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January 2012


Journal of the IWA’s Milton Keynes Branch

The refurbishment of the Iron Trunk Aqueduct has begun. Seen from beneath the gas pipe (which is to be removed), an abseiler jet-washes the southern abutment just before Christmas. Other work on the Aqueduct and its surroundings will begin in the New Year. Photo: James Clifton.

The Inland Waterways Association

The IWA (registered charity no. 212342) campaigns for the restoration, conservation and sensitive development of the waterways, and for their fullest commercial and recreational use consistent with safeguarding their historic and natural environment. If you are not a member and would like to find out more: contact any of the Branch Committee members listed on Page 16; contact IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA, telephone 01494 783453; visit the IWAweb site at

Welcome to January Towpath Telegraph . . . This is a news-packed edition! A surprise Christmas Clean-up (well, sort of), the Branch Achievement Award, local personalities on TV, important developments in Parliament, and further strides by BCS and B&MKWT. Apologies to the Wendover Arm Trust - I couldn’t find space for you this time, but we’ll splash the Festival in the May edition. Oops, poor choice of words there - let’s pray for rain to refill the reservoirs, but not on 3 - 5 June, please! We hope you enjoy this edition.

Chairman's column Christmas Clean-up at Milton Keynes! Congratulations! MK wins Branch Achievement Award New members MK boating personalities on TV Scouts join in for Autumn Clean-up Diary Page IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM GU South water supply situation “not good” Editor’s Corner B&MK’s 200th anniversary Buckingham Canal Society news IWA Eastern Region AGM All-party Waterways Group questions Minister CRT Council nominations sought Getting in touch with MK Branch

2-3 4-5 5 6 6 6 7 8-9 9 10 - 11 11 12 - 13 12 13 14 - 15 15 16

Chairman’s Column

I like reading about waterways, but I prefer being out and about on them - particularly on a boat; after all, boats are what they were built for. But this is looking unsustainable in the future within my budget. I have received my licence renewal (£773 for 56-foot) which, as expected, is far in excess of inflation. Rates are set to continue above inflation, with 6.4% increase from April 2012, and thereafter at 2% above the Consumer Prices Index (currently at 4.4 %). So by 2017 it will cost over £1,000, and will reach that figure sooner if the ‘Prompt Payment Discount’ is reduced, which is what is apparently planned. I cannot see the government making any further money available for the Canal & River Trust (CRT), so whose pockets will they want to dip in for more cash? Ours, the boaters? Meanwhile, the majority of others continue using the canals without charge. Although I disapprove of the “Continuous Cruiser” who doesn’t continuously cruise, I can see why people are taking boats out of marinas and mooring them on the bank, saving themselves around £2,000 a year in mooring fees! I note that Grant Shapps, Housing Minister and MP for Welwyn Hatfield, in response to the issue of affordable housing, has been quoted as saying, “Houseboats are an example of how ‘unconventional housing’ can be used to tackle the crisis”. Sally Ash, head of boating at British Waterways is quoted as saying, “The number of people visiting and enjoying our canals and rivers has grown in recent years, and this . . . has triggered strong demand from people wanting to live afloat . . . We welcome the minister’s encouragement to local authorities to support the creation of purpose-built residential mooring sites, which we hope will help to alleviate localised congestion along the towpaths . . . We are also pleased to SAVE THE BRANCH MONEY! Stop receiving Towpath Telegraph by post, and view it in full colour over the telegraph wires on the IWA web site at Email Pete Bickers (see Page 16) with your name, postal address and IWA membership number. You’ll receive reminders when new editions are available, and information such as AGM notices as required by IWA Byelaws. For more details, please contact the Editor.

