Police have launched a crackdown on crime on waterways across North Staffordshire. The Canal Watch scheme will see officers patrol trouble spots along Staffordshire's 154 miles of canal towpath to keep them safe....
Andrew Denny | 11.58am | add a comment
Weeks of dry weather have sparked drought fears across the Midlands – with the River Severn almost running dry in parts. These pictures show how the water level of one of the Midlands’ main waterways has dipped alarmingly in Bridgnorth from its usual buoyant levels, mirroring the picture for other rivers in the region. Half as much water is flowing through them as in the great drought of 1976, experts said today. And river flows on the Severn are the second lowest on record for this time of year....
Letter to the Northwich Guardian: "Plans to restore the Lion Salt Works in Marston and open it as a ‘working museum and conference centre’ [are] so removed from the original as to become almost worthless... "If the museum is as successful as its supporters hope it’s going to be, the volume of large vehicles using an old, narrow canal bridge is surely going to grow massively. In my opinion, this provides the classic circumstances for an accident waiting to happen. ...
A LEGEND of Middlewich's waterways who died in March following a long illness had a send off to match her remarkable life on Friday. Maureen Shaw's coffin was transported by boat along the Trent and Mersey Canal from her former home at Wardle Lock to the funeral at St Michael's Church. The narrowboat Tay transported Maureen for her final voyage which is the sister boat of Spey, which she used when she worked on the canals. Around 50 people followed the boat on foot along the towpath to pay their respects....
The Canal and River Trust began to take firmer shape in March, with the convening of the 35-member Council in Birmingham, and the confirmation of the transition trustees in permanent roles.
In a surprise announcement, chairman Tony Hales said he would step down in April next year. However, no announcement was made about the BW directors, who were expected to continue in the same roles in the new Trust.
Much of the focus of this inaugural meeting was in the members getting to know each other and understanding their role and powers. All council members are appointed for fixed four year terms. One of their key tasks was to confirm the 11 transition trustees in their roles for an initial three years.
The Council will meet twice yearly, with the next meeting scheduled for September. All meeting minutes will be published online.
Meanwhile, on 29th February Parliament began scrutinising the draft order for turning British Waterways into the new Canal & River Trust. The delays introduced by the extended negotiating over funding of the Trust means that Parliament’s approval is unlikely to be forthcoming before early May.
The path to the new Trust has not been smooth. In particular, several people have questioned the legitimacy of the process that has led to the Council convening at all. To try to answer these questions, BW gave a six-point summary of the issues of setting up the new Canal & River Trust on its website, pointing out that Parliament had never attempted anything quite like this; there was no precedent to the process.
Andrew Denny | 9.47am | add a comment
Boaters are complaining their mooring fees have risen by more than a third in three years on a stretch of the Oxford Canal in the city. Thirteen boaters live on narrowboats near Hythe Bridge Street in the city centre and pay for residential moorings from British Waterways. The cost is set to rise to £194.66 a year from April – up eight per cent on the previous year’s fees. Boaters say that means an increase of more than 33 per cent since 2010 and could force them to move elsewhere....
Volunteers have spent the past three-and-a-half years clearing Briggate Mill Pond which had become completely choked with trees, shrubs and weeds, according to David Revill, work party organiser with the East Anglian Waterways Association. The pond is part of the near nine-mile North Walsham and Dilham Canal, which has been neglected since 1934 when the last wherry sailed there. Locals remembered swimming and canoeing around Briggate Mill pond some 20-30 years ago but it had been overgrown and without water for several years, said Mr Revill, who is also a trustee of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal Trust, formed in 2008....
The River Great Ouse in the heart of King’s Lynn may have to be dredged for the first time in six years amid falling water levels and a drought. The river is being regularly monitored by the Conservancy Board as it dropped to 1.4m during low tide this week – leaving ferry passengers having to use a temporary jetty to get to the boat. There are now concerns about the impact the drought might have on the river and the town’s harbour....
Canal chiefs are reducing the times that locks are open to save water as the drought worsens. ... It means boaters may face long queues to pass through locks and officials fear the bottlenecks could cause ‘lock rage’. An Inland Waterways Association spokesman said: ‘There will be lock rage incidents. Some will even “jump” locks.’ He explained that the latter occurs when two boats approach a narrow lock and race to be the first in. ...
A report into the heritage of Lancaster's Canal Corridor North Area has recommended further research into its "archaeological potential". The report by The Conservation Studio was commissioned by English Heritage and developer Centros. A £150m proposal for the area by Centros was rejected following a public inquiry in 2009....
The Cotswold Canals Trust was said to be ‘shocked and frustrated’ that although it came second in the recent British Gas Energyshare scheme to win funding for its Dudbridge Locks hydro plan, it was passed over in the final selection. The winning projects were ranked 3rd, 4th, 15th, 17th and 23rd in public votes.
“Anyone visiting the Energyshare website would have understood that the public vote effectively chose who got funded””, said CCT chief executive Ken Burgin. “The small print did indeed give Energshare the right to select the finalists, but we assumed this gave them the opportunity to reject non-viable schemes. Instead, they used this to pick who they fancied with scant regard for public support.
“If they wanted to do this, they should have done it before wasting everyone’s time and pointlessly raising everyone’s hopes.”
