Boaters' Update 14 June 2019

In this latest edition you can read all about our new campaign to tackle plastic pollution in our canals and rivers as well as how you can do your bit. Elsewhere there's also an article on creating videos for boaters as well as the regular roundup of news, events and the latest stoppages.

Lancaster Canal at Blisborrow courtesy of Paul Dyson Lancaster Canal at Blisborrow courtesy of Paul Dyson

Welcome to the latest edition. Well it looks like the traditional British summer weather has returned with some places, over the last week, seeing nearly double the amount of rain they’d expect to see in the whole of June!

These extreme weather events can, as you’ll imagine, impact on the canal and river network – minor tributaries can become torrents of water. Check out the latest stoppage notices to see if your local area has been affected.

Thankfully the weather the week before was much friendlier as we launched our widely covered campaign to tackle plastic pollution in our canals and rivers. By creating beauty on their doorsteps and helping to remove plastic rubbish, people can help take action on a global issue at the same time. Read more on this below.

In a similar vein, you can also find out about recycling when you’re out on the cut and how we deal with it all. Finally, read on to find out plans for creating a reference video library for boaters. As ever there’s the regular roundup of latest news, stoppages and other events!

If there’s an article you’d like to read in a future edition then please drop me a line.

Happy boating,

Damian

In this edition:

News round-up and upcoming events      

Over the last few weeks you may have heard, or seen, that:

  • 29 May – We launched a new online system allowing anglers to purchase a Waterways Wanderers Permit giving them access to 300 miles of angling across our waterways – perfect for the cruising boater!
  • 4 June – The official naming of the ‘Black Sabbath Bridge’ in honour of Birmingham’s legendary heavy metal rockers is taking place in the heart of the city’s entertainment district later this month.

Below I’ve picked out some events, by region, that you might be interested in over the next month. There are plenty of other activities and volunteering opportunities if none of the below take your fancy. Just visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.

  • East Midlands, 29 June – Ever dangled a rod before? Want to try it for the first time? Why not join us at one of our free ‘Let’s Fish’ events in Northampton where young people and their families can come along and try fishing for the first time.
  • London & South East, 23 Jun to 11 Aug – Take part in a 'You Can' Crafts session at Stoke Bruerne Museum and learn the ancient arts of crochet and bookbinding.
  • North West, 16 June – A Father's Day Beer, Burger & Tour of the cathedral of the waterways that is Anderton Boat Lift could be just the treat your dad is looking for this Sunday…
  • Wales & South West, 22 June – The Montgomery Canal Fun Weekend is where you’ll also find the hugely evocative, and popular, horse-drawn boat trips.
  • West Midlands, 29 & 30 June – The Coventry Basin Floating Market will enable you to pick up gifts and goods from an eclectic range of traders.
  • Yorkshire & North East, 29 & 30 June – The Leeds Waterfront Festival makes a welcome return to Granary Wharf with yoga, paddle boarding and live music among the range of free activities to be enjoyed.

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The Plastic Challenge

Working with Coventry University, we've published a detailed analysis of the plastics and other litter found in our waterways. The research, which reviewed data from 25 locations, found that plastics now account for 59% of waste found along our canals. We estimate that 570,000 items of plastic reach the world’s oceans each year via our waterways. With the help of boaters and local communities this figure could be drastically cut.

Moorhen nesting in plastic litter, credit Mark C BakerPeter Birch, national environmental policy advisor at the Trust, says: “We are on a mission to eradicate plastics from our vast network of canals and rivers – helping us all to live in better, more beautiful neighbourhoods, whilst tackling a global issue, and making life better by water.”

Studies show that around 80% of the plastics and litter found in our oceans comes from inland waste that passes through water-courses around the world and out to sea. 

Peter adds: “Devastatingly, despite being vital green corridors in the nation’s towns and cities, our canals and rivers can inadvertently act as ‘plastics highways’, transporting rubbish from where we live out to sea. Not only is this a huge problem for wildlife, which can be harmed, it also detracts from these special and important wellbeing places in our towns and cities. We believe everyone deserves – and can help create - beauty on their doorstep, and by taking action locally, they will also be helping tackle a global issue.”

As canals and rivers become more accessible – over four million people visit them every two weeks – and with almost one in five people admitting to dropping litter, a lot of this can unfortunately end up in our waterways. The vast majority of the litter found along and in the canals each year is potentially recyclable or could be re-used in creative and innovative ways. 

Our Plastic Challenge is calling on every visitor to our waterways to make their own small contribution to help keep them clear of plastics - if everyone who visited one of our canals or rivers picked up just one piece of plastic, they would be clear within a year.

And while you're busy binning what you find above the water, we've still got a job to do underneath as the video below shows…

As a boater you’re in a prime position to make a big difference. If you’ve got a few spare minutes why not take our plastic pollution quiz and read through a handy hit list of 10 ways to reduce plastic in our canals (number 10 on the list is just for boaters!) which we hope will inspire. 

If the list didn’t inspire you, I’d be amazed if the video below didn’t…

#PlasticsChallenge

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Recycling by the water

In 2017/18 we dealt with nearly 5,500 tonnes of waste from customer bin areas and individual pedestrian and dog waste bins at a cost of £775,000 and £185,000 respectively. We recycled most of this waste with 78% diverted from landfill.

iRecycle bargeEach of our customer rubbish bin areas offer 'general waste'. But, while we try to put recycling bins at every location, due to logistical reasons such as a location being isolated and rural, it sometimes means we can’t get a recycling service there.