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Chairman’s Column - continued.

note the reassurance from Mr Shapps’ department that people can qualify for housing benefit for help with mooring fees”. Now I am all for this, provided that it happens as Sally Ash suggests, and is not seen as just a possible way to gain more revenue. During the debate over the travellers' site in Fenny, I raised the idea of small basin moorings for 20-25 boats, with basic facilities, properly managed and with reasonable charges. (See Editor’s note below.) Enough of my ranting! On behalf of MK Branch I was very proud to receive the IWA’s Branch AchievementAward, which was presented by our National Chairman Clive Henderson (see Page 6). I am pleased that the refurbishment of the Iron Trunk is gathering pace. Unfortunately I was not able to represent the Branch at the stakeholders' meeting held in November, but Athina Beckett was there, swapping her BCS cap for an IWA cap to represent us. From the minutes it seems all systems are go, and work will have started by the time you receive TPT, and is to be completed by February 2012 (no mention was made of inclement weather stopping work!). There will be opportunities to view work in progress, in particular the removal of the gas pipe, which will be done by abseilers! Our branch has ringfenced a sum of money for donating to this project. I have now had a chance to visit the Wolverton Mural, and I am pleased to see that it is still intact. Long may it stay that way. We are still looking for a Secretary, how about a New Year resolution: "Find our Branch a Secretary"? What a lovely start to the New Year if that could be achieved. By the time you read this, Christmas will have come and gone. I hope you had a good time and found a few minutes in your thoughts for those dear members we lost last year. I hope 2012 will be a better year for me, and that I can increase my involvement and input for the Branch. And that leads me to wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year. Peter Caswell, Branch Chairman. These residential marinas could either be self-run like the Aylesbury Canal Society site, or run by private enterprise, with local authority planning consent in both cases. Looking at the quotes Peter cites - see - together with an opinion from my resident Housing Professional, it seems unlikely that local authorities (who are generally ridding themselves of their landlord functions) would wish to become landlords to liveaboards directly - Ed.

A warm welcome from Gregg, Angela and the team at Grove Lock. Pop in for a drink of one of our outstanding cask conditioned ales or wines from around the world, or perhaps stay a little longer and enjoy some of our excellent home-cooked food.

We look forward to seeing you soon. Grove Lock: Grove, nr Leighton Buzzard, LU7 0QU Tel: 01525 380940. Email: Page 3

Christmas Clean-up at Milton Keynes! It was melody and mirth once more at the Branch Christmas social on 12 December. Michael and Tracy laid on a splendid meal, during which members had to unscramble town names in a quiz “recycled” by Tony Collins (good to have you and Diana with us). This was won on a tiebreaker by John Herrick. The Grapplers (Dave Darvill, Dave Roberts, Joseph Cresswell and Martin Banks) were first to entertain us, with this song to the tune of "We Three Kings": We three chaps from the IWA, Born to be on the waterway. Locking, cruising, eating, boozing, On t'water we're going to stay.

O - oh - Boats are super, boats are cool, Boats are simply wonderful, Days spent boating, or just floating, "Gently" is the golden rule.

John Herrick followed with a true tale of a fight ending in a death on the northern canals in 1872, and invited the jury (ourselves) to decide whether the accused was guilty of murder, manslaughter, or not guilty by reason of self-defence. By a show of hands, a verdict of manslaughter was returned, which coincided with the original verdict. John then revealed that the deceased, who had initiated the fight, was his greatgreat-grandfather - "so don't mess with me on the cut", he said! Annie pulls the strings . . .

Martin Banks, with his own accompaniment, gave us a song by Dave Ritchie: "The Finest of them All":

Now a strong pint we'll draw, At the brewers wharf we lie.

We're a pair down from Birmingham in thirty-seven hours! We're the finest of them all.

James Griffin and Mike Harper then staged a most convincing Clean-up before our very eyes. James first kitted out his willing helper in the requisite safety gear - hi-vis jacket, lifejacket, hard hat, etc. We were to imagine them standing on the back of the hopper, from where they tossed the grappling-hooks astern. These promptly vanished towards the wings, where Annie Roberts (property mistress, above) had hauled them with almost invisible fishing-line threads (indicated by broken lines across this spread). She then attached various items of rubbish for James and Mike to haul in hub-caps, tyres, a gun, a scooter, outsize ladies' underwear, but surprisingly - no trolleys! Meanwhile, Dave Roberts (property man) deployed navigational hazards for the clean-uppers to contend with, including a low bridge and overhanging branches. Your reporter believes this is being considered as the basis for future pre-Clean-up training exercises! Substituting for Pat Pickup (absent due to Ian's heavy cold), Annie Roberts read a Christmas poem, "Goodwill to Men - Give us your Money", by Pam Ayers, describing the commercialisation of Christmas and the eclipse of its original message. Wendy Evans read a poem with a northern flavour, called “My Aunt's Name”. The words to this had a sense that was somehow just out of reach perhaps we needed just a few more drinks: Page 4

Great Scott - it’s the Vicar!

