Canal News – Trent & Mersey Canal Breach Appeal

Waterway Watch

 Trent & Mersey Canal breach Appeal

The Canal & River Trust have launched an appeal to raise funds to help repair the breach on the Trent & Mersey canal caused by the extraordinary recent weather.

The 240-year-old Trent & Mersey Canal is a bustling artery of our canal network and key part of the Cheshire Ring providing jobs in the local area, habitats for a huge range of waterway wildlife and a much-valued nationally recognised route for walkers and cyclists.

Picture of the Breach

 When launching the appeal, The Canal & River Trust (CRT) made the following statement:

“As a result of the recent breach we’ve had to close a 12-mile stretch to navigation while we carry out the massive repairs necessary to secure the canal. Canal breaches are exceptionally rare, although they are extremely expensive to fix and the repair bill for the damage on the Trent & Mersey Canal is estimated at £1.5 million.”

“We’re asking you to make a donation to this emergency appeal to help us rebuild the canal embankment and complete other flood repairs. While we hold a contingency fund that can be used to deal with this kind of emergency situation, this is money that we urgently need to spend on essential maintenance and repairs right across the network.

Using this money to repair this breach will inevitably prevent other important work being carried out this winter – unless we are able to raise additional income now.”

“By making a donation today you will be contributing directly towards the labour and materials needed to complete this work.”

David Baldacchino, waterway manager explains: “The money that you donate will help fund the repair of the breached canal bank and complete a significant repair to a bank near Middlewich which has also been damaged by the flooding.

£1.5m is equivalent to 30 sets of lock gates replaced, a third of our current annual dredging programme or three years worth of the money that we expect to spend painting bridges.”

Donate by text

To donate £5 by SMS, text BREACH to 70800.

You will be charged £5 plus one message at your standard network rate. The Canal & River Trust will recieve a donation of at least £4.97 from all major networks of your £5.

By using this service you agree that we may contact you in the future. If you would rather we didn’t text DECLINE to 70007.

Amended Stoppage: Trent & Mersey Canal

Between Middlewich Big Lock 75 and Lodge Lane, Bridge 213 Preston Brook

Tuesday 25 September 2012 until further notice

Amended Stoppage: Trent & Mersey Canal

Between Middlewich Big Lock 75 and Lodge Lane, Bridge 213 Preston Brook

Tuesday 25 September 2012 until further notice

UPDATE (11 October 2012): Trent & Mersey Canal Breach – Manchester Ship Canal Passages

We have now been able to finalise the approach that we want to take in enabling people to complete their journeys where these have been interrupted by the breach on the Trent & Mersey Canal which, for most, will involve the use of the Manchester Ship Canal and Weaver.

There are some significant constraints that we need to consider, not least of which is the commencement of stoppage works around the network on the 5th November as well as the need for boats to be surveyed for seaworthiness and paperwork completed for the Manchester Ship Canal Company.

To enable people to get back to their home moorings/ journey end in the wider network, we are going to prioritise those boats currently within the isolated section on the Trent & Mersey Canal, and with the furthest to travel or most stoppages to pass first of all. There are no stoppages planned on the Cheshire Ring before Christmas, but the stoppages planned for the Shropshire Union Canal south of Barbridge will need to commence on time as will the stoppage at Northgate Locks. Provided that people wishing to travel into the isolated section are below Northgate Locks by the 5th November, their final return will not be affected by stoppages – although it is our intention to facilitate movements earlier than this.

We are going to focus on moving people to/ from the network via Ellesmere Port. A number of people that we have talked with have expressed concern about using the ship canal and we acknowledge that this can be an intimidating environment, especially for first time users. The trip to Ellesmere Port from Marsh Lock can be completed in less than 3 hours; travel to Manchester via Pomona Docks involves the transit of a number of locks and takes much longer. There is the potential for groups to become separated too all of which makes that a far more daunting proposition. It is our belief that by prioritising movement in the way that is outlined here people will have time to complete their journeys, and the reverse route around the Cheshire Ring. Of course, if people want to take the route via Pomona Docks they are free to do so and can arrange this privately with the Manchester Ship Canal organisation. The Trust has agreed to fund the cost of the seaworthiness survey and admission at Ellesmere Port.

Our expectation will be to undertake surveys each Monday for boats in the next group to travel with a view to passage on the Wednesday or Thursday. This will start on Monday 15th October. If you are one of the people who’s craft needs surveying we may ask you to move your boat to a central point so that we can maximise the numbers of boats surveyed at once. The survey will require you to demonstrate that you have the minimum safety equipment required for the journey – anchor, ropes, life jackets. You will be given some documentation that is required for your journey and asked to sign for receipt of this too. If you do not hold the minimum equipment we would ask you to try and obtain this before the survey takes place. We will have access to some equipment that can be loaned, but that stock is limited. Manchester Ship Canal Company will also need to see a copy of your third party insurance certificate and we will collect that at the time of the survey, this is a requirement of the passage. We will also need confirmation that you have a current Boat Safety Scheme certificate at the time of the survey, however we will not need to take away a copy of this. The certification that you receive will be restricted in its use to daylight hours, and passage between Ellesmere Port and Marsh Lock.

We know that it has been frustrating for people waiting for these arrangements to come together and we thank people for their patience during this time. If you have any concerns about the information outlined above please contact us. We are starting to contact those that have been in touch with us in the last couple of weeks today.

Please contact the Red Bull Office on 01782 785703 for any queries.

UPDATE (09 October 2012): Trent& Mersey Canal – Update 9th October 2012.

Engineering work at both of the affected sites has made good progress in the last week. At Croxton, our contractor has completed a temporary access road and constructed a temporary dam close to the damaged embankment. This has allowed us to start reducing the water levels in the affected area. Tree clearance has been completed and we are now able complete the design for the site repairs. At Dutton, our geotechnical team have completed a review of the site and ground investigation will be undertaken shortly to assist the design of the repairs there. Our outline programme for completing the repairs at Croxton remains Christmas. The programme for Dutton is more vague but a spring completion is a realistic target. We expect to be able to provide more detail on this in the coming week. The canal and towpath will remain closed at both sites until repairs are completed.

In the week we have also been able to establish an independent water supply to the isolated section between bridges 179 and 210. This has been essential to ensure that this section of the canal remains navigable. This week we will be able to re-water the canal section up to bridge 211 and re-float the boats caught there. This will re-water the winding hole here too making for improved access along the canal.

We have now been contacted by 20 boat owners expressing the desire to move away from the area using the Manchester Ship Canal route. We will be contacting these to discuss arrangements for, surveys, equipment, costs and other essential matters for this; and would expect that this can be resolved within the next 2 weeks. Our target is to ensure that people wishing to leave the area are able to do so with sufficient time not to be caught in stoppages remote from the area. If people wish to make their own arrangements to use the Weaver and Ship Canal in advance of this, of course they are able to do so.

If you are considering using this route or are affected by the situation and have not already contacted us, we would encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Please phone our Red Bull offices on 01782 785 703.

Finally, we are hugely indebted to all the people who have donated to the breach appeal which, at the time of writing, stands at £11,000. This includes an enormously generous donation of £1000 from the Trent and Mersey Canal Society, and Birkenhead YMCA donating £250 following sponsored car washing and other activities. Thanks.

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