The Waterways Science Group (WSG) has been formed by interested parties for research into all aspects of inland waterways. It is an independent, single-source information exchange for academic, and academic-related staff in institutions, and individuals with relevant scientific backgrounds and knowledge.
Historically, inland waterway research has been ad hoc, limited and lacking in central correlation and guidance. For example, many local authorities struggle to understand the social, heritage and environmental implications of navigable inland waterways in their areas. A variety of conflicts between users and statutory bodies have shown the need for cohesive, and wholly independent, research.
The prime objective of the WSG is therefore to provide a research pool of experienced scientists to answer, and further research in, all questions relating to inland waterways. WSG members act as independent advisers and consultants for bodies such as British Waterways, The Waterways Trust, Developers, Local Authorities, The Environment Agency and English Heritage. It is intended that the WSG should be self-funding after the intial setup costs. The publication of research papers and reports is to be encouraged in appropriate journals, and material placed in the public domain wherever possible
The interdisciplinary nature of much of this work requires the integration of a broad range of specialists within the general subject area of inland waterways. Prospective members are sought from the following disciplines (in no particular order and not limited to):
- Industrial Archaeology & Heritage (eg. recording and excavation of old structures, recording and excavation of derelict vessels)
- Civil Engineering (eg. bank works, towing paths, maintenance of structures in brick & stone, hydrodynamics)
- Architecture & Planning (eg planning for leisure and interactions between users, design and modifications of new and existing structures to accomodate current functions)
- Ecology (including human ecology and bionomics)
- Zoology (eg ornithology, entomology, ichthyology)
- Environmental Science (eg. air pollution, water pollution, soil science)
The initial objectives are:
- Seek interested participants:-
This has proved successful. A large variety of people have indicated their interest from a wide number of institutions including, most significantly, the Environment Agency, English Nature and the Broads Authority.
- Catalogue existing research.
So far this has only met with limited success. If you are aware of any published waterway-related research papers or reports, please let us have a copy (if at all possible) or the complete reference information. Known publications appear here.
- Identify projects to add to existing knowledge
A number of projects have been identified which could come to fruition fairly rapidly. Current, and proposed, projects are here.
- Seek funding from appropriate bodies and individuals
A number of potential funding sources have been identified and these will be published when the project applications are made. One externally funded (EU) project has already been adopted by two members of the group.
- Provide professional, specialised consultants for Waterways Science projects
- Disseminate accumulated knowledge and expertise
If you can help with any of the above, please see our contacts page or use the email link on the left. This includes help with the website, which will be expanded to provide source material and other information.