Christmas Clean-up at Milton Keynes! - continued. My aunt's name is Ella Wheeler Waterbottle, She lives down in Burton-on-Trent. When she goes out shopping on her bicycle, She comes home with her handlebars bent!

Steak and kidney, seven and a tanner's worth, A little bit of chicken and a marlin spike. Hutch and Ted Ray at the Metropolitan Are doing much better than at Heckmondwyke!

Yours truly then introduced Reginald, a character created by H H Munro (alias Saki), who told how he had livened up a deadly-dull Christmas house-party by staging a mock suicide. Heather Darvill (below, left) read Roald Dahl's poem "A Hand in the Bird", in which a middle-aged maiden lady, while running the church tombola, is the subject of stealthy, intimate and unwelcome attentions by the Vicar himself! To round off the entertainment, we all sang verses composed by Wendy Evans foreshadowing the changes to come next year at British Waterways, to the tune of "White Christmas": We're dreaming of a New Era, Not like the one we used to know, Where the Trust will listen, As snowflakes glisten, Upon the dredgers on the go!

Finally, it was time to draw the raffle, and there seemed to be more prizes than ever. Roy Cleverly still . . . whisking the grappling hooks away, to be retrieved has a few prizes in store, but would (with debris, various) by James and Mike. welcome more to stockpile for future use. So keep aside those unwanted Christmas gifts. Thanks to Michael and Tracy for the meal, to all who took part in the entertainment and to Wendy who organised it, and a special thank-you to Dave Roberts who, having just arrived, realised he had forgotten a vital computer cable and had to return home for it! Report and pictures: Les Franklin.

Congratulations! At the Christmas social, it was a pleasure to meet Evita Holloway, fiancÊe of former Branch Chairman Roy Cleverly. Evita, from South Africa, has not yet named the day, as she is in course of obtaining her residence visa. They met, we understand, at the bus stop in Simpson Road. We wish Roy and Evita every happiness, and recommend any hopeful singles to try out the bus stop’s special powers! Page 5

MK wins Branch Achievement Award

At the Branch meeting on 24 October, we were pleased to welcome two special guests, National Chairman Clive Henderson and his wife Helen, who came to present the Branch Achievement Award. This had been announced at the Association's National AGM on 24 September, but embarrassingly no Branch member had been there to receive it! Presenting the award (a silver salver) to Branch Chairman Peter Caswell, Clive said that the Branch was receiving it “for its excellent record in its Clean-ups, wellattended Branch meetings, good relations with local waterway groups, and particularly for arranging the recent Wolverton Mural refurbishment (one of the best bits of free waterside publicity for IWA); also for achieving good publicity for the Clean-ups and Mural repairs, thus showing the IWA as a real ‘doing organisation’in the Milton Keynes area”.

Replying, Peter Caswell thanked the Committee for continuing to run the Peter Caswell receives the award from Clive Henderson. Branch during his illness, offered special thanks to Joseph Cresswell for bringing the Mural project to success, and We welcome the following also thanked the Branch membership for their support.

New members members who have recently joined MK Branch. We hope to see you at our meetings - please introduce yourselves to a Committee member. Mr B Arundel, London Mr B Brown, Luton Ms V Cronin, Reading Mr G & Mrs K Daly, Edlesborough Mr P & Mrs V Duskin, Leighton Buzzard Mr M & Mrs J Entwistle, Luton Mr R Exon, Bradwell, MK Mr J Honeyman-Bristow & family, Bletchley, MK Mr R & Mrs J Kierstenson, Leighton Buzzard Mr D E Model, Uxbridge Miss E Panton, Henlow Mr A I & Mrs L C Philcox, Dunstable Mr D & Mrs G Porter, Bletchley, MK Mr R Tebbutt & Mrs P Brazier, Ampthill

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In appreciation of the recent Clean-up, James Griffin of Wyvern Shipping took the opportunity of the meeting to present a cheque for £100 to the Branch, together with commercial diesel vouchers to David King and Athina Beckett. He has also sent cheques for £50 to both Linslade and Leighton Buzzard Scout troops. Report and picture: Les Franklin.


