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Thursday 24 May

Waterways Renaissance Awards winners announced

The winners of the 2012 Waterways Renaissance Awards have been announced.
Twenty-nine outstanding projects along canals and rivers in the UK were recognised at a dinner and reception at the ICC in Birmingham. Winners include the Peace Bridge, constructed to unite two once divided communities in Derry~Londonderry, the Granary Wharf in Leeds and the pioneering White Cart Water flood prevention scheme in Glasgow.
The innovative youth volunteering project, Waterways Action Squad won the inaugural Volunteering award. Based across north-west England, the project was the first of its kind to specifically target young people and encourage them to discover, use and care for canals and rivers in the region.
The Droitwich Canals Retoration received a special Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of this landmark restoration and regeneration project.
This is the 10th year of the Waterways Renaissance Awards,and the last to be run by The Waterways Trust, which merges into the Canal and River Trust shortly. The Awards will continue, but will be organised by the CRT from next year.  This year's awards are sponsored by CPC Civils, Galliford Try, Hyder Consulting and May Gurney 
Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive, explains: “This is the tenth year of the Waterway Renaissance Awards and it is truly inspiring to see that, even in these very challenging economic times, people and organisations  are continuing to work together to realise the benefits of our canals and rivers for communities across the UK. All projects mentioned should be justifiably proud of all that they have achieved.”
The full list of 2012 winners and runners-up: 
Outstanding Achievement Award: 
Droitwich Canals Restoration
Area-based Regeneration
Winner: Granary Wharf, Leeds
Winner: Canals for the Community, Stoke on Trent
Runner-up: Ladywell Fields, Lewisham
Commended: Dewsbury Waterways
Commended: Revitalisation of the Monkland Canal, Glasgow
Design & Construction
Winner: The Peace Bridge, Derry/Londonderry
Runner-up: A11 Bow Riverside
Commended: Dutton Upper Horse Bridge, Cheshire
Commended: Granary Wharf, Leeds
Education & Learning
Winner: Lagan Legacy, Belfast
Runner-up: Beauchamp Lodge’s On the Waterfront
Commended: Waterways Action Squad
Flood Risk Management
Winner: White Cart Flood Prevention Scheme, Glasgow
Runner-up: Tregaron Flood Alleviation Scheme
Historic Environment
Winner: Heritage Boatyard & Restoration of Mendip, National Waterways Museum
Runner-up: Bath Bridges & Chimney Restoration
Commended: Cefn Flight of 14 Locks – Education through restoration
Winner: A11 Bow Riverside Footbridge & Walkway
Commended: Kings Cross Central Canal Fund Masterplan
Natural Environment
Winner: Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail
Runner-up: Beam Parklands
Winner: Wallbridge Project, Cotswold Canals
Runner-up: Leeds Waterfront Festival  
Commended: Long Preston Deeps                                         
Commended: Tregaron Flood Alleviation Scheme
Commended: River Nene Infrastructure Improvement 
Recreation & Tourism
Winner: Leeds Waterfront Festival                         
Strategy & Masterplanning
Winner: Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy
Runner-up: Bedford Waterspace Study                
Commended: Spalding Waterspace Study           
Commended: Kings Cross Central Canal Fund Masterplan
Winner: Waterways Action Squad                           
Runner-up: Avon Vale, Kennet & Avon Canal
Commended: Langley Mill Swingbridge, Nottinghamshire

Andrew Denny  | 10.15am | add a comment

Wednesday 23 May

BW wins case against ‘continuous moorers’

British Waterways believes it can finally crack down more strictly on those who abuse continuous cruising rules, after gaining a judgment in its favour in the High Court.  

Nick Brown, legal officer of the National Bargee Travellers Association, had applied for a judicial review of BW’s new ‘Guidance for boaters without a home mooring’. This was issued last year after their previous ‘Mooring guidance for continuous cruisers’ was criticised by a judge in an earlier case.  

Nick Brown had argued that even the new guidance was contrary to waterways law and was in breach of the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.

However, in the High Court on 9th May, Mr Justice Eder turned down his application, saying that ‘it does not give rise to any properly arguable basis for judicial review.’ 

The judge decided that British Waterways' new rules are now consistent with the British Waterways Act 1995, and that it was ‘misconceived’ that the guidance represents a breach of the Human Rights Act or Equality Act. 

Nick Brown is now faced with paying BW’s costs, estimated at £15,000.

“Revisions to ‘Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers’ were made in 2011 following the earlier judgement in the BW v Davies case”, said  a BW spokesman. “We had consulted with a user group of representatives from national boating organisations – including Mr Brown – on revisions to the guidelines in light of the judgement. 

