Andrew Denny | 4.42pm | add a comment
Alice Griffin explains why her family chose to live on a narrowboat....
Andrew Denny | 1.21pm | add a comment
Celebrations broke out at the source of the River Thames when extreme runner Simon Barnes reached it after running for 57 hours from London. And Simon covered the 197.5 miles non-stop for Sport Relief. He took only 18 minutes for a power nap to combat dizziness, deafness and fatigue. Simon set off from the Thames Barrier last Friday at 7.48am and reached the source of the longest river in England near Coates at 4.58pm on Sunday....
A man who was wanted by police has been arrested after a 12-hour stand-off on a canal boat in Derbyshire. Armed officers and a police helicopter were deployed to an area of canal behind the Plough Inn in Town Street, Sandiacre, on Wednesday afternoon. [UPDATE from Derbyshire constabulary:] The incident at Sandiacre has been resolved. Just before 5.30am today a man who was wanted by police gave himself up after a stand-off with officers that lasted more than 12 hours. Yesterday afternoon the man was seen on a boat at the back of the Plough Inn on Town Street in Sandiacre. Armed officers attended and surrounded the boat. The police helicopter also attended. The man refused to leave the boat and specially trained negotiators were called to speak to him. The negotiations continued and as a result the 41-year-old man walked off the boat. He was arrested in connection with breach of a Violent Offender Order and on suspicion of burglary and theft. He will be questioned later in the day. No shots were fired and no-one was injured. No weapon was found on the boat. The police would like to thank the management of the Plough Inn for their co-operation during the incident and the public for their understanding if they were inconvenienced....
Andrew Denny | 5.21pm | add a comment
Four miles an hour might not sound like the sort of speed to set the pulse racing, but when you are about to squeeze a 57ft narrowboat through a 7ft gap, it feels quite fast enough. From zero to scary in a matter of seconds. I can’t look. It’s as much as I can do not to shut my eyes, so convinced am I that our vessel’s lovely fresh paintwork is about to get a good scrape. ...
Any hopes that Radio Leeds breakfast show presenters Adam Pope and Katherine Hannah may have had of easing into the challenge will have been dashed by a closer inspection of the schedule, at 16.5 miles (26.5km), day one is the longest single-day distance they will cover.... Adam Pope said: "This has been a real journey even before I set off. "I'm fitter and stronger - the rest is all in my head now. "Mentally, how tough am I to cope with what will be a massive challenge of endurance over the next 10 days?...
Andrew Denny | 11.26am | add a comment
Andrew Denny | 10.01am | add a comment
Ambitious plans for a 220-berth marina on the Grand Union Canal near North Kilworth have been given the nod. The plans, which were first approved more than a year ago only to be called-in by Harborough District Council and turned down at the second time of asking, received unanimous backing at a council planning committee meeting on Tuesday. Applicant Mike Goode said the plans had been altered since the last application to allay some of the fears over access to the site, which would be from the eastern edge of North Kilworth....
The new Friends of the Grand Western Canal organisation will come into existence next month with a launch event at the Tiverton Basin. The organisation’s chairman, Robert Hodgson, said the aim of the group is to support the management of the Grand Western Canal Country Park in Devon. He said: “The canal is a great resource for residents and visitors to our area....
The new chairs are:
· North East: Mark Penny, previously a director of Yorkshire Water and last year’s president of the Institute of Water.
· Central Shires: Charlotte Atkins, former MP for Staffordshire Moorlands.
· East Midlands: Danny Brennan of Brennan Interim, a management services company.
· London: Brian Fender, a former chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council.
· South East: John Best, formerly chief executive of Milton Keynes Council.
The new chairs will themselves shortly begin recruiting members for their respective waterways partnerships. Each partnership should include a selection of interests, including boaters, waterway users and local businesses and the community, as well as heritage and environmental specialists and people with experience in fundraising and volunteering.
Lynne Berry, CRT trustee and member of the Transition Appointments Committee, which selected the chairs, said: “As each will play an integral role, assisting with the management of 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales, it’s imperative that along with a passion for our waterways, they possess business leadership skills and be experienced influencers and negotiators.