The UK Boating channel carries boating news and reviews, and items on boating abroad, technical issues, accessory reviews, beginners' guides and more. It can be viewed at , or on Information TV (Sky 231 and Freesat 402) at 8pm Monday and Thursday, or 8.30pm Sunday. The "Series 3" set of programmes roams the waterways, with items of history, exploration and interviews. Episode 11 of the series, to be broadcast from Monday 19 December for two weeks to the above schedule and subsequently on the site, includes interviews with Rodney Evans, Richard Goosey of Milton Keynes / Willowbridge Marinas, and James Griffin of Wyvern Shipping.

Scouts join in for Autumn Clean-up The Branch’s Autumn Clean up from Fenny Lock to the Galleon, Wolverton, took place during perfect weather on 14 - 16 October. The event was, as usual, generously sponsored by Wyvern Shipping Co and was supported by British Waterways.

A total of 39 volunteers took part, joined on the Saturday by scouts from Trinity Scout Group, Leighton Buzzard, and on the Sunday by scouts from 1st Linslade Scout Group. Thank you to everyone who so unstintingly gave of their time.

Members of 1st Linslade Scout Group at Wolverton. Photo: Tony Collins.

We enjoyed excellent food and service at the Barge Inn, Woolstone, on the Friday evening, and owe a particular vote of thanks to Marie and Vernon Draper for organizing an excellent evening at The New Inn at New Bradwell on the Saturday. My thanks go to Athina Beckett and Jonathan Brown for again using their boat to tow the pan, which is so important for clearing the offside of the canal. Thanks are also due to Roy Cleverly for providing refreshment facilities on board Imogen Rose. The star item recovered by the crew on the pan was a bottle containing two messages written by children who were enjoying a holiday on the canal in 2009. This was picked up by MK News who ran the story. Finally, and on a personal note, a huge thank you to Mike Harper, Philip Strangeway and James Griffin, who between them spent over an hour down the weedhatch of my boat after a grappling hook and line had been accidentally fouled round the propeller just as we were finishing at Wolverton. David King Tony Collins adds: The Scouts were brilliant! The Saturday lads walked and worked most of the way from the Barge Inn to New Inn, Bradwell (96 volunteer hours), having a short ride around Target Turn. The Sunday lads walked and worked from the New Inn to Wolverton wharf (63 volunteer hours). I believe they managed to hitch rides back on various boats to their meeting point at Bradwell. I believe they also managed to finish up any food that was left over!

Boat Safety Inspections DAVID TUCKER Authorised Examiner for the Boat Safety Scheme Competitive rates. For more details, please contact David on 01908 670151 or 07788 705969 mobile Email: Page 7

Diary Page Our winter meetings season continues at the Pavilion (map and directions opposite). Nonmembers are always welcome. Our own events are in bold type; selected events held by others are in regular type. For more information on our own events, please contact Rodney Evans unless other Committee members are named (contact details on back page). For other events, contact details or other sources of information are given where known. Monday 23 January MK Branch meeting: "Scottish Puffers and the 7.45pm PS Waverley", with John Toy, authority on working boats. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK Saturday 28 January 7.15pm Wednesday 22 February 8pm

Buckingham Canal Society AGM, with Cheese & Wine, and talk by a local historian. All welcome. Buckingham Community Centre, Cornwalls Meadow, Buckingham Chiltern Branch meeting: Haunted Canals, talk by Allan Scott-Davies, who has had some spooky experiences himself! Amersham & Chiltern Rugby Club, Ash Grove, Amersham, HP6 5QU

Monday 27 February MK Branch Annual General Meeting (agenda, see 7.45pm Page 9), plus “MK Confidential�: episodes from the history of Milton Keynes Branch, with Les Franklin. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK Wednesday 14 March 7.30pm

IWA Eastern Region Annual General Meeting (agenda, see Page 13), Peterborough & District Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough, PE1 5HA

Monday 26 March MK Branch meeting: "So you think you want 7.45pm to own a Narrowboat?" with Ian Fletcher, David Darvill and James Griffin. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK

Our base at Linslade is within weekend reach of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne, or the Chiltern Hills and Aylesbury. Choice of exciting one or two week cruises including the Thames. 28 luxury boats, 2-8 berth. Boat builders. Repairs. Dry dock. Waterside holiday cottage.

