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Wednesday 23 May

Today's news from the web

  • Non-swimmer non-lifejacketed deckhand drowned when Thames tugboat sank wharf.co.uk

    No-one was nominated to take charge of a towing operation that ended with the death of a tugboat crewman, an accident report has concluded. Deckhand Darren Lacey, 40, was a non-swimmer and was not wearing a life jacket. He was pulled under the water when his tug, the Chiefton, collided with a barge and capsized near Greenwich in August last year....

  • Weed boats launched for Games clean up waterscape.com

    British Waterway has launched two new weed boats that will service London’s waterways during the Olympics and beyond. The new boats have been paid for by a £300,000 grant from the Environment Agency, and are being employed as part of the Big Waterways Clean Up, the ongoing London-wide initiative to clean the canals and rivers. One of the boats is being called 'Wenville', presumably in honour of the Olympic mascots Wenlock and Mandeville. The other is as yet unnamed, so BW is inviting people to send in their suggestions for a name for the weed boat. The winner will be invited to christen the boat at the first volunteer event after the Games, where the name plaque will be unveiled. The name needs to be 10 characters or fewer to fit on the boat. Email suggestions to fran.read@britishwaterways.co.uk ...

Tuesday 22 May

First draft of coming winter stoppages revealed

British Waterways have announced the initial draft of their planned maintenance works for the coming winter season, 2012-13. 

This year’s works programme will be the first in its new guise as the Canal & River Trust, although it is not expected to contain any surprises. Winter cruising enthusiasts should find their needs mostly catered for over Christmas and the New Year, with few long stoppages or ‘double stoppages trapping boaters on short stretches for long periods. 

Long stoppages – in some cases for the entire winter season from early November through to mid-March – are proposed for the Lancaster Canal’s northern Capenwray embankment; on the Huddersfield Narrow in Huddersfield itself; on the Leeds & Liverpool canal near Bingley and near Liverpool; and on the western Trent & Mersey near Middlewich (putting the kibosh on a Christmas Four Counties Ring cruise – sorry!) 

Also mooted for winter-long stoppage is the BCN’s Netherton Tunnel, where they will investigate long-running concerns with the stability of the tunnel – and on the Kennet & Avon, where the entire Caen Hill flight at Devizes will be closed. The Llangattock stretch of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal will also be closed all winter, to investigate continuing problems on that stretch. 

No stoppages are shown for the newly restored East London waterways around the Olympic Park, which should by then be free of national security concerns. Whether this is because of the massive amounts of money and maintenance already invested in this area, or because the waterways will be open to public navigation is not mentioned at this stage. 

But these are only proposals. Boaters are invited to comment on them via the Waterscape website – which is likely to be the Canal & River Trust website by the time the stoppages list is confirmed in September. Visit http://www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/boating/proposed-stoppage 

The list is available as a 'CSV' for viewing in spreadsheets, or as a 'pick-off list' for selecting the waterways you are interested in. Perhaps more handily, it is also available as regional PDF maps, where the stoppages are shown colour-coded. Yellow stoppages mean before the New Year, blue are for spring stoppages, while the glaring red shows stoppages that will stretch both sides of the new year and will impede navigation for several months.  

BW's draft stoppages for 2012-13 winter season -
available as handy colour-coded maps, or filtered by waterway.

Andrew Denny  | 1.21pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Stover canal restoration gets £44,000 to create footpaths thisissouthdevon.co.uk

    Stover Canal Trust has been given a £44,000 boost days after getting the go-ahead to start work on creating footpaths along parts of the ancient and historically important watercourse. Roger Harding, the man who has been at the helm of the project over the last decade, said: "This is so fantastic — it's another huge step in keeping this important piece of history alive." The cash boost has come from the Landfill Communities Fund, distributed by Ugbrooke Environmental Limited through the Viridor Credits....

  • Rickmansworth canal festival 'an amazing success' watfordobserver.co.uk

    This year's Rickmansworth Canal Festival was "an amazing success that everybody in the community wants to be a part of" said organisers. The event, which took place over two days this weekend, featured a flyover of World War Two aeroplanes as part of the Queen’s 60th Jubilee Battle of Britain Flypast....

