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Wednesday 13 July

Today's news from the web

  • Volunteers prove key to new lock for Chesterfield Canal yorkshirepost.co.uk

    Construction work has now begun on creating a new lock on the Chesterfield Canal at Staveley. Volunteers have taken part in two week-long work camps, during which they have laid bricks and blocks to create the front walls of the new lock. The remainder of the work will be carried out by volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust. A spokesman for the Chesterfield Canal Trust said: “The new lock – to be called Staveley Town Lock, number 5A – will enable the canal to get under a railway line a few hundred metres further on. “There will be a twin lock - Railway Lock, number 5B – on the other side of the railway line to raise the canal again."...

  • Work starts on Thames cable car bbc.co.uk

    Work has begun on a £50m cable car project to link two Olympic venues on opposite sides of the River Thames. Digging for the foundations of the two new stations in the Royal Victoria Dock and on the Greenwich Peninsula began on Thursday. Once finished, the cable cars will run 50m (164ft) above the river carrying up to 2,500 people an hour....

  • Ownership of Chasewater Reservoir transferred from Lichfield to Staffordshire council lichfielddc.gov.uk

    The ownership of Chasewater Country Park and reservoir has transferred to Staffordshire County Council in a strategic move set to secure and strengthen the long-term future of this key regional resource. ... To date Chasewater Country Parkand reservoir have been owned and managed by Lichfield District Council, which inherited the park in 1994 following a local authority boundary change. Since then, millions of pounds have been pumped into the park's transformation, thanks to the work of the district and county council, together with external grant funding. The reservoir provides British Waterways with essential water to maintain levels in the Birmingham Canal Network, and beyond. The reservoir is currently empty, as essential multi-million pound improvement works to the dam take place. ...

  • London folly a project of art and fun reuters.com

    The setting does not sound promising: the underbelly of a major highway bridge over a polluted canal which meanders through some of the most deprived areas of east London. However, the collective of artists and designers who have built a rickety house here with railway sleepers cut into wooden bricks are already running a full program of cultural activities for locals, just steps from the nearly completed London 2012 Olympic site....

  • Canal infill to level Stroud school's football pitch bbc.co.uk

    Plans have been unveiled to use material from the restoration of the Cotswold Canal to level off a sloping school sports field in Gloucestershire. A football pitch at Marling School in Stroud is uneven and slopes down towards the waterway. The restoration includes plans to excavate infill from the canal's route. Dave Marshall, from Stroud District Council, said the alternative would be "to tip it in a hole in the ground somewhere else"....

  • Historical photographs go on display at National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port ellesmereportpioneer.co.uk

    A photographic exhibition charting the changing face of Ellesmere Port docks is on display at the National Waterways Museum. A group of adult learners at Wolverham Community Centre is behind the project that sheds a fascinating light on the town’s industrial heritage. Tutor Ella Popper, Ellesmere Port Family and Local History Society secretary, said: "They took their own photos and have compared them to old photos from the 1900s."...

Tuesday 12 July

UK Treasury defends use of 'red diesel'

The UK government has acted to quell fears that UK boaters may be forbidden from using red diesel in their engines. 

Last week the EU Commission had written to the government saying it considered the use of  red diesel 'to propel private pleasure craft' was illegal under EU Law. However, a spokesman for the Treasure has now told Waterways World: 

"The UK considers that the procedures it introduced in November 2008 are in accordance with EC legislation. The UK will respond to Commission in due course."

The Treasury believes it is following the 'letter' of the law, although it is clear the EU Commission thinks the compromise solution (allowing boaters to declare the percentage of fuel they are using for propulsion) is not within the law's 'spirit'.

Andrew Denny  | 11.53am

Today's news from the web

  • Tycoons fight over Games yacht spot dailystar.co.uk

    Billionaires are battling over the top yacht parking spots at next summer’s Olympics. And British Waterways is hoping to cash in on the race for the prime spaces by launching a glossy promotional brochure. Berths are expected to bring in mooring fees running into several thousands per week, making them the most expensive on the planet....

