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Friday 17 February

Today's news from the web

  • Last traditional Thames weir to be removed oxfordmail.co.uk

    Officials from the Environment Agency have insisted health and safety issues mean they must update the last remaining traditional 'paddle & rymer' weir on the Thames, after an MP stepped into the row. Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood wrote to the Health & Safety Executive for clarification on whether Northmoor Weir, near Eaton – one of the last of its type on the River Thames – had to be replaced on safety grounds. But an HSE spokesman said: “It’s not within HSE’s regulatory remit to make decisions on replacing this weir.” ...

  • Comedian Dave Spikey gives voice to canal safety yorkshirepost.co.uk

    Comedian Dave Spikey has created a comic commentary for boaters on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The Lancashire-born actor provided the voiceover and script for Skipton-based Pennine Boat Trips after being approached by proprietor Nick Osborn. Mr Osborn recognised that some customers switched off during on-board safety commentaries and he wanted to keep their interest with a comic but educational script. “We believe this could be the first canal tour in the UK to have some humour included in the commentary. ...

Thursday 16 February

Today's news from the web

  • Police cordon off Middlewich canal after report of 'grenade' floating in the water crewechronicle.co.uk

    Residents in Booth Lane, Middlewich, were ordered to stay in their homes by police at the weekend after reports of an explosive grenade floating in the canal. At about 3.30pm on Saturday, Cheshire police responded to a call from a member of the public – who had been walking along the canal path – who reporting seeing a metal object floating on top of ice on the canal. The object was later found to be a fake. ...

  • '£1m repair bill' for Manchester Ship Canal blue cranes at Salford bbc.co.uk

    The familiar blue Manchester Ship Canal cranes at Salford Docks could be scrapped because they are badly damaged and may cost up to £1m to repair. The two cranes tower above the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays. Salford City Council said they were "symbols of the city's industrial heritage" but money may be better spent on a different monument. Council leader Derek Antrobus said: "The problem is [retaining them] them could cost up to £1m. "In the current era of austerity is it worth spending a £1m on maintaining them as they are or can that money be better spent commemorating the heritage of the docks in a different way?" ...

  • Work begins to improve Bedford lock bedfordshire-news.co.uk

    An Environment Agency lock in Bedfordshire is being refurbished as part of an ongoing project to improve safety and reliability at the lock gates on the River Great Ouse The work, which began on Monday will cost £110,000 with the Bedford Lock guillotine gate being refurbished and improvements made such as replacement drive systems, actuator, gearbox, chain sprockets, bearings and shafts. The lock will be electrified, one of the last locks on the Great Ouse system to be motorised. The new control systems will include a pedestal-type design navigation control panel with countdown timers and safety delay feature....

  • Giant 'crayon' mooring posts bring splash of colour to Olympic Park thesportreview.com

    Giant crayon sculptures are adding a splash of colour to London’s gleaming new Olympic Park. The installation, the brainchild of Hackney-based artist Keith Wilson, comprises of a long line of 35 brightly coloured pillars rising directly from the tidal waters, made from the same durable material as navigational buoys. The artwork, part of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Art in the Park scheme, will also serve a dual function after the Games, as mooring posts fastened to pontoons for boats along the waterway. “These sculptures stand ready to serve old functions in a new way. They connect the parkland with the river, the canal and by extension the wider world,” said Wilson....

  • The UK's first amphibious house to be built on the banks of the Thames wired.co.uk

    The UK's first amphibious house is to be built on the banks of the River Thames. Work will start on-site later this year for the 225 sqm home, which is set just 10m from the edge of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire. It will be built on fixed foundations but if the site floods, the house is designed to rise up and float....

  • Northwich's river festival will mark a big year for the nation northwichguardian.co.uk

    Northwich’s riverside will come to life with visiting boats and non-stop activity during the River Weaver Festival of June 22 to 24. But an appeal has gone out to residents to welcome the event with gusto and join in the fun. John Hulme, festival spokesman, said: “On Sunday, June 3, most of the nation will be watching thousands of boats on the River Thames as Her Majesty The Queen leads the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. “Northwich’s greatest asset is its river and waterfront so later in the month the Northwich River Festival will be a major part of Northwich’s celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee year....

  • Work accelerates on Huddersfield waterfront canal project yorkshirepost.co.uk

    New lock gates are being put in place at The Waterfront in Huddersfield as part of works on a new lock. Work is currently taking place on the project which is part of the major Waterfront Quarter regeneration scheme, set to breathe new life into the area. The gates are for a new lock which is being built on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, at Chapel Hill, which will form part of works to lift water in the canal which previously ran in a tunnel beneath Sellers Engineers Ltd. ...

Wednesday 15 February

Today's news from the web

  • A canal boat holiday in Burgundy telegraph.co.uk

    There are three things you need to know about canal boats before taking an inland boating holiday. They are slow, they are cramped and, in reverse gear, they are out of control. It’s like steering rhinos. If you can live with such considerations and, crucially, are sufficiently mob-handed (three adults, minimum, to cope with the locks), then the holiday will fall into place. You will have a lovely time. We did, mostly....

  • Help to build the Friend Ship shedworking.co.uk

    We're big fans of crowdfunded projects here at Shedworking and here's a particularly worthy shedshaped one, the Friend Ship. The man behind the idea is Gary Clarke who runs a business building small camping trailers. "I want to see an end to the neglect of people suited to practical skills," he says. "I want to see a local community brought together to create assets and income." And this is his plan - to raise crowdsourced funding to build a wooden, low-tech, canal cruiser, built by unskilled labour trained on the job by experts, which would then offer cheap cruises on inland waterways throughout the week. ...

