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PETERBOROUGH BRANCH

HEREWARD SUMMER 2011

www.iwapeterborough.org.uk The IWA charity registered number 212342 The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Peterborough Branch. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers


Major Work underway at Orton

Work is currently underway at Orton on the River Nene to replace damaged piling and to provide new visitor moorings and facilities for access to Ferry Meadows and the Nene Valley Railway. Completion is due in June.


CHAIRMAN’S LETTER

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t doesn’t seem possible but here we are again, what do I write this time that I haven’t written before. Well, in the report on the Easter Cruise I recount a story of an all time first. A plan that worked! Welches Dam.—A plan that hasn’t yet. The Defra Consultation Response.- Not quite what we expected. The branch social programme - Who cares? The New Waterways Charity. It’s BW and all about Canals isn’t it, so we don’t need to worry about it do we? Since the last Hereward we have been heavily involved in dealing with all of the above, and guess what, only one of them came anywhere close to being fun. Rarely these days do I take things to heart and allow myself to get stressed about things but just occasionally the odd thing pierces my carapace of cynical indifference and guess what! Four out of five of the above have managed it. I am genuinely angry about the things that are happening on the waterway systems that we all enjoy and within the organisation we belong to, and its attitude and response to some of these things. I deal with each of these in detail within the magazine; your comments and involvement are invited and welcomed. On a personal note I am in the throes of changing my job, the new role will require me to be away from home a lot more and will undoubtedly impact on the time available for my activities ‘out of school’. I give considerable time and mileage to the IWA, the Scout Group that Jonathan enjoys and the Hockey Club both sons play for. It is possible that I may have to consider reducing my commitments, That said I look forward to seeing you on the river.

Alastair Chambers

EASTER CRUISE

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hen I started thinking about the Easter Cruise I was vaguely aware that it was relatively late this year, and hoped this would improve the chances of some decent weather. Hands up all those who can remember sitting in The George one year watching the rain lashing down the 40’ and refusing to go anywhere! Even I could not have wished for better, by Good Friday the sun was almost blazing down, it had exceeded quite warm and was heading for jolly nice. By the time Alexander and I had helped lock some boats through High Lode the cruise was looking good. By late afternoon we had 12 boats down at Holme Fen including 3 total newcomers. The only problem was an excess of bio-diversity, knee high in places and composed largely of stinging nettles. I bribed my children and suitably equipped they hacked paths to enable the thirst crazed crews to reach the Admiral Wells. We were joined by Sadie and Fred and Barbara Charlesworth who all braved a hazardous passage by road. 1


E-MAIL ADDRESS UPDATE

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n the Summer 2010 edition of Hereward I explained that the branch was intending to send out email alerts from time to time in relation to urgent news items which arose in the three-monthly gaps between the editions of Hereward. The messages would be drawn up by the branch but actually transmitted for us by IWA HQ which held the database of members’ email addresses. Any such process would obviously only be effective if the email addresses which were held were accurate and up to date. Headquarters estimated that it held email addresses for about 50% of the branch but our very strong suspicion was that many of those addresses were out of date. This issue was discussed at the recent branch AGM by which date the branch had sent out three email alerts. It was very disappointing to be told that only one person out of those attending that meeting actually recalled receiving any of those messages. This clearly underlines the problem. It may be that you have not troubled to keep up to date your email address held by HQ because you do not want to be contacted by HQ or the branch or it may be that you have recently changed your address and have overlooked telling HQ. Whatever the reason it is pointless for the branch to produce such alerts unless there are at least a few members who wish to, and are able to, receive them. I therefore make no excuses for repeating the information given in the previous edition. If you want to receive our alerts and know or believe that HQ holds an out –of –date email address for you please let HQ [not the branch] know by contacting the National Membership Officer, Tracy Higgin, at tracy.higgin@waterways.org.uk Whilst on this topic I should let you know that we do regularly receive from the EA and MLC notices relating to the restriction or suspension of navigation at individual sites on their respective waterways. These we could make available to you by email alert if there was a demand. [Clearly we have not because of the long gap between editions been able to include such details in the editions of Hereward]. Is there a demand for such information and in relation to which waterways would you like it? We receive it in relation to the Middle Level as a whole and for both the Nene and the Ouse. Please let us know what you would like!