“The refined and updated guidelines are now called ‘Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring’.”

Andrew Denny  | 4.58pm | add a comment

BW develops Big Lottery funding application for Midlands recycling schemes

British Waterways says it is developing a Big Lottery funding application for £1 million to encourage and develop new recycling schemes on the waterways. 

The application is being made in conjunction with the Waterways Trust, the IWA, Groundwork West Midlands and some marinas in the Central Shires waterway region.

In preparation for the application BW wants feedback from canal users about their current levels of recycling. They have developed a 'quick on-line questionnaire' which they would like as many boaters as possible to fill in by Sunday 10th June 2012.  They say you don't have to be a Midlands boater - you can be a boater in any part of the country. Just so long as you have experienced the problem of trying to dispose of rubbish and have wanted to sort it for recycling. 

You can find the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/YPFBDMC

If you wanted to get more involved with the application on a volunteering level, contact stephen.cook@groundwork.org.uk

Andrew Denny  | 2.43pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Council cash gives Droitwich Canals Trust trip boat 'Pamela May' a makeover droitwichstandard.co.uk

    Droitwich's popular charity trip boat, the Pamela May, has been given a fresh new look thanks in part to a £500 grant from Worcestershire County Council. The boat has been serviced and re-painted at Brookline Narrowboats in Dunhampstead during the winter in preparation for the new canal cruising season. And as a part of the work, the Droitwich Waterways (Pamela May) Trust secured a Community Arts Grant to commission Andy Edwards from the Forge Gallery to come up with classical canal boat art. ...

  • Teen takes over Caen Hill Locks waterways cafe thisiswiltshire.co.uk

    At just 19, Alice O’Brien must be one of the youngest – if not the youngest – entrepreneurs in Wiltshire. Miss O’Brien, from Avon Road, Devizes, took over the Caen Hill Café on the historic flight of locks at Devizes in January and she is delighted at the way it is thriving. She said: “I opened on January 20, probably the worst time of year to take it over, but things have been going really well. “The good weather in March helped and the Easter holidays were really good. Now we just need a nice spell of weather over the summer and we’re fine.”...

  • Wiltshire firefighters spread boat safety message on Kennet & Avon canal thisiswiltshire.co.uk

    Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting boaters along the Kennet & Avon Canal as part of boat safety week next week. Boat safety advisor Rob Buckland will be travelling along the Wiltshire stretch of the canal between May 31 and June 5 to offer free safety advice and free smoke detectors to people who live, work or are holidaying on the water. He will also be giving advice on the dangers to boat users from carbon monoxide....

  • Fears over future of Lydney Docks thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    Fears remain that the future of Lydney Docks could hang in the balance. Speculation has been growing that site, owned by the Environment Agency, could be sold off to a private owner. Bosses from the Government department have refused to be drawn on the rumour, insisting they are looking at every option before making any decision....

  • Non-swimmer non-lifejacketed deckhand drowned when Thames tugboat sank wharf.co.uk

    No-one was nominated to take charge of a towing operation that ended with the death of a tugboat crewman, an accident report has concluded. Deckhand Darren Lacey, 40, was a non-swimmer and was not wearing a life jacket. He was pulled under the water when his tug, the Chiefton, collided with a barge and capsized near Greenwich in August last year....

  • Weed boats launched for Games clean up waterscape.com

    British Waterway has launched two new weed boats that will service London’s waterways during the Olympics and beyond. The new boats have been paid for by a £300,000 grant from the Environment Agency, and are being employed as part of the Big Waterways Clean Up, the ongoing London-wide initiative to clean the canals and rivers. One of the boats is being called 'Wenville', presumably in honour of the Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville. The other is as yet unnamed, so BW is inviting people to send in their suggestions for a name for the weed boat. The winner will be invited to christen the boat at the first volunteer event after the Games, where the name plaque will be unveiled. The name needs to be 10 characters or fewer to fit on the boat. Email suggestions to fran.read@britishwaterways.co.uk ...

Tuesday 22 May

First draft of coming winter stoppages revealed

British Waterways have announced the initial draft of their planned maintenance works for the coming winter season, 2012-13. 

This year’s works programme will be the first in its new guise as the Canal & River Trust, although it is not expected to contain any surprises. Winter cruising enthusiasts should find their needs mostly catered for over Christmas and the New Year, with few long stoppages or ‘double stoppages trapping boaters on short stretches for long periods. 

