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Monday 30 January

Funding deal reached for Canal & River Trust

It's clear that the Canal & River Trust transition trustees have reached a deal on future funding of the waterways, with a statement (below) issued over the weekend by Defra. It says that the amount promised will be 'significantly more' than the annual £39 million originally announced, spread over 15 years, rather than the 10 years previously stated. The details are expected to come this week. 

The Defra statement doesn't mention boats and navigation in the announcement, nor is there yet an announcement on the official launch of the Trust.  

Defra statement:  

This week, Environment Minister Richard Benyon is expected to reveal an unprecedented fifteen year funding settlement for the new Canal & River Trust - a new “national trust” for the waterways in England and Wales.

In order to provide financial security for the future of the waterways and help the new Trust get off to the best possible start, Defra has already committed to provide a £460 million property endowment and £390 million funding for the next 10 years.

The figure announced next week is likely to be significantly more than this.

Responsibility for Britain’s canals and rivers will be transferred from British Waterways to the new Canal & River Trust later this year. The new Trust will give local communities and stakeholders a greater role in caring for our network of 200-year old canals and rivers. 

It will be able to harness the support of thousands of supporters and volunteers, allowing it to save money and putting decision-making into the hands of people who use and cherish the waterways the most. 

This will facilitate the maintenance and restoration of 2,000 miles of heritage sites, wildlife habitats and open spaces along our waterways. 

The Canal & River Trust’s charitable status will mean new opportunities for revenue through donations, charitable grants and legacies, increased borrowing powers, efficiencies and volunteering activity.

A record 13 million people currently visit British Waterways’ canals and rivers every year, and over half the population lives within about ten minutes of a waterway.


Andrew Denny  | 11.19am | add a comment


Today's news from the web

  • UK told to prepare for mass floods in future independent.co.uk

    Flooding caused by heavier rainfall will be the major threat to Britain from climate change in the coming decades, potentially costing the country billions a year, a new assessment of the risks of global warming concluded yesterday....

  • Canal & River Trust gets 15-yr guaranteed funding with 'significantly more' than £39million independent.co.uk

    Britain's canals and rivers get new lease of life with funding pledge: Britain's waterways are about to receive a boost with an announcement next week by Richard Benyon, the Environment Minister, of a new 15-year funding settlement. It will help secure the financial future of the new Canal & River Trust, a "national trust" for canals and rivers which takes over from British Waterways in April. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has committed to provide a £460m property endowment and £390m of funding for the next 10 years, but next week's news is likely to include significantly more money. The trust will give local communities a greater role in caring for Britain's 2,200 miles of waterways....


Sunday 29 January

Today's news from the web

  • Rare glimpse of drained 18th Century Bingley Five Rise Locks bbc.co.uk

    Thousands of people have queued to get a rare glimpse of an 18th Century lock system in West Yorkshire. The Five Rise Locks in Bingley has been drained to allow engineers to replace its giant gates. The £200,000 job takes place once every 25 years. People have been visiting the locks on the Leeds Liverpool Canal for more than 230 years. British Waterways has opened them to the public, who can wander through the chambers until 17:00 GMT on Sunday.


    [A nice Freudian slip from the TV reporter in the video clip (0:45): "These new lock gates - they are enormous, and they weigh a lot of money..."]
    ...


Friday 27 January

Today's news from the web

  • Customs raid on Leeds U-Boat yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

    The captain of a German U-Boat moored in Leeds has been arrested by customs officers as part of a fraud probe. A raiding party boarded the craft – in reality a converted barge – while it was tethered to a jetty behind the Royal Armouries. They arrested its self-styled captain, Richard Williams. In a fraud investigation, HMRC officers swooped on the replica U-Boat “U-8047” – the converted narrowboat is run as a museum – early yesterday morning. (January 26)...


Wednesday 25 January

Today's news from the web

  • Jubilee pageant cruise? That'll be £250 - Thames boats defy order not to profiteer thisislondon.co.uk

    Thames passenger boats are charging up to £250 a ticket for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee pageant despite being ordered not to profiteer from the event. An Evening Standard investigation found a number of operators have increased their prices in defiance of a request not to charge more than New Year's Eve rates. Today the organisers of the 1,000-boat flotilla launched an immediate inquiry. The Standard found that one operator, Thames Cruises, which has four boats taking part in the June 3 pageant to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne, is charging between £149 and £229 - compared with £65 to £115 for New Year's Eve. A Thames Cruises spokeswoman said: "We're charging more because we're giving more. The tickets include champagne and lovely tea. You don't get all of that on New Year's Eve."...