Nigel Long

……………...Easter Cruise cont’d A good time was had by the survivors. Saturday saw yet more sunshine and after a trip to walk the dog and purchase essential supplies (papers and beer) we all set off mid-morning in the baking heat. We had a slow but steady cruise up to Benwick, at which point some of us stopped to visit the blessedly cool and refreshing pub, although the new moorings were in use, we managed to find space. cont’d on page 4…….. 2


£7.95

……………...Easter Cruise cont’d The weather remained superb and we turned left at Angle Corner and headed toward Bevills Leam Pumping Station. The water was wide and deep and everyone made excellent progress, although we ended up mooring about half a mile from the pumping station as the sides were better. By early evening the flotilla had all moored and a bankside barby was in full swing, disturbed only by an occasional tractor along the bank. A really jolly time was had. Next morning several boats made the short trip along to see the pumping station, which is an impressive structure, before continuing slowly up to Whittlesey in time for lunch. This was taken in the new Wetherspoons, during our long liquid lunch a cricket match was suggested. Once back at the Manor field we set up stumps. Rules were simple, every one batted and bowled, anyone reaching 12 runs declared and went into the knockout round. Hitting the ball into the nettles was decreed 4 and out! The cricket tea was provided by Wendy and the eventual winner was Jonathan, probably because he was a) sober and b) the only one the right size for the bat! All in all a great cruise which I hope was enjoyed by everyone who took part. Monday we all set off to our various moorings and hopefully will all be back for next year’s foray around the fabled Middle Level.

Alastair Chambers 3


DEFRA Consultation Document & IWA Response

D

EFRA recently issued a ‘consultation document’ entitled ‘A New Era for the Waterways’ in relation to the new Waterways Charity. This document ran out at 89 pages and has caused a bit of a stir in relation to some of proposals. One of IWA’s cherished ambitions was for a single Navigation Authority for all Inland Waterways, and the creation of the New Waterways Charity (NWC) promised this with the provision of adequate funding being implied. IWA was so supportive and uncritical of this plan to move BW/EA into a new body that I believe we laid ourselves open to charges of being far to close to BW in particular with little consideration being given to the impact on EA waterways apart from the Thames. The publication of this document made it clear that DEFRA hadn’t been paying too much attention to anything IWA said. EA will not be included from day 1, it may be 2014/15 before it is incorporated into NWC by which time we could have a change of government with new policies so EA could well never be included in NWC. The recent huge public outcry and campaign over vague plans to ‘privatise’ woodlands has shown what a concerted campaign can achieve but there has been no such unified reaction in relation to the waterways. There will be Local Boards to increase user involvement, this will inevitably mean a diminution of Navigation influence as a wide range of towpath users all get a say but only boaters and anglers will pay directly into NWC. The real killer however is funding which seems pitifully inadequate, being somewhere between £15 to £45 million per annum short of what is needed. BW’s estimate of income from charitable giving has also been scaled back by £3 million and the NWC’s perception of itself as a membership organisation, recruiting members to care about and care for the waterways seems tenuous. The time allowed for response was short and Trustees requested that branches responded via Region, I can’t say what other Regions said but Eastern Region replied, 2 branches being broadly in favour of the proposals, 2 strenuously opposed them. I do know only half the Regions responded. IWA has successfully revived the moribund Parliamentary Waterways Group and provides secretarial support. It is to be hoped that by lobbying MP’s we can even at this very late stage ameliorate the worst effects of these proposals. Whether this will be more effective than a campaign to get hundreds of boats and their owners out on Rivers and Canals actively protesting remains to be seen, although another criticism I have heard is that we (IWA) don’t seem to campaign any more. Perhaps we should be saying that if the NWC cannot be properly funded, and be able to guarantee a safe and secure long term future for all our navigations, EA as well as BW then we should not touch it with a barge pole and the Government should think again. After all this wouldn’t be its first spectacular U-turn.