  • Money set aside for new £1.5million cycle bridge over River Cam cambridge-news.co.uk

    Plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the River Cam at Chesterton have moved a step closer after £1.5 million of funding was earmarked. The bridge would go from Fen Road on the north bank to the footpath on the south, and would provide a link to the proposed Chesterton station. The funding has been suggested by Cambridgeshire County Council, and Bob Menzies, its head of infrastructure delivery, said he hoped the bridge could be completed by the time the station opens in 2015. It would also fill a missing gap in the Chisholm Trail route which Cambridge Cycling Campaign has been pushing for. Member Robin Heydon described the progress as “very encouraging”....

  • Plans for £15m Northamptonshire marina and wildlife haven bbc.co.uk

    A new £15m inland marina with 550 berths and a wildlife haven could be built in Northamptonshire. Barby Pool Marina at Onley Park, near Daventry, has been designed by the Kirkland Fraser Moor partnership which was responsible for the Eden project. The 36 hectare (89 acre) site will have half of its land dedicated to wildlife and 4km of new footpaths. Daventry District Council recently received a planning application from J Marine Ltd. ... Dawn Cotton, secretary to Onley Park residents association, said: "This could alter the image of the village which will become known as the village located next to the marina rather than its current status as the village situated next to three prisons." ...

Monday 21 May

BW holds final surplus inventory sale

For some time British Waterways has been gradually selling off much of its existing stock of workboats, contractor plant and associated working equipment. BW has had a policy of wherever possible using contract rental, on the basis that much of the equipment goes unused for long periods, and it is cheaper to rent rather than buy and have to use expensive asset management programmes. 

Now BW is holding what will probably be its last auction sale of surplus equipment under its own name, before it becomes the Canal and River Trust. 

The auction, on online website GoIndustry DoveBid, expires at 1pm on Thursday 23rd May. It includes a range of workboats (both powered and unpowered), assorted contractors plant including Ruston Bucyrus and Priestman tracked excavators, compressor, generator welders, chainsaws, hedgetrimmers, strimmers, generators, pumps and a wide range of power hand tools.


Andrew Denny  | 4.06pm | add a comment

Plans for 250 homes canalside near Fradley

Housing development firm Wilson Bowden Developments have announced plans for up to 250 homes lining the Coventry Canal at Fradley. The proposed 55-acre development, on farmland off Hay End Lane and currently occupied by a pig farm, is likely to meet opposition from councillors concerned about congestion on the nearby A38 road. However, there appears to be no objection from British Waterways. 

Andrew Denny  | 11.56am | add a comment

Canal & River Trust launch gets contingency dates – 28th June and 12th July

As official parliamentary approval of the new Canal & River Trust get closer, British Waterways officials have set ‘contingency dates’ for the official launch events.  

The current plan is for an official nationwide launch of the Trust on 28th June. However, after talking to Defra about the necessary parliamentary process timescales, word has gone out to staff to prepare for a possible launch date of 12th July. 

“We’re waiting for the government to confirm the dates for the final parliamentary debates of its official Transfer Order,” a spokesman said, in a statement published in the staff newspaper BW Monthly. “But the debates might not take place until the middle of June. This would mean a launch on 28th June would be very tight. So, for now, please keep both afternoons – 28th June and 12th July – free in your diaries.”

More than 30 BW staff attended a recent workshop to come up with ideas for celebrating the launch, at 11 locations around the country. They discussed what BW Monthly called “a guide format that will hopefully achieve the right balance of feeling part of a big company-wide celebration while allowing local flavour – and most important of all, making sure we have fun at this momentous time in the waterways’ history.”

Andrew Denny  | 11.27am | add a comment

Every little helps, as Tesco agrees to pay for Stalybridge canal trolley recovery

The local Tesco store alongside the Huddersfield Canal in Stalybridge has agreed to meet the costs of fishing its trolleys out of the canal at Stalybridge.

