometre of canal towpath will be closed off near Audlem for a month for resurfacing work. Around 600m of the towpath from Bridge 80 southwards towards the village will be shut from Monday, February 28 as improvements are made to provide better access to Audlem. The stretch has become notorious for its muddiness which becomes almost impassable after heavy rainfall....

  • Volunteers clean up the River Thames in Isle of Dogs and uncover finds including a cannonball eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk

    Volunteers put on their wellies and unconcerned about the muck, got down to the edge of the River Thames in the Isle of Dogs today and yesterday to help in a river clean-up. Youngsters join in the deep clean in the River Thames near the Poplar slipway Taking advantage of the lowest tide this year to join in the deep clean organised by waterways charity Thames 21, they uncovered a cannon ball, an Indian passport, a giant tyre and a windlass, a mechanism used to winch ropes on sailing boats, thought to be over 100 years old. Around 100 volunteers over both days also got on with the task of clearing the foreshore of plastic bags which collect in the mud on the river bend and are harmful to birds and fish when they break down and are eaten. The charity says the Isle of Dogs is one of the worst affected areas for plastic bag litter in London and estimates that volunteers have removed 250,000 bags from this area since 2001....


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