  • Ground investigation works to take place in Boston for new tidal barrier environment-agency.gov.uk

    The Environment Agency is to carry out a survey of the ground below the bed of the Boston Haven as part of its ongoing work towards a proposed multi-million flood barrier for the town. Contractors will be working round-the-clock from a special barge to carry out ground investigations to gain detailed information about the geology and ground conditions beneath the riverbed. The information will be used by engineers during the design of the Boston Barrier and Haven flood defence improvements. Mike Dugher, Area Coastal Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The works are a vital step towards the proposed Boston Barrier. They will ensure the final design of the scheme is as effective as it can be in helping to prevent flooding and improving the river for navigation.”...


Tuesday 24 January

Today's news from the web

  • Brand Report: British Waterways thirdsector.co.uk

    "[The new Canal & River Trust logo] needs to carve out its place and make the case for the essential role canals and waterways play in our lives, rather than just being a nice place to hang out. I don't feel the new logo will do this. It's a nice piece of design - but that's not the point."...


Monday 23 January

Today's news from the web

  • Princess Royal to open new Wallbridge Lock & Bridge at Stroud on Feb 10th cotswoldcanals.com

    Hrh The Princess Royal will be visiting the Cotswold Canals Project at Wallbridge, Stroud on Friday 10th February. She will open Wallbridge Upper Lock, Stroud Brewery Bridge and tour the Canal Visitor Centre. Cllr Keith Pearson, Deputy Leader of Stroud District Council said: "We are very pleased that Her Royal Highness is honouring us with a visit to the important canal developments at Wallbridge....

  • I'm no monarchist but I can't wait to join Thames royal pageant, says Jenny Jones thisislondon.co.uk

    Green mayoral candidate Jenny Jones told today how she is excited to be taking part in the Thames flotilla to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Despite not supporting the monarchy, she and her partner have secured a place for their narrowboat, which she keeps berthed on the Regent's Canal at St Pancras, in the three-times oversubscribed 1,000-boat pageant. Ms Jones, a Green member of the London Assembly who will challenge Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone in the May 3 election, told the Standard: "We put our name forward because we thought it would be a hoot. It's not just the pageant itself, but being on the river with 999 other boats. I'm not a royalist by any stretch of the imagination - I'm an egalitarian - but how can you resist?" ...


Saturday 21 January

Picture of the day: In the archives - 'dead policemen' at Hatton Locks

A sign at (we think) Hatton Locks. When did 'sleeping policeman' become 'dead'? 
We aren't sure when this photo ended up in the archives, or where it came from, but our guess is the 1970s.


Andrew Denny  | 7.31pm | add a comment


Friday 20 January

'Gloriana' to lead the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

It can now be revealed that the “mystery” vessel being constructed in a secret location by the Richmond boatyard run by Mark Edwards will be a massive 88 ft long, with a 12 ft beam and will closely resemble the Royal Shallop shown in last month’s Waterways World. It is almost certain that it will lead the pageant, bearing military trumpeters to herald the arrival of the Queen. 

With the Queen’s Bargemaster at the helm, Olympic oarsman, Sir Steven Redgrave will join a further 17 of Her Majesty’s 24 watermen to row the ten-ton craft, which will be called the Gloriana. She will be graced with a mermaid and serpent and will be decorated with around £4,000 worth of gold leaf, reminiscent of the spectacular boats belonging to the 12 great livery companies that formed the18th century pageants that so impressed Canaletto. 

Mayor Boris Johnson said the barge will be a "truly striking addition to the Jubilee celebrations". Her cabin will be able to accommodate 58 passengers and she will be fitted with two electric engines for use if necessary in strong tides.

Initially, the vessel was to carry the Queen and other members of the royal family to Hampton Court, but unfortunately, this plan was defeated by extensive health and safety issues, and the role was subsequently allocated to the Spirit of Chartwell. However, Gloriana will afterwards be presented to the Queen. 

Alternative space had to be found to build the boat – hence the secret location - because she was too big to fit inside any of the boatyard’s buildings, so although she will be kept at Richmond, she will remain afloat. 

As the Queen’s official royal barge, it is anticipated that in the future, she will regularly be called upon to take part in ceremonial and charity events. The £500,000 cost is being underwritten by the Conservative peer, Lord Sterling, who not surprisingly is hoping to receive donations!  He said: "If you didn't do something for the Diamond Jubilee, when would you ever think was an appropriate time to do something?"

The initiative for a specially built boat came from Prince Charles who contacted Lord Sterling almost two years ago. Sweet chestnut from Highgrove, Prince Charles’s private estate, is among the materials used in her construction. Craftsmen are energetically involved in the drive to meet the 20 week deadline. 

Such a vessel, hand built entirely of wood, would normally take nine months to complete and most evenings Mark Edwards can be found hard at work till 10 pm and beyond.  He is no stranger to this type of boat; he created the Jubilant, used as the Mayor’s Shallop last November when the annual Lord Mayor’s pageant was returned to the Thames after pollution 160 years ago caused it to become a land-based event.