Alastair Chambers 4


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WELCHES DAM LOCK UPDATE

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last wrote in detail on this issue in the Winter edition of Hereward. At that time IWA Navigation Committee was obtaining legal advice on the decision of the Environment Agency not to repair Welches Dam lock. One of the reasons given by the Agency for its decision was that it had no legal duty to maintain the structure. This the IWA did not accept. Positive legal advice has subsequently been received by the IWA and as a result of that advice the IWA’s solicitors wrote a detailed letter to the Agency on 3rd March this year. In that letter the IWA set out its understanding of the legal position, asked the Agency to point out any matters on which it thought the IWA to be in error and subject thereto sought its proposals for repair of the structure. Although the Agency has since been “chased” for a reply, no reply has been received to date. As I write this note we have already been waiting for some 15 weeks for the Agency to reply. Its silence is all the more strange given that it must itself have obtained its own legal advice before it notified the IWA of its position last summer. If the Agency continues to ignore us the IWA will shortly need to explore what further steps it should take to bring this matter to a conclusion.

Nigel Long

Mill Drove, Ramsey Cambs. PE26 2RD Tel: 01487 813621 billfenmarina@tiscali.co.uk www.billfenmarina.com

Moorings occasionally available, £11.60 per foot per year + VAT, if paid annually. Slipway for bottom blacking from £120.00 Chandlery, Fuel, Gas, Toilets, Shower We stock Rylard & Craftmaster Paints, Anodes, Coflex, Rust Konverta, Incralac etc. 7


BRANCH SOCIAL PROGRAMME

T

he job of Programme Secretary is one of, if not the most thankless task there is. Over the years Peterborough Branch has been lucky to have people in the role who have worked very hard to provide a wide range of varied and interesting speakers, on topics from newts, eels, bees and knots to sailing the Atlantic via the history of the Middle Level. Attendances at our meetings have been generally pretty good, accepting that you will never please everybody; however this last year has seen a dramatic fall off in numbers, culminating in the last meeting of the season being attended by only one member other than the representatives of the committee! This was embarrassing and insulting to the speaker. The committee has discussed this at considerable length and feel that it is time to ask a very simple question. Do you, our membership want a social programme or do we stop wasting our time and your money? There are two answers and options available to you:1) No we don’t: please tell us. 2) Yes we do; please tell us and offer some ideas of what you might want: I am writing this in early June, holidays are coming up, we don’t have a committee meeting in July so I will assume that if I haven’t had any response by the end of August then it’s option 1.

Alastair Chambers

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PROTECTIVE COVERS FOR ALL APPLICATIONS

Contact Ray Whitby Unit 3C Cromwell Business Centre New Road, St Ives PE27 5BG Tel: (01480) 462150 Fax: (01480) 493309 E-mail: ray.whitby@onetel.net Web:www.srobb.co.uk

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EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION In co-operation with the North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust WORK PARTY PROGRAMME FOR JUNE TO DECEMBER 2011. Jun

12 24 July 10 25 Aug 7 21 Sept 04 18 Oct 02 16 30 Nov 13 27 Dec 11 26

Ebridge All Welcome ! Bacton Wood Bacton Wood Honing For further details contact: Briggate David Revill, Ebridge EAWA Bacton Wood Work Party Organiser Honing 01603-738648 Briggate davgis@live.co.uk Ebridge Honing Bacton Wood Bacton Wood Briggate Day Off - HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Work site locations may be found on the Ipswich IWA Website http://www.waterways.org.uk/regions_branches/eastern/Ipswich/restoration 10


TIPS FOR CROSSING THE WASH

by Richard Fairman

F

irstly crossing the Wash, or any other short sea passage, should be an enjoyable experience with a hint of adventure; NOT a terrifying white knuckle ride!. With all things leisure, the weather has a great deal to do with it. The boats (all classes) can put up with a lot more than the crews can, but we never go to sea in marginal conditions because the powers that be would have a field day if anyPearsons or Imray are not much use out thing were to go wrong. As here! with all journeys, the secret of success is in the planning. If all goes well it will be a simple affair of following the signposts out at sea and you may get rather more sun burnt than on the inland waterways. This is because there is no dust in the atmosphere to filter the sun; there is more reflected glare off the moving water and the movement of the air, even if there is no wind is cooling so that you do not appreciate that you are being burned. All trips on the Wash take about ten hours as we go out with the tide and we come in with the tide. This gives time, all things being equal, for a BBQ or even a short game of cricket on the Roger Sand. There is usually plenty of wild life to see at low tide on the Wash. We like to do the whole trip in daylight, which means high tide morning and evening which is therefore a spring tide which comes in further and goes out further giving a good chance of seeing seals and a huge variety of sea And it sometimes gets a bit choppy! birds. Machinery reliability is the biggest single risk which can be much reduced by travelling in convoy. A full fuel tank will not slop about thus stirring up the sediment at the bottom of the tank. Of course you do all carry spare fuel filters don't you? In the next issue:- Vital equipment - knowing where you are - contact numbers. 11


