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Thursday 3 May

Today's news from the web

  • Arsonists destroy Loughborough canal clean-up group's boat loughboroughecho.net

    Volunteers of a Loughborough group which worked tirelessly to clear the canal of rubbish say they are devastated after their boat was set alight by arsonists last night (Wednesday, May 2). Clear Cut Conservation (CCC) was set up in February 2010 to keep the canal and waterways tidy and they beat off fierce competition to win a £3,000 donation from the 3M and Loughborough Echo awards in March 2010, which the team used to buy a boat. Since then they have gone out every week depending on the weather and their efforts have been recognised both locally and nationally. But work must now come to a sudden halt after thieves broke into their base at the Peter le Marchant Trust, off Beeches Road, and stole the boats engine before setting alight to the boat itself....

  • Boat rescue for ill man stuck on narrow boat following Tewkesbury floods thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    An ILL man, drifting in and out of consciousness, was rescued after being stuck on his narrow boat because of flood water in Tewkesbury. Paramedics from Great Western Ambulance Service were unable to reach the man on board the vessel at the back of Abbey Mill. Crews from Tewkesbury fire station launched their rescue boat from the Avon and took him safely ashore....

  • Hereford & Gloucester Canal's Dymock development recommended for refusal thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    Proposals for 20 new homes, 15 of which would be affordable, around a remodelled section of the canal in Dymock have been recommended for refusal. Councillors will have the final say on Tuesday but planning officers will tell them the scheme is in conflict with several local and national policies. ...

  • Dredging a hot topic in Gloucester thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    British Waterways organised a dredging forum at its city office in the Docks on Tuesday, with city councillors, boatsman, and enthusiasts all in attendance. Simon Bamford, from British Waterways, fielded a number of questions about the dredging at the Docks, mainly about silt levels. He said: "Sedimentation in the Docks has been far greater this year and last than it has ever been before....

  • Avon Vale group of K&A Trust nominated for Waterways Renaissance award thisiswiltshire.co.uk

    The Devizes-based Avon Vale Group of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, who restored a sunken boat to help keep the Kennet and Avon Canal spruced up, have been nominated for a Waterways Renaissance award. The group – John Kirby, John Peters, Adrian Softley and Rod Hannah, all from the Devizes area – joined up five years ago as a volunteer work squad to clear the canal’s banks of excess vegetation....

Wednesday 2 May

Waterways Renaissance Awards shortlist announced

The Waterways Trust has announced the shortlist for the 2012 Waterways Renaissance Awards.  This year 29 projects bound up with canals and rivers in the UK have been shortlisted, including education programmes, innovative design and construction schemes, pioneering environmental initiatives and dedicated volunteers.

This is the tenth year of the awards, designed to recognise and reward exceptional projects that have turned inland waterways into desirable places for living, learning and leisure.

The finalists for the 12 categories are:

• A11 Bow Riverside Footbridge & Walkway, London

• Avon Vale, Devizes

• Bath Bridges & Chimney Restoration, Bath

• Beam Parklands, Dagenham

• Bedford Waterspace Study, Bedford

• Canals for the Community, Stoke on Trent

• Dewsbury Waterways, Dewsbury

• Droitwich Canals Restoration, Worcestershire

• Dutton Upper Horse Bridge, Northwich

• Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy, Edinburgh

• Education through Restoration, Cefn Flight of 14 Locks, Newport

• Granary Wharf, Leeds

• Heritage Boatyard & the Restoration of Mendip, Ellesmere Port

• Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail, Hampshire

• Kings Cross Central Canal Fund, London

• Ladywell Fields, Lewisham

• Lagan Legacy, Belfast

• Langley Mill Swingbridge, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire

• Leeds Waterfront Festival, Leeds

• Long Preston Deeps River Restoration, Settle

• On the Waterfront, Beauchamp Floating Classroom, London

• Revitalisation of the Monkland Canal, Glasgow

• River Nene Infrastructure Improvements, Peterborough

• Spalding Waterspace Study, Lincolnshire

• The Peace Bridge, Derry/Londonderry

• Tregaron Flood Alleviation Project, Ceredigion

• Wallbridge Project, Stroud

• Waterways Action Squad, North West England

• White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme, Glasgow

Roger Hanbury, chief executive of the awards, said: "It is truly inspiring to see that, even in these very challenging economic times, people and organisations  are continuing to work together to realise the benefits of our canals and rivers for communities across the UK. All projects reaching the finalist stage should be justifiably proud of all that they have achieved."

The awards categories are: Area-Based Regeneration, Community, Design/Construction, Education/Learning, Flood Risk Management, Historic Environment, Innovation, Natural Environment, Partnership, Recreation/Tourism, Strategy, and Masterplanning/Volunteering.

The 2012 Waterways Renaissance Awards are sponsored by CPC Civils, Galliford Try and Hyder Consulting and May Gurney. The winners will be announced at the ICC in Birmingham on Wednesday, 23rd May 2012.