Andrew Denny | 4.47pm | add a comment
The Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club has dropped the ‘Owners’ part of its name. The club said that the requirement of members to actually own a historic boat was removed a few years ago, and the change reflects this.
Now called HNBC, the club was founded in 1966 as the Narrow Boat Owners Club, at a time when nearly all traditional narrow boats were ex-working boats. At the time, nearly all leisure boats were small cruisers, and the needs of these original ‘knights of the waterways’ were overlooked. ‘Historic’ was added in 1989, since by then their numbers were being overtaken by the modern form of narrowboat.
The club says it wants to draw in anybody who shares its aims, whether or not they actually own a narrowboat. The aims include the preservation and operation of traditional working boat, campaigning for waterways heritage, and training new people in the working practices of such boats, so that the skills are not lost. In particular the club wants to ensure that the waterways are properly navigable for all such full-length deep-drafted boats. “Because wherever they can go, anyone can go!”, is their mantra.
Andrew Denny | 2.35pm | add a comment
Works to restore the 200-year old Lune Aqueduct is reaching the final stages as British Waterways’ contractors complete main repairs and improvement works. Following a £1 million pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in January 2011, which was matched funded by British Waterways and partners, a £2.4m programme of works to restore the 200-year old aqueduct to its former glory has been undertaken. The two-year restoration of the Lune Aqueduct included repairing the canal channel, removing vegetation and graffiti, undertaking re-pointing and masonry repairs and improving public access to this historically significant site....
Stroud’s canal ‘missing link’ is set to be plugged this year, with contractors moving in to build a new 330m length of canal just below Dr Newton’s Way. The £2m contract at Capels Mill has been awarded by Stroud District Council to Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd of Abergavenny, a company specialising in canal and waterway work....
A civil servant with a strong sense of duty, Sylvian Godfroy literally lives for his work. Mr Godfroy is a lock keeper on the Canal du Midi which runs through Toulouse. Originally he wanted to be a vet but fell in love with a lock keeper's daughter and now lives on the canal, housed by the state, at one of the city's locks. The canal has shaped his life in many ways. He has been working on it for over 30 years, a fact which has earned him the nickname 'Papy' or grandad from his workmates....
'I thought I was going to die, but didn't want to leave my wife': Family's incredible escape from sinking car that plunged into canal and filled with water BMW hit a brick and careered from the road into a canal Heroic firefighters jumped into the water and helped save the lives of elderly couple Two teenage schoolboys also praised after joining in with the rescue effort ...
The Canal & River Trust, the new waterways charity due to become the guardian of the canals and rivers in England and Wales later this year, has appointed its first members to three of the new waterways partnerships.
The partnerships work with the local management teams to guide the development of canals and rivers in their areas.
The Manchester & Pennines partnership, chaired by Walter Menzies and with David Baldacchino as waterway manager, will consist of Tayo Adebowale, Ian Banks, Graham Birch, Dave Champness, Lynda Jubb, Keith Sexton, Nigel Stevens, Jon Stopp, Iain Taylor and Mark Turner.
The North Wales & Borders partnership, chaired by Jim Forrester and managed by Wendy Capelle, includes Belinda Davenport, Gillian Edwards, Bill Furniss, Chris Koral, Helen Paterson, Alan Platt, Jane Staley and Steve Stamp.
The South Wales & Severn partnership is chaired by Jack Hegarty, and managed by Nick Worthington. Members are Grant Addison, Julian Atkins, Jan van Der Elsen, Lois Frances, Alasdair Kirkpatrick, Clive Matthews, Robert Moreland, Robert Pearce and David Wheeler.
Further details of the appointments, and backgrounds of the new members, can be found on www.waterscape.com/features-and-articles/news/3303/waterways-partnerships-announce-appointment-of-new-members
Andrew Denny | 11.06am | add a comment
In an echo of the annual winter works stoppages, BW has started to put out maps showing lock closures and opening hours in areas with growing water shortages.
The maps can be found on the new ‘Reservoir Watch’ section of the Waterscape web site. A national map showing where drought restrictions are biting will be supplemented by more detailed maps focusing on the areas in question. The restrictions include a series of overnight lock closures, restricted opening hours and an obligation on boaters to share locks where possible, to help eke out critical reservoir levels.
It has been the driest year on record in some parts of southern and central England, and the Environment Agency recently confirmed official drought conditions in the South East.
And yet, for waterways users, it still appears to be a localised problem. Currently, six areas have a ‘critical’ water situation:
The Northampton arm of the Grand Union (down to the River Nene) will also close from mid-April, opening only briefly on specific dates for boat festivals. This will protect the water supply on the more critical route from Buckby locks down as far as Milton Keynes. The Hillmorton and Calcutt locks drawing their water from the ‘Braunston pound’ will also see restrictions.
BW staff will consider other special openings at certain peak times, such as bank holidays, the Crick Boat Show or boaters attending the Olympics or the Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
The maps clearly show a ‘compartmentalised’ situation, with no restrictions planned in other areas.
Vince Moran, operations director, is urging boaters to go to other areas of the country:
“Only a small proportion of the network will be affected so if boaters don’t need to be in the South East then what better opportunity to explore another hidden corner of the nationwide canal system?”
Andrew Denny | 4.40pm | add a comment
Andrew Denny | 4.40pm | add a comment
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