In a deal brokered by local Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, British Waterways have agreed to make regular visits to the stretch of the canal to keep it clear of trolleys and other debris – with the clean-up costs being met by the supermarket chain.

British Waterways says that in the past three years more than 200 trolleys have been retrieved from this stretch of the canal, taking its resources away from other projects. Even the automatic wheel locks fitted to the trolleys if they are pushed over a line has failed to solve the problem.

The canal channel through Stalybridge, built in the 1990s, has a hard concrete bottom, and it is thought that trolleys are causing greater navigational problems than normal here, because they cannot be pushed into silt or mud, but present a greater barrier to boats. 

BW's David Baldacchino said: "We have been working closely with Tesco to try and reach a solution to this on-going problem which is spoiling the environment and causing damage to boats. I am pleased that we have agreed to carry out regular clean-ups with the help of Tesco.

"The new Canal & River Trust will be calling on the help and support of the local community in Stalybridge to get involved with their local waterway by volunteering and helping care for their canal."

Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, welcomed the agreement, saying: "I have been talking to Tesco and British Waterways about this issue for a number of weeks and I am delighted that they are now taking such an active role to clear up the canal. 

"Supermarkets are clearly not responsible for the anti-social behaviour of those who think it is acceptable to dump litter and trolleys in this way. But the canalside location of this particular store makes it a particular problem in Stalybridge, so I am pleased that British Waterways and Tesco are taking this proactive approach."

Anna Wisnoiwski, manager of Tesco Stalybridge, insisted that they worked hard to ensure the trolleys were collected and secured every night. “We are always looking for new ways to prevent trolleys being stolen and we're grateful to customers who make us aware of abandoned trolleys, as it enables us to collect them quickly."

Andrew Denny  | 10.51am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Local families protest over new Stroud canal slipway thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    People living in and around Strachans Close, Stroud, beside the restored Stroudwater Navigation, have strongly opposed the plan for the slipway off their street. The householders, and more in nearby Chestnut Lane, argued that to mix their children playing in the street with 4x4s pulling boats on trailers was unsafe. They also complained about existing traffic congestion due to the closeness of two large and busy secondary schools, and industrial units. Despite around 50 letters from the public, mostly protesting about the scheme, the slipway for the Stroud Valleys Canals Company has just gained permission. The consent was granted by planning officials at Stroud District Council who used their delegated powers to allow it. But because the council is also leading the Cotswold Canals Project to restore waterways some residents felt their opposition was overlooked....

  • Luxury flat owners’ horror as Regents Canal boats moor up outside their homes hackneygazette.co.uk

    Officers from Hackney Council are investigating a breach in planning, after a dozen houseboats suddenly moored up outside a block of luxury flats in the Kingsland Basin. The barges owned by the Canals in Hackney User Group (CHUG) have been at the west side of the basin just off the Regent’s Canal since 1983. So property owners in the former spice factory Quebec Wharf were horrified to look out of their windows one day and find they had turned up unannounced, along with their floating allotment....

Thursday 17 May

Cotswold Canals team ‘not downhearted’ after Lottery bid rejection

The Heritage Lottery Fund this week rejected the Cotswold Canals bid for £13.6m to restore the Stroudwater canal link between Stonehouse and Saul Junction. However, leaders of the restoration say the plan is still very much alive, and they hope to continue work on the plans and submit a new bid next year. 

 “We always knew that, this being Olympics year, demands for funding would outstrip the budget available, resulting in many good bids around the country being turned down.” said Ian Edwards, Canal Project Manager at Stroud District Council. 

“However, the HLF Committee recognised the significant national heritage value of our canals and we will work closely with the Heritage Lottery Fund to submit an even stronger application in 12 months’ time. Our focus remains the delivery of Phase 1a of the regeneration project from Saul to Brimscombe Port and releasing the economic potential of the canal corridor.”

Ken Burgin, chief executive of the Cotswold Canals Trust, said he realised the HLF might want to see the progress on the existing six-mile Phase 1a restoration before they committed further funds.  “This is such an important waterways project both locally and nationally that we are confident of a positive outcome in due course. I am sure we can build on success and win funding for the vital Phase 1b Stonehouse to Saul link.”