Tuesday 14 February

Today's news from the web

  • Moveable weirs to form part of council’s alternative flood defences yorkshirepost.co.uk

    A phased approach is now being proposed following further work by the Environment Agency, Leeds Council, British Waterways and other partners including Yorkshire Water, with the aim being to see improvements in place within two to three years. Existing weirs at Knostrop and Crown Point would be removed and replaced with moveable alternatives while Knostrop Cut would be removed to widen the river by merging the canal and the River Aire....

  • Slough Arm clear-up plans sloughobserver.co.uk

    A major clean-up of Slough Canal will be carried out next winter after calls from organisers of the town's annual festival. A drop in the number of boats attending the long-running Slough Canal Festival is being blamed on the state of the Slough Arm of the main Grand Union Canal....

Thursday 9 February

'Big Waterways Clean Up helps clean the Olympic waterways

Environmental charity Thames 21 has launched the Big Waterways Clean Up, an initiative to  transform 50 waterway locations along 18 miles of canals and rivers in time for the Olympics. 

The campaign aims to get at least 4000 people involved in more than 80 events along the Lee Navigation, Regent's Canal and other London-area waterways. The events include walking litter picks, wildflower meadow planting and invasive weed species removal.

Waterways minister Richard Benyon is backing the launch, and said: “The Big Waterways Clean Up is an excellent example of how communities can turn their local environment into an area they can be proud of. I am delighted that I have been able to give a helping hand to clean up what will be a focal point for visitors when they come to London to visit the Olympic Games.”

Thames 21 is launching the scheme in partnership with British Waterways, London Waterways Commission, Environment Agency, London 2012 Changing Places programme, Mayor of London, Team London, British Waterways, Olympic Park Legacy Company, Port of London Authority, London Councils, City of London Corporation, and the Inland Waterways Association.

You can find your next local Big Waterways Clean Up event on the Thames 21 Events page

Andrew Denny  | 5.42pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Leeds metal thief causes canal chaos yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

    A canal was shut due to oil pollution after metal thieves severed a main power cable serving hundreds of homes. The damage cost £100,000 to repair and sparked a £25,000 clean-up for metal worth just £50. Police are hunting those responsible for the attack on the oil-filled 33,000 volt power line on a footbridge gantry over the Leeds Liverpool Canal near Redcote Lane, Kirkstall. Fortunately power supplies to Bramley received an immediate back-up when the cable was cut. But it is estimated that 1,500 litres of cooling oil spilled from the cable and though much fell on to banking, a quantity entered the canal, confirmed a spokesman for British Waterways....

Wednesday 8 February

Cotswold Canals Trust organises 40th anniversary 'founders reunion'

The Cotswold Canals Trust has announced a 40th-anniversary "Founders Reunion" of those who attended its first meeting.  

Over 300 people came to that inaugural meeting at Stroud Subscription Rooms on 5th May 1972. The meeting began the efforts which eventually led to the current work to reopen both the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames and Severn canals.

This year's anniversary event, on Saturday May 5th 2012, is open to 'original members', who joined what was then the Stroudwater Canal Society. It will be informal, with a buffet supper and display of photos and film of the early days.

For details of the Founders Reunion, contact Dave Elliott on 07816 260 046. 

The organiser of the inaugural meeting, Michael Ayland, is expected to be present. He has written a short history of the Trust, on http://www.cotswoldcanals.com/pages/history-of-the-trust.php, describing that first gathering. He originally booked a meeting room for fifty, expecting it to be perhaps half-full. He hurriedly change the venue to the ballroom when the local response was overwhelming.    

The Cotswold Canal Trust is now the largest canal restoration group in the country with a membership of over 6,500. Today, many of those members work as volunteers alongside the restoration contractors. 

Andrew Denny  | 12.21pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Chichester Ship Canal Trust plans to join canal to sea midhurstandpetworth.co.uk

    The Chichester Ship Canal Trust has revealed plans to include transforming the canal basin area in the town by building an educational hub with offices and opening a brand-new shop. The trust wants to build a moving bridge at Donnington and create a lock near the Witterings, which will allow boats to enter the canal....

  • New Film Targets Safety in Thames Rowing Hub server1.pla.co.uk

    The Port of London Authority (PLA) has published a second film to help rowers use the tidal Thames safely, this time focusing on rowing in the upper district of the river. The film is principally aimed at providing rowers who are new to the river with a simple guide to the unique Code of Conduct for safe rowing on the tidal Thames. The PLA is encouraging other navigators on this busy stretch of river to watch the film too, so that they fully understand the principles of the Rowing Code. The Code was developed by the PLA and Thames Regional Rowing Council (TRRC) and launched in 2006. ...

  • Cromford Canal 1.3mile stretch set to open to boats in £300k project bbc.co.uk

    Derbyshire County Council has approved a £300,000 programme of dredging, to reopen a 1.3-mile stretch of Cromford Canal to boats. The work will be undertaken between Cromford Wharf and Leawood Pump House. Cromford Canal is part of the World Heritage site and the council said the investment would bring "long-term benefits to the area"....

  • River Trent canoe rescue after narrowboat owner slips on ice bbc.co.uk

    A narrowboat owner who slipped into the River Trent has said he owes his life to a canoeist who pulled him out. Richard Ramsdale, a coach for Canoe England, was paddling near Colwick Marina by chance because the stretch of water he planned to use had frozen. He found 74-year-old Ken Jackson "clinging on for dear life" after he slipped off his boat's narrow and icy ledge while fixing a chimney on Monday....

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