Andrew Denny  | 12.42pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Thames Cleeve Lock cottage rental ‘dashed’ by access road issues getreading.co.uk

    A couple claim they have been left in the lurch after a blunder by the Environment Agency (EA) and a letting agent blocked their dream to move into a lockkeepers’ cottage on the River Thames. Ian Forsyth and his partner Gill McBlhenny had agreed to rent the cottage at Cleeve Lock in Oxfordshire just upstream from Streatley and on the opposite bank to Goring. ... The couple were on the verge of signing a contract with letting agents Lesters when they spotted a clause about restricted access which led to the EA immediately retracting its offer. After further discussion they discovered it referred to a privately owned track off the A329 Wallingford Road which meant they had no way of getting to the cottage by car....

  • House of Lords cross-examine BW directors kanda.boatingcommunity.org.uk

    Five liveaboard boaters attended the House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee on 24 April, to observe Robin Evans, the BW Chief Executive; Nigel Johnson, BW’s Legal Director, and Waterways Minister Richard Benyon MP being cross-examined by the Committee about the Draft British Waterways (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012. The boaters observing included Frank Kelly, who stood for election to the Canal and River Trust Council, and Nick Brown, Legal Officer of the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA), who sent this report:...

  • Race to get river ready in time for Queen's Jubilee Pageant server1.pla.co.uk

    Port of London Authority (PLA) crews are hard at work laying over three miles of mooring chains for vessels taking part in the Thames river pageant being held on 3 June to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Almost 10,000 feet of chain – the length of 267 original Routemaster double-decker London buses parked end to end – is being used to construct special moorings in Barn Elms Reach, between Putney Bridge and the Harrod’s Depository near Hammersmith Bridge....

Tuesday 1 May

Bishop’s water journey for WaterAid

The Bishop of Reading, the Rt Revd Andrew Proud, is travelling this week aboard a narrowboat on the Kennet & Avon Canal and the Thames as a way of ‘getting to know his patch’ and encouraging the clergy in Berkshire to take time out from their busy lives. Each evening he will hold a service in nearby churches to which everyone is welcome.

His journey began in Newbury on Monday 30th April, in the west of his diocese, and will end in Windsor in the east a week later. He will be accompanied by his wife Dr Janice Proud and his chaplain for the week, the Revd Graeme Fancourt. Along the way he hopes to raise money for WaterAid in Ethiopia – where he served as a bishop before moving to Reading a year ago.

“The Area I serve is vast, and its shape makes it very difficult for us to feel connected to each other,” says Bishop Andrew.

“A year into my time here, I decided I wanted to do something to bring as many of us together as possible, to help me understand the Area better. I’m hoping this will be a chance for us to draw breath and reflect on the fast pace of our life in Berkshire.”

Bishop Andrew is encouraging as many people as possible to join him for the evening services in their locality. "Please help me to make the best of this pilgrimage," he says. "Please prayer for us, that we shall all be touched by the renewing love of the God."

Andrew Denny  | 4.52pm | add a comment

Northampton Boat Gathering postponed

The irony of too much rain – rather than too little – has caused the postponement of next weekend’s Northampton Boat Gathering, on the River Nene at Becket’s Park.

Earlier this month it had been feared the Gathering would be curtailed because of drought restrictions preventing boaters from coming via the Northampton arm of the Grand Union. Then agreement was reached with British Waterways to allow the event to go ahead with a provisional six-day opening of the Arm.


But now the heavy rains have led to flood conditions on the River Nene, closing it to navigation and stopping river-based boats downstream of Northampton from reaching Becket’s Park.

The Northampton branch of the IWA has organised the Gathering for many years. The branch’s chairman, Bernard Morton, said: “We’ve decided to postpone the event until later this year, probably until the August Bank Holiday weekend. By that time we hope the water shortage situation on the canals will have been resolved – and this would  allow many more canal-based boats to get to Northampton, resulting in a bumper Gathering.”

Highlighting the dangers of the swelling river last weekend, over a thousand holidaymakers were evacuated from the nearby Billing Aquadrome and Cogenhoe Mill riverside camping sites, as a ‘precautionary measure’.

Andrew Denny  | 1.26pm | add a comment

'Diagonal lock' campaigner calls for BCN museum

Engineer and waterways campaigner Terry Fogarty has proposed a plan to set up a museum in Birmingham dedicated to the canals of the city, and the role they have played in its development.

Surprisingly, the ‘Second City’ doesn’t have its own canal museum, despite being at the heart of Britain’s waterways.  

Terry, who has been promoting his own invention of the ‘diagonal lock’ for almost decade, believes a museum could be located alongside the Camp Hill Locks at Bordesley, where the Grand Union Canal meets the Birmingham Canal navigations.

“I haven’t got a specific building in mind for the museum, but there are plenty of disused buildings that could serve the purpose,” he said.  “The area around the Camp Hill flight is badly neglected and discourages boaters as well as tourists. A museum would act as a focus for development and improvements.