Long stoppages – in some cases for the entire winter season from early November through to mid-March – are proposed for the Lancaster Canal’s northern Capenwray embankment; on the Huddersfield Narrow in Huddersfield itself; on the Leeds & Liverpool canal near Bingley and near Liverpool; and on the western Trent & Mersey near Middlewich (putting the kibosh on a Christmas Four Counties Ring cruise – sorry!) 

Also mooted for winter-long stoppage is the BCN’s Netherton Tunnel, where they will investigate long-running concerns with the stability of the tunnel – and on the Kennet & Avon, where the entire Caen Hill flight at Devizes will be closed. The Llangattock stretch of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal will also be closed all winter, to investigate continuing problems on that stretch. 

No stoppages are shown for the newly restored East London waterways around the Olympic Park, which should by then be free of national security concerns. Whether this is because of the massive amounts of money and maintenance already invested in this area, or because the waterways will be open to public navigation is not mentioned at this stage. 

But these are only proposals. Boaters are invited to comment on them via the Waterscape website – which is likely to be the Canal & River Trust website by the time the stoppages list is confirmed in September. Visit http://www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/boating/proposed-stoppage 

The list is available as a 'CSV' for viewing in spreadsheets, or as a 'pick-off list' for selecting the waterways you are interested in. Perhaps more handily, it is also available as regional PDF maps, where the stoppages are shown colour-coded. Yellow stoppages mean before the New Year, blue are for spring stoppages, while the glaring red shows stoppages that will stretch both sides of the new year and will impede navigation for several months.  

BW's draft stoppages for 2012-13 winter season -
available as handy colour-coded maps, or filtered by waterway.

Andrew Denny  | 1.21pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Stover canal restoration gets £44,000 to create footpaths thisissouthdevon.co.uk

    Stover Canal Trust has been given a £44,000 boost days after getting the go-ahead to start work on creating footpaths along parts of the ancient and historically important watercourse. Roger Harding, the man who has been at the helm of the project over the last decade, said: "This is so fantastic — it's another huge step in keeping this important piece of history alive." The cash boost has come from the Landfill Communities Fund, distributed by Ugbrooke Environmental Limited through the Viridor Credits....

  • Rickmansworth canal festival 'an amazing success' watfordobserver.co.uk

    This year's Rickmansworth Canal Festival was "an amazing success that everybody in the community wants to be a part of" said organisers. The event, which took place over two days this weekend, featured a flyover of World War Two aeroplanes as part of the Queen’s 60th Jubilee Battle of Britain Flypast....

  • Money set aside for new £1.5million cycle bridge over River Cam cambridge-news.co.uk

    Plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Cam at Chesterton have moved a step closer after £1.5 million of funding was earmarked. The bridge would go from Fen Road on the north bank to the footpath on the south, and would provide a link to the proposed Chesterton station. The funding has been suggested by Cambridgeshire County Council, and Bob Menzies, its head of infrastructure delivery, said he hoped the bridge could be completed by the time the station opens in 2015. It would also fill a missing gap in the Chisholm Trail route which Cambridge Cycling Campaign has been pushing for. Member Robin Heydon described the progress as “very encouraging”....

  • Plans for £15m Northamptonshire marina and wildlife haven bbc.co.uk

    A new £15m inland marina with 550 berths and a wildlife haven could be built in Northamptonshire. Barby Pool Marina at Onley Park, near Daventry, has been designed by the Kirkland Fraser Moor partnership which was responsible for the Eden project. The 36 hectare (89 acre) site will have half of its land dedicated to wildlife and 4km of new footpaths. Daventry District Council recently received a planning application from J Marine Ltd. ... Dawn Cotton, secretary to Onley Park residents association, said: "This could alter the image of the village which will become known as the village located next to the marina rather than its current status as the village situated next to three prisons." ...

Monday 21 May

BW holds final surplus inventory sale

For some time British Waterways has been gradually selling off much of its existing stock of workboats, contractor plant and associated working equipment. BW has had a policy of wherever possible using contract rental, on the basis that much of the equipment goes unused for long periods, and it is cheaper to rent rather than buy and have to use expensive asset management programmes. 

Now BW is holding what will probably be its last auction sale of surplus equipment under its own name, before it becomes the Canal and River Trust. 

The auction, on online website GoIndustry DoveBid, expires at 1pm on Thursday 23rd May. It includes a range of workboats (both powered and unpowered), assorted contractors plant including Ruston Bucyrus and Priestman tracked excavators, compressor, generator welders, chainsaws, hedgetrimmers, strimmers, generators, pumps and a wide range of power hand tools.