EDITOR’S NOTES

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irstly an apology for the production problems that affected the last edition of Hereward. These have now been resolved and it is hoped your enjoyment of the newsletter was not adversely affected. As we went to press last time the announcement of the future of the EA Waterways was still awaited but we now know that it is intended these will be transferred to the new Waterways Charity but not until 2015, subject to the next Government spending review. This situation is bound to bring about a period of uncertainty for the rivers in our region until matters are resolved one way or another. We have already heard of budget and staff cuts and this is not a good situation. A good pointer to the ‘state of the nation’ in waterways terms is how the various boat shows and rallies hold up in terms of exhibitors and visitor attendances. The first major show at Crick has just taken place over the late May Bank Holiday and early reports are it was a success under the new stewardship of the magazine Waterways World. There seemed to be more on show in the way of new boats but it seemed to be the ‘quality’ builders that were there in strength and despite price tags exceeding £100k there were queues and waiting lists for viewings. Build slots were being quoted as over 12 months hence so there is still money being spent in some quarters. In terms of a lot of the other artefacts on sale I sometimes wonder what it is all about. There was plenty of stuff on sale from cakes, cheese, jewellery and so on, but I wanted a tin of paint for the back deck. Humble Raddle Red— nothing fancy. None was to be had but as we were there for the three days one of the traders brought me a tin from his base in Cambridge for the Shiny new boats on show at Crick Monday. Perhaps if you want boat paint you need to go to a cake show! Another thing I noticed at Crick was the number of wide narrowboats on show! That sounds like a contradiction in terms and I am not sure what they should be called, but to me they are not the prettiest of craft and the narrowboat concept just does not seem to come-off in anything above 7 feet beam. I would think their popularity is more for floating living rather than intensive cruising as their route availability must be limited. Still each to his own. Philip Halstead 12


Email: gregbassam@gbwatersports.co.uk 13


Brian W. Smith Marine Surveyor Pre-Purchase Surveys Valuations—Insurance Surveys CE Compliance for Home Builds Contact Brian on: Tel: 01354 680341 Mobile: 07887 781649 E-mail: smith.marine@btinternet.com

Boat Safety Examinations Engine Evaluation & Condition Ultra-sound Osmosis Assessment Gas System Surveys

Member of the Association of Boat Safety Examiners - Gas Safe Reg. YDSA

EA—ANGLIA REGION NAVIGATION GROUP 1) Agency Reorganisation The need for economy needs no explanation. In Anglia Region Navigation section it has resulted in the loss of four posts including that of one of the two dedicated waterway engineers. Irven Forbes explained that the number of permanent employees in the section had reached a high of the early 30’s two years ago. Now it had reduced to the low 20’s. More generally within the Agency, Thames and Southern have merged and there is one waterway (i.e. Navigation) manager to cover both the Thames and Medway. Irven, of course, remains as the Anglia manager. Above the level of waterway manager there had existed a small staff at the Agency headquarters dedicated to Navigation. This higher structure has been completely dismantled. The Agency is conducting a review to sit alongside the DEFRA consultation about the new charity. The Agency project is to consider how best to maintain its navigations until they are taken over by the new charity. An assurance was given that the Agency intends to maintain them properly in the intervening period but this assurance must obviously be dependant on the level of available money. Meanwhile it was confirmed that the level of Grant in Aid to Anglia in the current financial year has been reduced by £600,000. To try to maintain the level of maintenance this reduction has largely been set against the capital budget. 14