Another suggested location for a BCN museum has been at the old (and long-closed) ‘Fiddle & Bone’ pub, near Brindley Place. However, he criticises that as too central, losing the opportunity to regenerate the area around Camp Hill, at Acock’s Green and Bordesley.

Terry’s diagonal lock vision is not short of sceptics. Many have criticised it as ‘hare-brained’ or worse. However, Terry says it has been backed in principle by BW chief engineer, George Ballinger. Installing the first one at Camp Hill would be a perfect accompaniment to the museum, proving the concept and drawing in the tourists.

He has now raised his museum idea with South Birmingham Development Planning and Regeneration official Peter Wright, who has already publicly backed the diagonal lock proposal.

Andrew Denny  | 12.31pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Chesterfield Canal's Staveley basin project honoured in construction awards derbyshiretimes.co.uk

    Work carried out on the Staveley Town Basin land reclamation scheme was named the merit award winner in the small project category of the ICE East Midlands Merit Awards. The awards, held by the Institution of Civil Engineers, recognise the region’s top civil engineering projects. The small project category is open to projects in the East Midlands which cost less than £750,000. The project, designed by Derbyshire County Council and carried out by principal contractor NT Killingley Ltd, saw the construction of a new canal basin on the Chesterfield Canal at Staveley carried out in partnership with the Chesterfield Canal Trust Ltd and the Chesterfield Canal Partnership....

  • British Waterways defends £23,730 spent on "party gear" civilsociety.co.uk

    British Waterways has defended itself over the £23,730 spent on what critics said was "party gear" for the launch of the Canal and River Trust this summer. The launch will use over 30,000 balloons, 30 miles of bunting and 25,000 stickers for celebratory events across the country. BW said that any third party applying to host an event along the towpath can use the balloons and stickers to help raise awareness of the new charity. “An important element of the Trust’s strategy will be to increase public awareness of the importance of our historic canals and rivers to both people and wildlife, and to encourage towpath visitors to become active supporters either as volunteers or donors. “To do this it is essential that we increase awareness of the Canal and River Trust’s name and what it stands for.” ...

  • April is the wettest for 100 years bbc.co.uk

    It has been the wettest April in the UK for over 100 years, with some areas seeing three times their usual average, figures from the Met Office show. Some 121.8mm of rain has fallen, beating the previous record of 120.3mm which was set in 2000....

Monday 30 April

Developers sought for historic 38-acre Leeds & Liverpool canal factory site near Burnley

A clean-up campaign has been completed at the historic William Blythe chemical factory, canalside at Hapton, near Burnley, and the owners are looking for investors to develop the site, reports the Lancashire Telegraph. 

The Blythe plant, which at its peak in the early 20th C employed over 1,000 people, closed in 2006, and since then efforts have concentrated on cleaning up the land.

Around a third of the 38-acre site will be available for housing, with the rest, at the western end, converted into a nature haven as part of a £2million programme.

Mike Dove, of Leeds-based property agents Dove Haigh Phillips, said: “Up to 280 high-quality houses can be built within a pleasant green setting by the historic canal. It has the potential to be really stunning.

“There will be large areas of open space and a restored country park within the green belt for the use of residents to the development and the wider Hapton community.”

The last significant structure on the site, the 150ft chimney, was felled in 2009, as recorded on video by the Lancashire Telegraph

The site can be seen clearly on Google Maps, with the chimney still standing

Andrew Denny  | 12.42pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Wounded soldiers crew narrowboats to Thames Pageant bbc.co.uk

    Two narrowboats crewed by wounded soldiers are leaving Shropshire to go to the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass will be crewed by nine wounded and injured soldiers from the Personnel Recovery Unit based at Copthorne Barracks, Shrewsbury. The narrow boats are specially-adapted for use by disabled people....

  • Spring clean for the Calder & Hebble at Brighouse basin brighouseecho.co.uk

    Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and pulled on their rubber gloves to give the canal in their area a spring clean. British Waterways, the Calder Navigation Society, Calder Future and Pennine Canoe Club helped with the clean-up of the Calder and Navigation through Brighouse....

  • I want to take adrenaline-seeking teenagers on a Thames boat trip. What is on offer? telegraph.co.uk

    I want to take some adrenaline-seeking teenagers on a Thames boat trip. What is on offer? A boat trip along the River Thames doesn't have to be a sedate affair - there are plenty of high-octane, action-packed options too. Here are some that are sure to quicken your pulse....

  • Tewkesbury sets up flood incident room as river rises bbc.co.uk

    The Environment Agency (EA) has warned of localised flooding across parts of southern and eastern England, the Midlands and Wales. Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, which was devastated by flooding in July 2007, is on alert and the EA has set up an incident room there along with two others in the Midlands and another in the Wessex area. Forecasters warned that more rain is expected to fall in the coming week with southern and western areas likely to see the worst of the wet weather. After a brief respite today, more heavy showers are expected this evening and through Tuesday. The damp conditions then look set to continue right through the week....

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