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Diary Page - continued. 30 March - 1 April MK Branch Canal Clean-up: Fenny to Wolverton. Contacts, timings and other details to be announced at Branch meetings and on Branch web site - see

Monday 23 April MK Branch meeting: Historic Waterway Films, 7.45pm including boating on the Ouse and Derwent. MK Village Pavilion, Worelle Avenue, Middleton, MK

IWA Milton Keynes Branch AGM Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association will take place at Milton Keynes Village Pavilion, Worrelle Avenue, Middleton, MK10 9AD, on Monday 27 February 2012, commencing at 7.45pm. From H6 Childs Way (M1 or Central MK), turn south at Fox Milne roundabout into V11Tongwell Street. Pass under a bridge, then turn right into Griffith Gate, signed Mi d d l e t o n an d M i l t o n Keynes Village. At the roundabout turn right into Worrelle Avenue. The Pavilion is clearly marked, on the left after about 1/4 mile. Fox Milne Rbt.

Central MK

A4146, M1 (Junc.14) Total Petrol Stn.

Pavilion Community Sports Club MK10 9AD


A4146 Bletchley, (A5)

Mercedes Benz

Going north along V11 Tongwell Street, cross the Monkston Roundabout at H7 Chaffron Way, then take the first left turn into Griffith Gate, and then as above.

Agenda (please bring this notice with you):

1: Apologies for absence 2: Approval of minutes of AGMs held on 22 February 2010 and 28 February 2011 3: Matters arising 4: Chairman's report 5: Secretary's report (item will be

used to remind members of vacancy) 6: Treasurer's report, and accounts for year ending 31 December 2011 7:Adoption of accounts 8: Election of Committee

The documents referred to in Items 2 and 6 will be made available in advance of the meeting on the Branch areas of the IWAweb site at: agm_2012 After the formal business, there will be an opportunity for members’ questions on IWA issues - topics at the discretion of the Chairman. Under the IWA Branch Byelaws effective from 12 November 2007, there is no restriction on the maximum size of the Committee. Martin and Lyn Banks stood down from the Committee during the year. Philip Strangeway, co-opted during the year, seeks election. Athina Beckett, Les Franklin and James Griffin retire by rotation; all seek re-election. Any corrections to the above will be announced at the meeting. Candidates for election or re-election must be paid-up members of the Association. It is no longer necessary for those who wish to be elected to be nominated and seconded, but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. In the current absence of a Branch Secretary, written consents from Branch members wishing to stand for election should be sent to Les Franklin, at 5a Grange Close, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 2PW, or by email to no later than 14 days before the meeting. Page 9

GU SOUTH WATER SUPPLY SITUATION “NOT GOOD� We sent this picture of Startopsend Reservoir (taken by Tony Collins in October) to Jeff Whyatt, Waterway Manager, GU South, and asked for his view of the water supply prospects for 2012. Jeff confirmed that Startopsend was then (25 October) 3 metres down, equating to 33% holding. At 26%, Wilstone was the most depleted, probably the lowest in recent memory, and significant in accounting for 53% of the GU South reservoir capacity. Overall, the reservoirs were then at 35% holding. The graph below shows the 2011 trend (studded line) as at 25 October, Week 43, compared with 2010 holdings (solid line) and the long-term average (dashed line). Note the trend last year to continue drawing water, in contrast to the long-term average increase from early November. 2500 2000

Long-term average 2010 holdings

1500 1000 500

25 October 2011

0 Week 1 (2011)

Week 43

Week 52


Jeff updated us on 9 December with a second graph (bottom), plotted to show the percentage risk for supplies not reaching a target holding of 80% capacity by the start of the 2012 boating season. As can be seen, 2011 holdings (studded line) virtually flat-lined during Weeks 43 to 49, and the plot has crossed the 10% risk line.