The new chairs will also sit on the Trust’s national council, and are expected to bring experience in a number of important areas including regeneration and planning, partnership building and community engagement and water management and operations, as well as an understanding of how local and national government works.
Only the All-Wales Waterways Partnership role now remains to be filled.
Andrew Denny | 11.39am | add a comment
Walkers will find it easier to retrace the route of Melksham’s former waterway, thanks to grants which have paid for new signs. Volunteers with the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust have just finished placing the markers at various points where the canal once passed through the town. The 19 signs were paid for with a £200 grant from Melksham Town Council, £300 from the charity and almost £500 from Melksham Area Board....
Andrew Denny | 1.17pm | add a comment
The Thames Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on 3rd June will provide a unique opportunity for London to stress-test the Thames Barrier.
The Barrier is normally fully closed once a year to ensure it is working correctly. However, it is rarely kept closed for long, to avoid inconveniencing vessels passing through.
But on the day of the pageant the river will be closed to normal traffic. This will allow the Barrier to remain closed for 14 hours, from 9:30am to 11:30pm, ensuring the river contains sufficient water for the 1,000-strong flotilla and letting the barrier operators carry out a range of extra tests to see how it performs in extreme conditions.
"The pageant gives us a unique opportunity to test its design for a longer period than we would normally be able to”, said the Thames Barrier’s flood risk manager, Andy Batchelor. “We will be able to maintain a higher water level upstream than downstream, giving us a chance to test how the barrier performs under these conditions."
Andrew Denny | 12.56pm | add a comment
Cycling route charity Sustrans is to receive more than £1.4 million for upgrading canal towpaths in four places, at Oxford, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Leeds.
The money comes from the Department for Transport’s Community Linking Places fund, and will top up local funding to allow a total of £2.5 million in towpath improvements.
In Oxford, £350, 000 is to be spent on the towpath through the city’s Jericho district, including better access points to the waterway.
In the West Midlands, £604,000 is being added to the £500,000 already being spent on the Dudley no. 2 Canal Project. The canal will get extra towpath links to workplaces and schools. The funding will also replace steps with ramps on several bridges.
Another £1.1 million is to be spent on improving the towpath at Wolverhampton, including creating ‘excellent safe routes’ to schools.
Meanwhile, at Leeds, £450,000 will resurface 2km of towpath within the city, as part of the National Cycle Network’s Route 66, which runs from Hull to Manchester.
Andrew Denny | 12.42pm | add a comment
A booze ban canalside at Burton upon Trent will remain in force — after a Police Community Support officer won a second fight to keep it going. PCSO Chris Blanksby had to defend his application for the order on a stretch of land from Princess Way, Stretton, to the Shobnall Leisure Complex, before East Staffordshire Borough Council’s licensing committee for a second time yesterday following concerns raised about the extent of the ban. ... Margaret Woolley, senior enforcement officer at the borough council, said: “It is important to note that an (alcohol designation) order does not ban alcohol or drinking on the canal areas. It is merely a tool. If people are drinking responsibly and not causing a nuisance it will not affect them....
The draft order for moving British Waterways into the new
Canal & River Trust went before Parliament on 29th February. It will be
scrutinised by both Houses before it can be approved, under the simplified approval
process made possible by the Public Bodies Act 2011. The order is officially
British Waterways Board (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012.
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 brief two-page order is followed by lengthier schedules amending existing Parliamentary acts so that references to BW are changed to CRT for England and Wales, while BW continues to be the public body for the Scottish waterways.
The draft order to abolish the Inland Waterways Advisory Council (IWAC) has also been laid before Parliament. It includes one amendment to the British Waterways Act 1995, in respect of the make-up of the boat safety Standards Appeal Panel.
Andrew Denny | 2.55pm | add a comment
A new crackdown has been launched against boaters illegally mooring in Oxford. Members of the city’s boating community last night said the new strict regime was unnecessary and would force boaters out of Oxford. The crackdown was launched after Oxford City Council paid £44,000 towards work by the Unlawfully Moored Boats Enforcement Group (Umbeg), which also includes representatives from British Waterways, the Environment Agency, Thames Valley Police and other landowners....
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