Some sites have different collection dates for the different types of rubbish. Some use the same bin lorry to collect the separate types of rubbish - also known as fusion collections - where a single vehicle collects all types of rubbish, which is then taken to a recycling plant.

It’s not just your run of the mill wheelie bins that are emptied (although we do around 60,000 a year), we also provided over 1,200 skips for our construction, customer services and volunteering teams throughout 2017/18 at a cost of over £330,000.

Fly tipping: old washing machinesFrustratingly, there was also £80,000 spent on clearing away fly tipped hazardous waste deposited on our canal towpaths and other property, e.g. television, fridges, tyres, fire extinguishers, etc.

We’re dedicated to recycling more and we aim to increase the amount of recycling points available on our waterways with our Green Plan.

Of course, there might be times when you’ve moored up away from one of our waste facilities. If this is the case, then a quick search on  www.recyclenow.com will tell you the location of your nearest non-canalside recycling point.

Common rubbish questions

What are the general bins for?

Our customer bins are for general domestic waste, such as food waste and non-recyclable packaging. Please take large items such as mattresses and tyres to your nearest local council recycling centre.

Where can I dispose of old oil?

Currently, we don't have any facilities for you to dispose of used oil or bilge waste. Please take your oil waste to your nearest dedicated council site. 

What can you do about dog poo by the waterways?

Canals are a great place to walk a dog, but you must clean up your pet's waste. Dog poo left on the towpath is unpleasant and can be a health hazard. You'll find dog waste bins at many places along the towpaths, these are emptied periodically. If the bin is full, you can double bag the waste and place it in general waste bins. 

Who should I tell if I spot vermin by the bins?

Please call 0303 040 4040 or fill in our online form and our environmental team will investigate.

Wherever possible we try not to bait sites. Rodents are attracted to easy meals, in bin areas this is usually in the form of loose food that’s not been disposed of properly. The site may just need tidying - and poison should only be used as a last resort.  

Other times to call 0303 040 4040 or fill in our online form:

  • Your local bins haven’t been emptied on time
  • Litter on the bin area floor
  • Hypodermic needles or other offensive waste
  • Fly tipping – our maintenance teams get involved in clearing the really big items: white goods, tyres, motor bikes and a variety of different household objects

If you have any other ideas about how the boating community can help us tackle plastic pollution then we’d love to hear them!

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Video stars

Did you know that it’s predicted, by US tech giant Cisco, that video will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. That’s a lot of funny cats.

Boaters’ Update has long been created in the written form (and will continue to be) but as the way we consume our news and information evolves it’s only right that we do as well!

I’d like the videos to entertain as well as being a resource for you, the boating community. I’m keen to know what you would like to see? I have some ideas to start with which would be created with your help:

  • Biggest boating blooper (to help others avoid it!)
  • What sparked your boating passion?
  • How to be a good boater.
  • Boating tips (cruising, mooring, boat life etc.)
  • What one thing, if all boaters did it, would make boating instantly better?

If there are any others that you think boaters would love to watch then let me know. I’ll be looking for the help of boaters all over the country and from all parts of the boating community so if you’re willing to have a natter with me on camera – very informal – then do please get in touch.

We have a variety of in-house experts who can offer behind-the-scenes insight in a wide range of areas who I’ll also look to chat to in front of the camera around the themes of:

  • Water management
  • Maintenance (big and small)
  • Dredging
  • Angling
  • Boating policy

If there are others you’d like to hear from then do let me know please.

Also, I’d like at least some of them to inspire others to go boating – any of us with children or grandchildren instantly know just how much time today’s kids spend welded to their phones and tablets watching videos so it’d be great to show them what they’re missing out on!

Perhaps, and with your help, the following themes might do this:

  • What boating means to you?
  • What’s special, from a boater’s perspective, about a particular part of the network?
  • Why go boating at all?

If there’s something you’d like to see but it’s not listed above then just drop me a line. I’d also love to hear from you if you’re happy to consider being involved in front of the camera!

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Get Involved

Many boaters go the extra mile in helping to keep canals and rivers in good condition by volunteeringdonating, or just picking up the odd piece of discarded plastic. As you’re such an integral part of what makes waterways so wonderful, and life better by water, I thought you’d like to know about other ways you can get involved:

  • Like to get dates in the diary early? How about our Annual Public Meeting on 19 September? It’ll be held at the Kingston Theatre in Birmingham and tickets will be available to book from early July.

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Maintenance, repair and restoration work affecting cruising this weekend

As someone who’s out on, or by, the water more often than most you’ll know that there are times when we need to fix things that unexpectedly break. So, below, you’ll find a list of anything that’s happening that may affect you if you’re planning on a cruise this weekend.

Below you’ll find, by canal or river, those that may affect your plans this weekend:

When any restrictions to navigation happen, we get them up on to our website as soon as we can – always best to have a scan before you set off for a cruise. The tech savvy among you may already know that you can set up your smartphone to notify you if a notice is issued for a canal or river that you’re interested in. For those that didn’t know, check out this guide to setting it up.

If you have any questions about a specific closure then just get in touch.

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Happy Boating,

Damian

Last date edited: 14 June 2019

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The boaters' update

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