80% holding

Jeff says: "In normal years, by Week 49, demand after the main boating season is usually met by 60 9 December 2011 25% risk surface water inflows. How40 ever, following the excep50% risk tionally dry year so far the 75% risk 20 surface water inflows are at a minimum, and a demand on Minimum holding 0 reservoir supplies and backWeek 43 Week 49 Week 1 (2012) Week 12 pumps still remains. Due to ongoing vandalism, Cowroast Lock 46 has restricted opening hours to prevent water loss. 80

10% risk

"A huge programme of works is proposed, both prior to the start of the boating season and ongoing through it. This includes clearing feeders, renovating/upgrading pumps, implementing more SCADA monitoring (data collection), automating a series of backpumps on GU South, short-term pumping from certain river feeds, and trials to backpump into reservoirs (this needs certain high flow situations to / continued opposite. prevail). Page 10


"The South-East stoppage programme already underway was already biased towards leak stopping/water conservation, and we have a further programme which will continue into April - May. There may be a couple of 1 - 2-day stoppages to facilitate these - we will work through the detail of this well in advance. Above all, the messages that I want to give are:

“* BW are doing an enormous amount, within resource constraints to improve what we can; * We will share status and forward proposals, by publishing and discussing a potential ‘menu’of restrictions as we get closer to the season starting – obviously it will mean much more then as we’ll know the likely reservoir position at season start; * The current reservoir situation is not good! But we have a long way to go before the season starts; * We will need to get widespread support for sensible conservationminded behaviour out on the track – this will be a challenging message to ‘cut through’the usual noise; * We will be recruiting volunteer lock-keepers in January, hopefully for Easter / May start, for an additional ten locations in the South-East, including Soulbury Three Locks, Marsworth and Stoke Bruerne.” My thanks to Jeff Whyatt. Since his update, there has been some rainfall, but we will need a great deal more in the coming weeks. - Ed.

EDITOR’S CORNER The IWA thinks it heard some very reassuring noises from Government on 8 December (see Pages 14 -15). Some important commitments remain to be made, but we are closer than ever to realising some of the aims the IWA has advocated since it was founded. The process of recruiting help with running the new charity - at all levels from Council members, through local Partnership workers, to volunteer lock-keepers - has already begun, and our Branch will be deciding how to participate in this new order. One thing’s for sure: if we don’t get on board and then things don’t turn out as we would wish, we’ll only have ourselves to blame. Les Franklin.

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Willowbridge Marina is a working boatyard specialising in lifting boats in and out of the water, as well as on and off transport. We are a family-run business, working hard to provide services to canal boat owners and users in the Milton Keynes area. We offer the following services: - Well-stocked Chandlery, including stainless steel fastenings and Calor Gas fittings; - Red Diesel; - All boat services, including coal, LPG and pump-out; - All mooring services, including limited linear moorings, wireless internet and power, toilets, showers, laundry and extensive storage ashore. We offer a 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard to IWA members. Page 11

B&MKW’s 200th BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY NEWS Canal Society has completed the re-pointing and ANNIVERSARY Buckingham repair of one of the remaining original bridges, at Little Hill Farm.

On 4 November, a conference and dinner took place at the Barns Hotel, Bedford, to celebrate the vision of a waterway linking the River Great Ouse with the Grand Union Canal, first proposed 200 years ago to the day.

The bridge provides a farmer’s access across the canal. The sympathetic brick and stone restoration by skilled craft members of the Society included hand-making clay bricks to achieve the original shape and size.

Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford and Chairman of the B&MK Waterway Consortium, said that the waterway route is in all local plans and frameworks. “Developers now have to consider the waterway in their plans.” Graham Mabbutt, B&MK Trust chairman, added: “We need sponsors and volunteers to get involved. This is a call to action for a long term project, not a quick fix.” Paul Vann, Economic Development Manager at Bedford Borough Council, described how a series of linear ponds for the waterway would form a central feature of the Marston Vale Innovation Park. There had been delays due to the li cen s ing proce ss wi th Natural England regarding a protected species (great crested newts), but it was hoped that the ponds could be dug early next year. Mark Oakley, Head of Economic Development at Bedford Borough Council, summarised a Waterspace Study, /continued opposite. Page 12

