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Thursday 1 August

Little change in Ombudsman issues

Complaints about the Canal & River Trust in 2018/19 showed "not a significant change" on previous years, according to the seventh and final report of the outgoing Waterways Ombudsman, Andrew Walker, who handed over to his successor, Sarah Daniel, on 26th July.

Forty-three complaints were received, up from the previous year's 35, while 13 investigations were completed.

In an effort to sense the Waterways Ombudsman's effectiveness, this year the complainants were asked to complete a survey before a report into their complaint was finally issued; in previous years they were asked for their opinions after the judgement.

The Waterways Ombudsman scheme deals with complaints about the Canal & River Trust after the trust’s own complaints procedures have been exhausted. Although officially anonymised, some of them are of well-known issues, such as wide-beam boats using the north Oxford Canal or the CRT boat licensing consultation of 2018, and these make interesting reading.

The annual report can be seen at waterways-ombudsman.org – see the 'case summaries' section.

Andrew Denny  | 1.54pm | add a comment

Monday 29 July

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Thursday 25 July

Ellesmere canal warehouse 'at risk'

Supporters of the Llangollen Canal have expressed growing concerns about the deterioration of the canal warehouse at Ellesmere Wharf.

The former Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company building, which dates back to Telford's time, has been Grade II-listed since 1982. It has been empty for over 27 years and appears to be deteriorating.

Councillors are said to have called for the building to be placed on Historic England's Heritage at Risk register, to ensure its protection and help secure grant aid for restoration. Recent photographs suggest the building may be crumbling.

Adding further injury, in May 2018 the structure appears to have suffered additional damage, probably from contact by a boat, which was only rudimentarily repaired.

The warehouse was owned by property and construction company Pochin, but this went into administration in August and reportedly had already sold its property portfolio.

The local IWA branch has written to Shropshire Council, asking it to take enforcement action on the present owners to prevent the loss of the building.

Andrew Denny  | 2.29pm | add a comment

Wey & Arun to host 2020 IWA trailboat festival

The IWA 2020 National Trailboat Festival will be on the Dunsfold Summit of the Wey & Arun Canal restoration. Hosted by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, it will take place over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (23rd-25th May).

Each year the festival draws attention to various restorations around the country. Next year's event will take place on the exact spot where, on 28th September 1816, the 3rd Earl of Egremont opened what was then the Wey & Arun Junction Canal.

The summit level has been a focus for the Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s restoration plans and has seen major renovation in recent years, including the construction of Compasses Bridge and the Thriscutt Slipway, built by trust volunteers and opened last year. A dredging programme is taking place, and over a mile of channel should be fully navigable.

For more information see waterways.org.uk/trailboat.

Andrew Denny  | 2.23pm | add a comment

Planning approval for Missing Mile

The 'Missing Mile' project of Cotswold Canals Connected passed its last official planning hurdle on 23rd July, when Gloucestershire County Council approved the scheme. The work now moves on to the designers, engineers and fundraisers.

CCC is the rebranding of the old Phase 1B section of the restoration, finally connecting Stroud to the wider canal network. It received a boost earlier this year when Highways England granted £4m towards the Missing Mile, which will get the canal underneath the M5 and A38 blockages.

Plans continue for the surveys, detailed designs and costings that will unlock lottery money to finish the project, although there is still a funding gap of more than £1m to be found.

Andrew Denny  | 2.19pm | add a comment

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Wednesday 24 July

CRT extends customer opening hours

The Canal & River Trust has extended its customer service opening hours to seven days a week.

Since July, the CRT customer service team has been on duty from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and 10am to 4pm on Sundays, in addition to the standard weekday opening hours of 8am to 6pm.

Boaters and other canal users can use it to report damage and vandalism, enquire about stoppages, and ask questions about volunteering and events.

You can contact the team by webform, by calling 0303 040 4040, tweeting @CRTcontactus or contacting the Canal & River Trust Facebook page.

Andrew Denny  | 1.46pm | add a comment

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Tuesday 23 July

Today's news from the web

  • Cycle hire firms urged to help clear dumped bikes from canals theguardian.com

    Hundreds of dockless bikes are being dumped in canals and rivers and most operators should do more help clean up the mess, the body responsible for the UK’s waterways has complained. The Canal & River Trust said it was growing increasingly frustrated by the number of hire bikes abandoned in and beside its 2,000-mile network. It said more than 100 hire bikes a year were being thrown into canals in London alone....