  • Warning sign on Blackburn canal is itself ‘dangerous’ thisislancashire.co.uk

    A ‘dangerous’ warning sign on a canal towpath could lead to a fatal accident, according to a pub landlord. David Wilson, who runs an eatery in Eanam Wharf, Blackburn, claims that walkers and cyclists are having to swerve to miss a ‘hazardous’ sign on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal path....

  • Parliament report - The proposed waterways charity boatingbusiness.com

    The event went well, until the speaker took the spotlight. This was Labour’s Gavin Shuker, the new shadow minister for waterways. He set the tone by starting with the admission he hadn’t met many have yachts and have nots before. My, how we all laughed at that one… He then he went into a routine that seemed more a party political broadcast than the gentle nudging and dropping of hints around which these things usually revolve....

  • Narrowboat dining cruises along Potteries canals thisisstaffordshire.co.uk

    Narrowboat dining cruises will soon be available on the Trent and Mersey canal. Family business Flower Cruises will launch its first trips on Friday, carrying people from Westport Lake to Etruria Industrial Museum on converted narrowboat Buddleia Davidii. Alternatively, people can take a shorter, hour-long journey to the Harecastle Tunnel, near Kidsgrove. Michael Vaughan, his wife Kerry and his sister Susan have together invested £30,000 to launch the business. ... They plan to have families cruising in the day, and will sell sandwiches, cakes and drinks. Adult tickets would cost £6. At night, the boat will offer two experiences. The first would be a tea-time early bird special. Then, at 8pm, diners would board for a four-course meal while enjoying Stoke-on-Trent from the waterways. ...

  • Derby to Sandiacre Canal restoration plan approved bbc.co.uk

    Part of a £45m plan to restore a Derbyshire canal has been approved. Campaigners have wanted to reopen a 12.5 mile (20km) stretch of the Derby to Sandiacre Canal for more than 10 years, saying it will boost the area. Derby City Council has now given outline planning permission for work on a seven-mile (11.3km) section from Swarkestone to Borrowash....

  • All aboard for a voyage through history yorkshirepost.co.uk

    A Knottingly boatyard is keeping alive an ancient tradition. FOR more than 50 years, the canals, rivers and coastal waters of the UK were the stamping grounds of a distinctive fleet of boats. Although their appearance differed little from other barges, tankers and trawlers plying their trade, what set them apart was their names: Borrowdale H, Constance H, Wheldale H and dozens more – the characteristic suffix indicating they were part of the John Harker fleet, constructed at the company’s yard in Knottingley....

Thursday 7 July

EU issues warning about red diesel

The EU Commission has warned that it might try to stop UK boaters from using red diesel, even where tax is fully paid.  

The threat is reported by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), which was pursuing the issue of UK boaters being fined by the Belgian authorities for arriving with red diesel in their tanks, even though full duty on the diesel had been paid. 

In a letter to the Association, the EU Commission says it has decided to open ‘infringement proceedings’ against the UK for permitting red diesel to be used at all in pleasure craft propulsion, even where the recommended ‘60%-40%’ duty apportionment is paid.  

The Commission stated that the “marking of fuel used for propelling pleasure boats where such fuel has not borne any exemption or rebate” undermines the Europe-wide system of fiscal marking, as set out in Directive 95/60/EC.  

However, the RYA’s head of government affairs, Gus Lewis, said that they had taken specialist taxation advice and believed that the use of red diesel in private boats should not infringe the EU Marking Directive and that boatyards and traders could continue to supply it. 

“We believe that the UK position is obeying the letter of the law”, he said, and promised a vigorous challenge to any attempt to ban red diesel use for propulsion.   

He added that they were confident that the current system, where UK boaters can declare the amount of red diesel they are using for propulsion, would continue.

