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Wednesday 20 October

Today's news from the web

  • Council seeks grant for Desborough Island improvements bbc.co.uk

    Elmbridge Borough Council and local community groups have applied for a £100,000 grant to improve a riverside area in Surrey. The Veolia Environmental Trust will decide later this month whether to award the money to restore and conserve Desborough Island, in Weybridge. Elmbridge Borough Council said a riverside nature trail would be created along with improved public facilities. ...

  • Man pulls bikes, trolleys, and motorbikes out of Nottingham Canal thisisnottingham.co.uk

    Boat owner David Johnson could not believe it when he found his friend's bike in the bottom of the Nottingham Canal – as he lost it in the water two years ago and more than four miles away. David, who lives on a narrowboat, makes a point of fishing rubbish out of the waterway so it doesn't get caught in other boats' propellers. In the last few weeks he has found shopping trolleys, chairs and even a motorbike....

Tuesday 19 October

Today's news from the web

  • The mystery and poetry of the towpath independent.co.uk

    I was inclined to be poetical about the Grand Canal," said Nathaniel Hawthorne in his New-England Magazine sketch "The Canal Boat", from 1835. It's insightful writing, in which he describes the canal wending its way through each town as "the most fertilizing of all fluids" and feeding their "masses of brick and stone, their churches and theatres, their business and hubbub, their luxury and refinement, their gay dames and polished citizens – to spring up, till, in time, the wondrous stream may flow between two continuous lines of buildings, through one thronged street."...

Monday 18 October

Today's news from the web

  • Feed the canal birds waterscape.com

    As the cold weather starts to set in for the winter, the RSPB is asking us all to spare a thought for our garden birds. Their Feed the Birds Day on 30 October is a reminder to everyone that food put out in gardens and birdfeeders can be critical to the survival of many birds, especially in temperatures as bitterly cold as last winter’s. ...

  • Navigation route to be restored after deal worcesternews.co.uk

    Holidaymakers will be able to enjoy a 21-mile cruising ring around Worcestershire’s waterways after a missing piece of land needed for the project was finally secured. Acquiring the missing link will enable workers to reconnect the Barge and Junction canals in Droitwich, a navigation route that was officially abandoned in 1939. ...

Saturday 16 October

Today's news from the web

  • Letters: Opportunities in wake of quango cull guardian.co.uk

    Letter from BW Chairman Robin Evans in The Guardian: I find myself in the unusual position of being the head of a public body that has welcomed – and indeed called for – its own abolition. ...

Thursday 14 October

British Waterways to be replaced by a new charity - official (updated)

The long-awaited announcement has just been published by British Waterways and the Government. BW - set up in its current form in 1962, and extant in one form or another since 1948 - is to be replaced with a new charity independent of Government control.

BW and the Government are describing it as "a national trust for the waterways". According to waterways minister Richard Benyon: "The engagement of local communities and interest groups will ensure the success of this transfer to civil society, building on the good work of British Waterways and countless waterways enthusiasts. It's a great example of Government giving power back to the people."

Crucially, this will not be the British Waterways Charity. Rather, the announcement is unambiguous that "British Waterways will be replaced by a new civil society body". Work is underway on setting out how this body will work.

Other key features from the announcement are:
  • No decision yet on whether the Environment Agency's navigations (Thames, Great Ouse, Nene, Medway) will be included; the Government says it will "further explore this"
  • New body "to be up and running by April 2012"
  • A "guaranteed long-term contract" with Government to support the upkeep of the waterways (but no word as yet as to how much less than the current grant this will be)
  • The new waterway charity gets to keep BW's property ("a charity-locked property endowment")
  • Decisions ongoing about the Scottish waterways

Update: Waterscape has published a list of Frequently Asked Questions. These are fairly basic, and won't tell anyone who's been following the story anything new. Interestingly, it does confirm the proposed structure which WW reported from a leaked internal BW document over the summer:

A new council of representatives will be established – bringing in a range of interests such as boaters, anglers, heritage, environment, local authorities etc – with oversight over a Board of Trustees with the responsibility for the running of the organisation and for the appointment and oversight of directors. At a local area, waterway partnerships will be set up to give local people and groups a greater role in the running of waterways.

IWA has welcomed the announcement. BW chairman Tony Hales has published an open letter on the subject.

Update 3.30pm: The trade unions representing BW staff continue their opposition to the proposals. Unite spokesman Julia Long said:

We have real fears that the vital maintenance work that is needed on the network will be forced to rely on the efforts of volunteers to fill gaps left by qualified engineers, if enough funding is not found. This very disturbing news increases the level of flood risk to the homes, offices and buildings along the banks of this network. Unite therefore calls for the government to provide some guarantees that there will not be a wholesale cull of the workforce and that there will be sufficient employed, skilled staff to prevent the potential devastation which would be caused if, for example, just one of the banks gave way.

Richard Fairhurst  | 11.09am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Men pushed in Worcester canal in assaults bbc.co.uk

    Two people had to swim to safety after being pushed into a canal by a gang of three men in separate attacks. The gang first approached a man who was walking along a towpath that leads underneath Rainbow Hill, Lowesmoor, Worcester, on Sunday evening. In the second incident the three assaulted a man before pushing him into the canal. Two of the offenders were pulled in with him....