The Stroudwater Canal on the Phase 1b section, restored with the help of Lottery money from the first award in 2007. The Cotswold Canal Partnership says it is confident that a repeated bid for funds can complete the link through to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal at Saul Junction, making Brimscombe Port a true port again. 

Andrew Denny  | 10.53am | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Final details announced of Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org

    The organisers of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant have today released the final details of the 1,000-boat tribute to Her Majesty The Queen’s 60-year reign. The largest public event of the Diamond Jubilee weekend and potentially the largest live public event ever held in London, the Pageant will take place on Sunday 3rd June on the river from above Battersea to below Tower Bridge. The flotilla itself will be over seven miles long and – including mustering, dispersal and the avenue of sail – will include some 25 miles of Thames river bank. The flotilla will pass under all 13 Central London river crossings, from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge, and will take at least 75 minutes to pass any given point....

  • New canal restoration at heart of Stroud Town Council's annual awards thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    The restored Stroudwater canal and all the people involved with it were the stars of the Stroud Town Council Annual Awards on 10th May. Wendy Townsend from the LockKeeper's Cafe was named Trader of the Year. In one of his final duties as Stroud's mayor, Coun John Marjoram praised her for taking the risk of opening the cafe next to a then derelict canal. "The cafe has been crucial in starting to establish Wallbridge and the canalside as a pleasant place to spend time," he said. "It has become a massive asset to Stroud." The Canal Trust Volunteer Team was named Environmental Champion in both the 25+ and under-25 categories. "Our work is about education as well as restoration and we have so many groups and organisations supporting us," said Paul Weller, Stroud District Council's volunteer assistant for the canal project. Stroud Civic Society also chose Stroud Brewery Bridge for the Design Award, praising everyone involved in the project....

  • Droitwich Canals project wins Institute of Civil Engineers 2012 Awards birminghampost.net

    The project which brought the Droitwich canals back into productive use after a 40-year effort by campaigners was the big winner at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) West Midlands awards in The awards – which celebrate the best in civil engineering projects across the West Midlands – were attended by more than 300 engineering professionals. In addition to a Conservation award, the Droitwich project was also viewed by the judges to be the best overall scheme. ...

  • IWA Trailboat Festival site makes progress wilderness.org.uk

    During a visit to Stroud on Monday 14th May, IWA , WBOC, Sea Otter representatives and others had an opportunity to see the work going on on the stretch of canal that will be used for the Jubilee Weekend Stroud on Water celebrations that includes the IWA’s National Trailboat Festival. The site itself is on the playing field of a local school and is a very pleasant location. Considering the amount of rain that the area has had in recent weeks, (along with the rest of us), the ground was well drained, almost dry and solid ...

  • Paddling the Erie Canal, 15 miles a day huffingtonpost.com

    The New York State Spare Seat Kayak Expedition has created a challenging adventure to kayak from the original Erie Canal Commercial Slip in Buffalo, close to Niagara Falls, more than 500 miles to the Statue of Liberty, New York City. The plan is to kayak along the Erie Canal to Albany and then join the Hudson River and paddle down to New York in just 21 days. The Spare Seat is the brainchild of two adventurers, myself, Richard Harpham from Great Britain, and Glenn Charles from United States. ...

  • Tests start on cable car Thames crossing eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk

    The first tests started this week on the cable car network that will link the Greenwich peninsula with the Royal Docks across the River Thames. The 34 cabins making up the 'Emirates Air Line' travelled 90 metres across the river along 1.1km of cable from the south terminal. No passengers were on board but weights were loaded into the cars to simulate the maximum number of people. This is part of a series of rigorous safety trials and follows last month’s completion of the three towers with cabling extended across the river. Due to open in time for this summer’s Olympic Games, the cable car will allow pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists to cross the River Thames within five minutes. It is hoped the crossing will encourage regeneration in the area and provide access to visitor attractions....

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