Andrew Denny  | 2.39pm

Today's news from the web

  • Melingriffith water pump restored after campaign bbc.co.uk

    Campaigners who helped restore a historic water pump have put it back in to action for the first time since the 1940s. The 200-year-old Melingriffith water pump in Whitchurch, Cardiff, one of the last remaining relics of the Glamorganshire canal - the link between Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff's docks in the 19th Century. It is one of the earliest works of its kind and was used to service the former Glamorganshire Canal and Melingriffith tin plate works....

  • Clean-up removes suffocating Floating Pennywort from River Lee tottenhamjournal.co.uk

    Floating pennywort was pulled from the River Lee on Sunday (July 3) in a bid to stop the non-native invasive weed choking the water. The weed spreads rapidly feeding on nutrients in the polluted river and the clean-up was spearheaded by water charity Thames21. The charity last week revealed the river is more polluted than parts of the River Ganges in India....

  • Green light for canalside homes at Marsworth bucksherald.co.uk

    Plans to build 13 new homes on the British Waterways site in Marsworth were approved during a meeting of Aylesbury Vale District Council’s development control committee on Thursday. It is the second time the plans have been looked at and the council believes its original concerns have been addressed. The height of one of the proposed structures has been reduced to the recommended level to reduce the visual impact and refuge areas for pedestrians will be introduced in nearby Watery Lane....

Wednesday 6 July

Waterways Trust Scotland encourages 'canal custodians'

Concerned at the relative lack of awareness of the Caledonian Canal by people who live near it, the Waterways Trust Scotland has recruited a dedicated canal officer, Stephen Wiseman, to increase involvement and knowledge of the waterway. 

Stephen Wiseman's first task will be to recruit and train local people to be 'Canal Custodians', encouraging them to create practical conservation projects, including helping other local people to research and record the history of the canal.  

He says he wants to get many more local people to explore, use and care for the 60-mile waterway, which stretches from Inverness to Fort William. 

Over the next two years Stephen Wiseman will be running a series of projects and activities to help people in the area discover more of the canal’s heritage, scenery and wildlife.
He says: “The Caledonian Canal is relatively unknown locally. While visitors come from far and wide to cruise along the waterway, there are few opportunities for people living in its vicinity to experience the canal.”
"The canal created the fortunes of the region, and while we now have different ways of getting around, it can still play an important role in the way we live today,” he says. 

Stephen Wiseman, Caledonian Canal Officer, appointed by The Waterways Trust Scotland  

Andrew Denny  | 4.25pm

Stroud canal at Wallbridge finally in water

The channel underneath the largest current project of the Cotswold Canals, in the centre of Stroud, has finally become navigable - for the first time in many decades. 

The Stroud Brewery Bridge, which carries the A446 over the canal in the centre of the town, is close to completion, and on Monday 4th June the feeder pipe which carried Slad Brook through the construction works was removed.  

[Photo: courtesy Clive Field, CCT]

It's only a short stretch, a limited pound between the upper and lower Wallbridge locks, but it's been the biggest barrier to opening up the canal in the whole six miles of this first stage of the restoration. 

At this point we would be saying something nice about the construction company doing the work, Carillion, but their PR people haven't returned our phone call.  We were hoping they would explain why the project is several months behind schedule, although there are good reasons for the delay.  

By next year, if there are no more delays, this could well be the upper limit of navigation for the National Trailboat Festival 2012, to be called Stroud On Water.

Andrew Denny  | 12.29pm

Today's news from the web

  • Boats, beer, music and cheer at first ever Alrewas canal festival burtonmail.co.uk

    Details have been released about the first ever Alrewas canal and music festival. More than 20 musical acts from across Staffordshire, a choice of real ale, historic boats, canoes, angling and ukulele lessons will be on offer during the weekend of July 22 to 24. To mark Alrewas Village Hall’s centenary year, a group of individuals and village organisations decided to launch the first Alrewas canal and music festival to raise money for the village hall building fund and to raise awareness of the canal heritage in the village....

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