  • New Thames port 'will generate £3.2bn a year' thisislondon.co.uk

    More than 36,000 new jobs are set to be created at the new London Gateway deep-sea port and logistics park on the bank of the Thames in Thurrock, Essex, which a report published today forecasts will bring £3.2 billion into the UK economy every year by its completion in 2014....

  • Construction starts on River Lee sewer trenchlessinternational.com

    Ground has been broken on the Lee Tunnel, a new four mile sewer which will prevent 16 million tonnes of sewage overflowing into the River Lee, located in the UK, each year. ... The £635 million tunnel will take discharges from London’s largest combined sewer overflow at Abbey Mills in Stratford, east London, for treatment at Beckton sewage works, which is being expanded so it can deal with the additional flows. Construction started on one of four shafts, which will be up to 75 m deep. The Lee Tunnel ... will be the deepest tunnel ever constructed in London. ...

  • Thousands watch what may be the last ship launched on the Clyde politics.caledonianmercury.com

    More than 10,000 people lined the banks of the Clyde on Monday afternoon to witness what many expect to be the last launch of a ship into this most famous of shipbuilding waterways. The Duncan, the sixth and final Type 45 anti-air warfare destroyer to be built on the Clyde, eased down the tallow-coated slipway just before four o’clock, accompanied by the usual cloud of rust dust billowing up from the drag chains. ...

  • Work is due to start on new £2.5m boathouse worcesternews.co.uk

    The demolition of an old boathouse to make way for a new £2.5 million structure fronting the river Severn in Worcester is due to start next month. There has been a slight delay in getting the King’s School Worcester boathouse project off the ground, due to a “complex tendering process”. ...

Wednesday 13 October

WW to organise the Crick Boat Show

We're delighted to announce that Waterways World will be organising next year's Crick Boat Show.

The 2011 event will, as ever, take place on the May Bank Holiday weekend (28th-30th May) at Crick Marina on the Grand Union Canal.

WW's publisher Peter Johns explains: "We are really pleased to be associated with the Crick Boat Show. The event has been a great success for many years and we want to build upon that success to make it an even bigger stage for boaters, aspiring boaters and the many waterways related businesses who exhibit at the Show. As the country’s longest established and best selling inland waterways magazine we believe that there is untapped potential which will allow us to develop the Show to make it a real showcase for the inland waterways."

Simon Salem, marketing director at British Waterways, added: "The magazine’s publishers have a good track record of organising and managing shows which, together with their industry knowledge and involvement, makes them an ideal partner to take the Crick Boat Show forward."

The exhibitor pack for the 2011 Show will be available from November 2010 and will be sent automatically to those who exhibited at the 2010 Show. Exhibitor telephone enquiries should be made to Ian Sharpe at Waterways World, at ian.sharpe@wwonline.co.uk or on 01283 742977.

Richard Fairhurst  | 11.23am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • River of money flows to Thames as it wins global conservation prize guardian.co.uk

    In the 1950s it was declared biologically dead – a heavily polluted river that was a far cry from the days when it was admired by William Wordsworth, Claude Monet and the Three Men in a Boat of Jerome K Jerome's book. Now the Thames and its tributaries teem with 125 fish species including salmon, trout, sole and bass. The resurgence was rewarded yesterday when the river was given a top global conservation prize for its dramatic recovery. The International Thiess river prize is awarded annually in Australia and comes with prize money of A$350,000 (£218,000). ...

  • Legal action over Caledonian Canal water cascade pressandjournal.co.uk

    The Caledonian Canal’s operators are at the centre of legal action over noise levels at the Muirtown Basin in Inverness. Residents who live next to the picturesque waterway claim the noise of the water cascading over the locks is so loud it is keeping them awake at night. Tests by Highland Council environmental health officials confirm that noise readings at homes next to the canal are at an unacceptable level. Now the council is taking legal action against British Waterways Scotland. ...

Tuesday 12 October

Today's news from the web

  • EU commissioner calls for 'more awareness' of inland waterways theparliament.com

    Eu transport commissioner Siim Kallas has called for more attention to be given at EU and national level to the "added value" of Europe’s inland waterways. Speaking in parliament, the Estonian official said the potential economic benefit of this type of transport was often overlooked. He said the potential of Europe's massive network of inland waterways was yet to be "fully exploited", adding, "It is time to make the added value of inland navigation more visible."...

  • High tides leaves Chiswick Mall accessible only by boat chiswickw4.com

    Louise Baker's images below of Chiswick Mall were taken on Sunday 10th October when the road was only accessible via boat. ...

  • K&A Canal Trust needs media manager kacanaltimes.blogspot.com

    Do you want to "navigate the sometimes murky and turbulent waters of news and information management in a high profile and diverse organisation concerned with history, conservation, leisure activities"? The K&A Canal Trust is looking for an unpaid volunteer Public Relations professional to manage publicity for both the Trust and the Canal. ...

  • Revised 500-berth canal marina plan looking set to win approval yorkshirepost.co.uk

    Plans for a 500-berth marina on a canal in South Yorkshire are set to win approval from planners tomorrow after changes were made to the scheme to make it more wildlife-friendly. Developers Waystone Ltd submitted plans to Doncaster Council several months ago for a marina project on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal at Stainforth, north-east of the town centre....

Monday 11 October

Today's news from the web

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