Sir Steve, who has visited the yard where she is under construction, commented, “I was captivated not just by the beautiful lines of this magnificent vessel but by the infectious energy and enthusiasm of the young team working to build it. I can't wait to have a go at rowing it”

Tom Chaplin 



Artist's impression of Gloriana, a brand new Royal shallop based on an 18th Century design, and built by Mark Edwards' Thames boatyard at Richmond.

Andrew Denny  | 12.20pm | add a comment


Today's news from the web

  • River Cam project could cost taxpayers £400,000 cambridge-news.co.uk

    Taking ownership of a stretch of the Cam which is blighted by unregulated mooring could cost taxpayers £400,000, residents fear. That might be the bill for building a pontoon at Riverside, which until now has not been covered by the fees and conditions which apply to boat owners, and where around 40 craft in varying states of repair are tied up. Homeowners have complained about the ugliness of the area and also have concerns about smoke and noise, and about sewage being discharged into the water....

  • Melksham canal volunteers scoop volunteering accolade wiltshiretimes.co.uk

    Hardworking volunteers who give up their time to help restore a disused canal have won an award for their efforts. The Melksham, Chippenham and Calne branch of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust won an award from the trust for providing the biggest boost to the restoration campaign. The Tony Davy Award is a new annual accolade named after the trust’s first chairman....

  • Regent’s Canal barge sinks prompting fears about canal newcomers hamhigh.co.uk

    Boaters have raised fears that high house prices are prompting people with little knowledge of the water onto barges – as one vessel was hauled out of Regent’s Canal. The barge, at visitor moorings west of Camden Town, is thought to be one of at least three to run into trouble in the area in as many months. ... A neighbour said: “More and more people are moving onto boats because land rents are so high. People at the poorer end buy the oldest boats and have the least clue.” ...

  • Wraps are taken off Whitchurch canal revamp plans shropshirestar.com

    This is the latest glimpse of major £500,000 plans to revamp part of the Shropshire Union Canal in Whitchurch. Members of the Whitchurch Waterway Trust have taken the wraps of proposals to extend the canal and create a new basin with moorings. They say that the work would bring canal boat users nearer to the town centre and become a tourist attraction for Whitchurch. Trust members estimate construction costs of the basin at about £475,000. It includes landscaping, creating steps and a pedestrian ramp, altering car parking and surfacing, and excavating soil. Plans can be viewed at www.whitchurchwaterway.org.uk and people are being invited to make comments about them before the end of January. ...

  • BBC radio presenters Adam & Katherine take pedalo across Leeds & Liverpool Canal bbc.co.uk

    Two BBC Radio Leeds presenters have begun intensive training for a special waterborne challenge in March in aid of BBC Sport Relief 2012. Adam Pope and Katherine Hannah aim to navigate along the entire 127 miles (204km) of the historic Leeds-Liverpool Canal - using just a pedalo boat. Travelling at an average speed of about 2mph (4km/h), and negotiating 91 locks along the way, the pair aim to complete their pedal-powered journey in just 10 days, collecting cash for Sport Relief along the way. ...

  • Shrewsbury footbridge’s ferry replacement welcomed shropshirestar.com

    Plans for a ferry service to shuttle pedestrians across the River Severn when a historic footbridge closes for repairs in March have been welcomed by the leader of Shrewsbury Town Council. The owners of the Boathouse Inn have revealed plans to launch a ferry crossing between The Quarry and the pub when the Porthill footbridge closes for essential repairs in March. Bosses said the 12-seater boat would run for more than eight hours a day provisionally between 8am and 9.30am and noon and 7pm. People will be charged 50p to cross the river on the boat, which will be staffed by two crew members and will be open every day during the closure. Sabrina Boats will run the service, which will be subsidised by Shropshire Council and the Boathouse Inn....

  • London Olympics security rehearsal begins on River Thames telegraph.co.uk

    Elite British security teams take to the River Thames this week as part of a massive security rehearsal to foil terror disaster at the Olympics. Scotland Yard and the Royal Marines are joining forces for a string of "familiarisation exercises" to avoid catastrophe in London this summer. The Metropolitan Police's Marine Policing Unit and army members will provide a rare glimpse of Britain's top secret security plan as they take to the water. The drills "are designed to make sure that everyone has the same level of knowledge about how the river operates and how our tactics work together," police said. ...

  • Five Thames boaters fined £6,587 for flouting registration and sanitation laws environment-agency.gov.uk

    Five boaters caught using their vessels on the River Thames without valid registrations and one with inadequate sanitary appliances have been convicted by magistrates - and fined a total of £6,587. ...


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