Tuesday 16 July

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  • The problem with fibreglass: Environmental concern over old boats itv.com

    Fibreglass transformed boat production, but there is growing concern about what to do with the material when it reaches the end of its life. Since the 1950s fibreglass, made of polyester resin and glass fibres, was seen as revolutionary. It was cheap to produce, strong, and extremely long lasting. It helped make sailing accessible for all, but its environmental qualities are less impressive. There is currently no means of recycling it and with many of those early craft coming to the end of their life, the question is, what to do with it?...

Monday 15 July

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  • Why has it taken two lads from Lithuania to clean up the canals in Manchester? manchestereveningnews.co.uk

    Two pals from Lithuania who have started a new life in Manchester were so fed up of the rubbish being thrown into the city centre's canals that they decided to clean them up. They bought a £50 dinghy, a £20 licence to allow them on the water and some bin bags before setting out into the filthy water of Rochdale Canal where it passes through Castlefield....

Sunday 14 July

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  • Historic watchdog to sink canal plan in Inverness inverness-courier.co.uk

    An ambitious project to develop part of the Caledonian Canal next to Muirtown Basin has hit a snag because of the waterway’s huge national, historic and cultural importance. Historic Environment Scotland (HES) fears that a new cafe, storage units and possible base for the sea cadets would be a blight on the canal’s unique ambience. It has told Scottish Canals that the waterway is a scheduled monument and any development would require HES approval....

Saturday 13 July

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  • Council attacks plan to link Derby to HS2 via Derby canal route derbytelegraph.co.uk

    Erewash planners would rather a bus or tram lane be built on the A52 to link Derby to HS2, despite the higher cost, to avoid construction on a former canal. A report revealed by Erewash Borough Council ahead of a meeting of the authority's top team next week says that preferred plans to build a link to the proposed HS2 hub in Toton would hamper its own aims. It wants to reopen a derelict stretch of the Derby to Sandiacre canal but a new study highlights the former waterway as a good choice for any link scheme to the HS2 hub....

  • Lincoln canal sells at auction for £255k thelincolnite.co.uk

    The 11-mile Fossdyke navigation between the Trent & Lincoln has been sold at auction for £255,000. The auctioneers could not give out the name of the canal’s new owner but said that the private investor has bought similar properties before. Believed to be the oldest man-made waterway of its kind, the Fossdyke Canal was built to provide an important link between the River Witham and River Trent. It had a guide price of £200,000 when Acuitus Auction started bidding at the Montcalm Hotel in London. When the new owner takes over they would achieve £9,500 in rent each year. The tenancy for the Canal and River Trust has been open from 1846 and will finish in 2740, so for a total of 894 years....

Monday 8 July

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  • The mystery of how canal water turned blue has been solved birminghammail.co.uk

    The mystery behind why a stretch of canal popular with families turned blue has been solved. The discovery was made by a dog walker on June 21, near the Park Head Bridge on Dudley Canal. According to the Canal and River Trust, the pollution was down to a type of oil - which they believe may have been cooking oil....

Thursday 4 July

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  • Yorkshire Waterways Museum building for sale for £100,00 thebusinessdesk.com

    A buyer is being sought for the former Yorkshire Waterways Museum, in Goole. Located on Dutch Riverside, accessed from Bridge Street, the property is close to Goole marina and a number of other canal and riverside businesses. While it functioned as a museum the 6,400 sq ft building was also home to a café, hosted school visits and was used as a starting point for boat trips around the town’s docks and canal. PPH Commercial is marketing the long leasehold interest to include the buildings for £100,000, on behalf of liquidators representing The Sobriety Project....

Wednesday 3 July

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  • Ram Raiders Jailed After Police Find Suspects Hiding In Birmingham Canal lbc.co.uk

    Dramatic footage shows the moment a gang was found hiding in a Birmingham canal after using a stolen Land Rover as a battering ram. CCTV footage shows the moment the gang first approach a currency exchange shop, using crowbars to weaken reinforced glass before a stolen Land Rover is rammed through. As one man looks out, two others pushed a safe from the back of the shop out onto the pavement outside, before dumping it in the back of an Audi....

Tuesday 25 June

Today's news from the web

  • Dutchman swims 121-mile canal ice-skating route hit by climate crisis theguardian.com

    As Europe braces for a heatwave this week, a Dutchman is swimming the route of the country’s most famed ice skating race, which has not been held for two decades as the climate crisis bites. Instead of skating the 121 miles (195km) of the daunting Elfstedentocht (11 cities race), the Olympic gold marathon swimmer Maarten van der Weijden is ploughing his way through its canals....

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