The bridge after restoration. Photo: Richard Lewis. Athina Beckett, Chairman of Buckingham Canal Society, said: “It has been a labour of love by our volunteers, and completed using traditional lime mortar and original materials wherever possible. Volunteers, both young and old, have worked to preserve this piece of local heritage. It’s wonderful to see interest continuing to grow in this exciting project”. BCS is actively seeking new members to join the existing membership of around 200 and welcomes participation at all levels from the community. The Society is also actively seeking grant and other funding to progress its restoration activities, working in partnership with Local Authorities in the area, as well as with private companies. Further work is planned for the Cosgrove and Buckingham end sections of the canal route. New volunteers are always welcome, and the Society runs three work parties a month on alternate Thursdays and on the second Sunday of each month. No experience necessary! The Society holds its Annual General Meeting at 7.15pm on Saturday 28 January, at Buckingham Community Centre, Cornwalls Meadow, Buckingham. Cheese and wine will be served, and there will be a talk by a local historian. All are welcome. For more details of volunteering opportunities, please contact Athina BCS press release, November 2011. Beckett (details on back page).



Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Region of the Inland Waterways Association will be held on Wednesday 14 March 2012 at the Peterborough and District Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough, at 7.30pm.

undertaken jointly with the Environment Agency, to examine how Bedford could make the most of its river. The next step was to turn the ideas into actions.

Agenda (please bring this notice with you): 1 Apologies for absence 2 Approval of the Minutes of the AGM held on 16th March 2011 3 MattersArising

4 Chairman’s Report 5 Election of Committee members (see notes below).

The Chairman of the Region is elected in a separate ballot and the Chairmen of each of the branches within the Region are members of the Region committee ex officio. This is an election for the remaining members of the Region committee. The period of office of none of the existing elected members of the committee comes to an end at the 2012 AGM but there is no limit to the number of members of that committee. It is no longer necessary for those who wish to stand for election to the committee to be nominated and seconded but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. Consents from members of the Region who wish to stand for election at the AGM 2012 must be deposited with the Region Secretary [Nigel Long 7 Georgian Court, Peterborough PE3 6AF, or by email at] before the start of the meeting.

Jane Wolfson, Trust VicePresident, outlined the Trust’s aim to run a community trip boat on the Great Ouse. The business plan for the boat was in place and more than £40,000 had been raised, pledged or loaned, but there was a funding gap of £80,000. Richard Rutter, BW’s Head of Regeneration for the south of England, described the B&MK as “one of the most well thought-out and beneficial waterway projects I have seen”. B&MKWT press release, Nov 2011.


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The All-Party Parliamentary Waterways Group met on 8 December to allow the Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, to report on progress towards the formation of the Canal & River Trust (CRT). The hearing, chaired by the Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, was well attended by group members and waterway stakeholders. The Minister reported that progress had been made on what both Government and the CRT Transition Trustees believed was the right governance model for the Trust at its start. There was now a target for 50% of the Council to be elected over time. The Trustees had decided that the charity should not have a formal membership for fund-raising purposes, believing that other means of raising funds and stimulating voluntary giving were more effective. He could not say what government funding was going to be for the CRT, since the complex negotiations had not yet finished. They included the issues of adequate maintenance of the canal network, mitigation of possible future liabilities arising from environmental or other legislative requirements, and the Trust’s pension arrangements. He repeated that the Government was committed to a sustainable and prosperous future for the waterways, wanting to give the Trust the best possible start. He expected to make announcements in the New Year. IWA had raised concerns about the proposed amendments to the system for classifying waterways in the Transport Act 1968. It was concerned that the Trust would seek to reclassify “cruising” waterways to “remainder” waterways. The Minister gave an assurance that any CRT application to reclassify a waterway would be subject to a full cost benefit analysis and wide consultation, as required by the Transport Act. In addition, he was sure that the Trustees would consult the charity’s Council and the relevant Waterways Partnership before embarking on such action. In answer to questions from the Rt Hon Alun Michael and other MPs, Richard Benyon said that he did not want or expect any waterway closures. The Government wanted to ensure that there was scope for a medium-term reduction in the percentage of assets in poor and very poor condition, and wanted the existing network to be both maintained and enhanced.

Alun Michael suggested that, in his experience, part ownership of a charity under (for example) cooperative arrangements, delivered local ownership and commitment. Richard Benyon recognised that / continued opposite. possibility, locally and as a part of natural evolution.

