inland waterways

Inland Waterways Association

The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) was formed in 1946 as a registered charity in the United Kingdom to campaign for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and sensitive development of British Canals and river navigations.

Notable founding members included L. T. C. Rolt and Robert Aickman .

Organisation and governance

IWA is organised into regions, each of which consist of several branches. The regions are: Central Southern, East Midlands, Eastern, Grand Junction, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands, and Western.

The current National Chairman is John Fletcher, and the National Vice-Chairman is Roger Squires.

The Association is governed by a Council; among its members are the actor David Suchet and Sheila Suchet.

The main committees are Finance and General Purposes, Navigation, Restoration, Promotions and Communications, Waterway Recovery Group, Inland Waterways Enterprises Limited, IWA Festivals Division, Inland Waterways Freight Group, IWA Committee for Wales, and Essex Waterways Limited.

Main activities

The IWA membership in 2008 is about 18,000.

The Association works closely with United Kingdom navigation authorities including British Waterways and other waterway bodies, a wide range of national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations.

IWA is engaged in fundraising, lobbying for support, and encouraging public participation. It also organises conferences for waterways societies, e.g. on how to obtain funding.

The Association also supplies voluntary labour through its subsidiary, the Waterway Recovery Group.

It is a registered charity, number 212342.

Through these efforts, more than 500 miles of derelict and unavailable canals and river navigations have been re-opened to public use since the Association was founded. Another 500 miles are currently the subject of restoration plans. However, the Association believes there is still much to do.

IWA as navigation authority

In November 2005 IWA signed a maintenance and operating agreement with the Administrator of The Company of Proprietors of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Ltd, whereby IWA will be responsible for the navigation in perpetuity. The Chelmsford Branch of the IWA worked closely with the C&BNCo from 1994 until it went into administration in August 2003.

IWA has formed a subsidiary company, Essex Waterways Ltd. and, with support from local authorities, will operate and maintain the river navigation for the benefit of the general public. This is the first time that IWA has taken full operational and maintenance responsibilities for a navigation.

IWA National Festival

Every year, the Association organises the IWA National Festival & Boat Show which is run entirely by volunteers on behalf of IWA.

IWA National Campaign Rally

Annual event

IWA National Trailboat Festival

Annual event

IWA Canalway Cavalcade

Annual event since 1983, organised by IWA at Little Venice, London over the early May Bank Holiday weekend, combining a Boat Rally with a trade show, activities and entertainments.


Two plaques commemorating the 1945 founding of the IWA stand at Tardebigge Top Lock on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

See also


External links

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