Andrew Denny  | 4.06pm | add a comment

Plans for 250 homes canalside near Fradley

Housing development firm Wilson Bowden Developments have announced plans for up to 250 homes lining the Coventry Canal at Fradley. The proposed 55-acre development, on farmland off Hay End Lane and currently occupied by a pig farm, is likely to meet opposition from councillors concerned about congestion on the nearby A38 road. However, there appears to be no objection from British Waterways. 

Andrew Denny  | 11.56am | add a comment

Canal & River Trust launch gets contingency dates – 28th June and 12th July

As official parliamentary approval of the new Canal & River Trust get closer, British Waterways officials have set ‘contingency dates’ for the official launch events.  

The current plan is for an official nationwide launch of the Trust on 28th June. However, after talking to Defra about the necessary parliamentary process timescales, word has gone out to staff to prepare for a possible launch date of 12th July. 

“We’re waiting for the government to confirm the dates for the final parliamentary debates of its official Transfer Order,” a spokesman said, in a statement published in the staff newspaper BW Monthly. “But the debates might not take place until the middle of June. This would mean a launch on 28th June would be very tight. So, for now, please keep both afternoons – 28th June and 12th July – free in your diaries.”

More than 30 BW staff attended a recent workshop to come up with ideas for celebrating the launch, at 11 locations around the country. They discussed what BW Monthly called “a guide format that will hopefully achieve the right balance of feeling part of a big company-wide celebration while allowing local flavour – and most important of all, making sure we have fun at this momentous time in the waterways’ history.”

Andrew Denny  | 11.27am | add a comment

Every little helps, as Tesco agrees to pay for Stalybridge canal trolley recovery

The local Tesco store alongside the Huddersfield Canal in Stalybridge has agreed to meet the costs of fishing its trolleys out of the canal at Stalybridge.

In a deal brokered by local Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, British Waterways have agreed to make regular visits to the stretch of the canal to keep it clear of trolleys and other debris – with the clean-up costs being met by the supermarket chain.

British Waterways says that in the past three years more than 200 trolleys have been retrieved from this stretch of the canal, taking its resources away from other projects. Even the automatic wheel locks fitted to the trolleys if they are pushed over a line has failed to solve the problem.

The canal channel through Stalybridge, built in the 1990s, has a hard concrete bottom, and it is thought that trolleys are causing greater navigational problems than normal here, because they cannot be pushed into silt or mud, but present a greater barrier to boats. 

BW's David Baldacchino said: "We have been working closely with Tesco to try and reach a solution to this on-going problem which is spoiling the environment and causing damage to boats. I am pleased that we have agreed to carry out regular clean-ups with the help of Tesco.

"The new Canal & River Trust will be calling on the help and support of the local community in Stalybridge to get involved with their local waterway by volunteering and helping care for their canal."

Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, welcomed the agreement, saying: "I have been talking to Tesco and British Waterways about this issue for a number of weeks and I am delighted that they are now taking such an active role to clear up the canal. 

"Supermarkets are clearly not responsible for the anti-social behaviour of those who think it is acceptable to dump litter and trolleys in this way. But the canalside location of this particular store makes it a particular problem in Stalybridge, so I am pleased that British Waterways and Tesco are taking this proactive approach."

Anna Wisnoiwski, manager of Tesco Stalybridge, insisted that they worked hard to ensure the trolleys were collected and secured every night. “We are always looking for new ways to prevent trolleys being stolen and we're grateful to customers who make us aware of abandoned trolleys, as it enables us to collect them quickly."

Andrew Denny  | 10.51am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Local families protest over new Stroud canal slipway thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    People living in and around Strachans Close, Stroud, beside the restored Stroudwater Navigation, have strongly opposed the plan for the slipway off their street. The householders, and more in nearby Chestnut Lane, argued that to mix their children playing in the street with 4x4s pulling boats on trailers was unsafe. They also complained about existing traffic congestion due to the closeness of two large and busy secondary schools, and industrial units. Despite around 50 letters from the public, mostly protesting about the scheme, the slipway for the Stroud Valleys Canals Company has just gained permission. The consent was granted by planning officials at Stroud District Council who used their delegated powers to allow it. But because the council is also leading the Cotswold Canals Project to restore waterways some residents felt their opposition was overlooked....

  • Luxury flat owners’ horror as Regents Canal boats moor up outside their homes hackneygazette.co.uk

    Officers from Hackney Council are investigating a breach in planning, after a dozen houseboats suddenly moored up outside a block of luxury flats in the Kingsland Basin. The barges owned by the Canals in Hackney User Group (CHUG) have been at the west side of the basin just off the Regent’s Canal since 1983. So property owners in the former spice factory Quebec Wharf were horrified to look out of their windows one day and find they had turned up unannounced, along with their floating allotment....

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