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WATERWAYS GROUP QUESTIONS MINISTER - continued. Some Transition Trustees, including the chairman Tony Hales, were present and were invited to comment. Tony Hales said that the CRT would be reviewing its governance in 3 years, and that would be the time to reflect on the suggestions made. On finance, he said that the contribution from commercial activity would outweigh the government contribution by some margin, and that the Trustees were comfortable about future prospects for this commercial activity. The Trustees were also confident about the forecasts for voluntary income and donations, expected to reach £6-8m after 10 years. Contributions were also expected from other government departments, local government, Transport for London and the Olympic Delivery Authority. It was a question of determining the benefits they receive from the network so that they recognised that a contribution was justified. However, he reiterated the Trustees' view that the £39m per annum offered by central government was not enough. The overall package needed to be enough to safeguard the network’s assets in the long term, day-to-day maintenance, network dredging; and staff pensions. He recognised the Trustees' duty to satisfy the Charity Commission that the Trust was sustainable. Lynne Berry, one of the Transition Trustees, reported on public benefit. It had been evaluated at around £500 millon, but that didn’t fully reflect issues such as the social return and the well-being benefit etc. Trustees were currently developing the public benefit model to embrace these wider issues. Richard Benyon offered to return to the group to give a further report when the financial negotiations were concluded. That was welcomed by the group, and is likely to take place early in the New Year. Alun Michael ended the hearing by saying that it was not unheard of for charities to go wrong, volunteer led or otherwise. It would not be an easy transition. It was going to be very challenging and there was profound interest from MPs on all sides of the House. IWA welcomed the assurances and commitments given by the Minister and Tony Hales. IWA Head Office Bulletin, December 2011.


Applications for election for the Canal & River Trust’s inaugural Council are being sought. The Council is to be the guardian of the long-term values and purposes of the Trust. It will help shape policy, raise and debate issues, and provide guidance, perspective and a sounding board for the trustees. Seven positions on the council are to be filled by boaters or boating businesses. Four positions are to be elected by boat licence holders and two positions by boating businesses. To be eligible to stand for election, or vote, boaters must hold a 12-month boat licence on 18 January 2012. To stand for election, a nomination form must be completed (available for download from the Waterscape web site). Nominations must be submitted by 18 January 2012, and must be supported by ten sponsors who each also hold a valid 12-month boat licence on this date. IWA is fielding four sponsored candidates on behalf of all boaters: Ivor Caplan, IWA trustee and residential boater; Clive Henderson, IWA National Chairman; Paul Roper, IWA trustee and Chairman of Navigation Committee; and Vaughan Welch, IWAtrustee and Chairman of Restoration Committee. The Trust is also seeking a further three volunteers, with significant experience at senior level in a substantial enterprise, to join its board of trustees, ahead of taking over from British Waterways. IWA Head Office Bulletin, December 2011.

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Getting in touch with MK Branch We welcome Philip Strangeway to the Committee as a co-opted member until the AGM in February, when he will seek election. As always, theAGM is your chance to step up and volunteer to help us run the Branch - so don’t be shy - please do consider offering your help this year. CHAIRMAN: PETER CASWELL Contact via any Committee member for time being. VICE-CHAIRMAN: VACANT SECRETARY: VACANT MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: PETE BICKERS Email: TREASURER: DAVE ROBERTS SOCIAL / PUBLICITY, & B-MKWT REPORTER: RODNEY EVANS Email: BUCKINGHAM C.S. REPRESENTATIVE: ATHINA BECKETT Email: A DVE RTIS E MENT S are welcomed to assist Branch funds. Suggested donations as below (payable to IWA Milton Keynes Branch) are requested before copy date above. Whole page Half page Qutr page Back page Inserts

Per issue: £32.50 £20.00 £12.50 £45.00 £15.00

3 issues: £65.00 £40.00 £25.00 £90.00 -


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Milton Keynes Branch. They are however published as being of interest to our members and readers. Get the latest waterway news at these web sites (addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 9.12.2011):

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PLANNING (non-C’tee): TONY BIRCH Contact via Les Franklin. INSURANCE / RISK ASSESSMENTS (non-C’tee): MICHAEL WEINBERG Contact via David King. WEBMASTER (non-C’tee): VERNON DRAPER Email: IWA: MK Branch: BW: (corporate); (leisure) The Waterways Trust: Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: Buckingham Canal Society: WendoverArm Trust Friends of the Canal Museum:

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegrapph January 2012  

The magazine of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegrapph January 2012  

The magazine of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association