2) Future Consultation with Users There was a discussion about how the users of the navigations might be consulted in future. There was a perceived need to try to obtain the views of users from a wider geographical area than just the Nene and Ouse and from a wider type of user than just powered boaters. It was suggested that the RNG might be divided so that there were two such bodies, one dealing with the Nene and Ancholme and the other with the Ouse and Stour. It was agreed to return to this issue again at the next meeting in the autumn by which time the outcome of the DEFRA consultation and the future shape of the new charity should have clarified. It was also noted that following the demise of REFRAC waterway users were not represented within the Agency mechanisms at any level above that of the RNG. It was also agreed to return to this issue in the autumn meeting. Meanwhile and as an interim measure some paddlers are to be invited to attend the next meeting of the RNG. 3) Capital Works 2011/12 It was confirmed that in the year 2010/11 the final level of the capital budget derived from Agency sources had been £2.4m. The corresponding figure for 2011/12 is £1.43m. – a reduction of about £1m. While there is some hope that additional monies may become available from Agency resources later in the year this is clearly a major blow which has consequences. A schedule setting out how the budget was to be spent was circulated. So far as the Nene is concerned the main items are the completion of the piling work at Orton and of the marina at Northampton and the replacement of the upstream landing stage at Water Newton lock. Otherwise a draindown and inspection of locks and an inspection and repair as necessary of lock guillotines is planned. Finally on the long-running saga of the repair and resiting of Nene lock landing stages, what is planned for this year is merely the completion of inspection and the preparation of a business case for action; there will be no activity on the ground. 4) Strong Stream Advice We were notified that on both the Ouse and the Nene it was intended to roll out a new design of red signs to warn of danger at locks in the course of a SSA event. In addition it was intended to experiment with the installation of a red warning light at one lock on the Ouse. As you know on the Nene in a SSA event there are 8 locks where the gates are reversed. Seven of these have electricity nearby and it is intended to install warning lights at those seven sites.

Nigel Long We hope you will please support our advertisers in return for the continued valuable support they give to the Branch in making this publication possible.

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INLAND WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION Peterborough Branch

COMMITTEE MEMBERS CHAIRMAN: Alastair Chambers 52 Hereward Way, Deeping St James, Peterborough PE6 8QB Tel: 01778 344438 e-mail: alastair.boater@virgin.net DEPUTY CHAIRMAN & SALES OFFICER: Graham Baughn PO Box 15, 10 Marina Drive, March, Cambs PE15 0AU Tel: 07578-753558 e-mail: w.baughn@tesco.net SECRETARY: Nigel Long 7 Georgian Court, Peterborough PE3 6AF Tel: 01733 553782 e-mail: nhlong@supanet.com TREASURER: Michael Slaughter 45 Elstone, Orton Waterville, Peterborough PE2 5JZ Tel: 01733 390598 e-mail: m.slaughter45@ntlworld.com MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Carole Chambers 52 Hereward Way, Deeping St James, Peterborough PE6 8QB Tel: 01778 344438 e-mail: alastair.boater@virgin.net EDITOR: Philip Halstead, 20 Cane Avenue, Peterborough PE2 9QT Tel: 01733 348500 e-mail: pp@halstead5.orangehome.co.uk John Dudley, 1 Bellmans Road, Whittlesey, Peterborough PE7 1TY Tel: 01733 202581 Roger Mungham Boatmans Cottage, Workhouse Lane, Upwell, Wisbech PE14 9ET Tel: 01945 773002 e-mail: rogerboatmans@talktalk.net Roger Sexton, 2 Shaw Drive, March, Cambridgeshire PE15 9TB Tel: 01354 652329 David Venn, Bruffs Lodge, High Street, Nordelph, Downham Market PE38 0BL Tel: 01366 324102 e-mail:davidgvenn@tiscali.co.uk Richard Fairman, The Old Railway House, Cowbit, Spalding, Lincs PE12 0XD Tel: 01406 380575

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More on the Work at Orton

The work has involved the use of a large crane, pile driving equipment and heavy earth moving plant. Orton Lock has remained open during the work with some limitations.

Just as we went to press dredging was taking place by the new piling



Hereward Summer 2011