Washout shuts K& A; water strategy; licence fees frozen; stark warning on generators; countdown to L& L bicentenary; more work for Ombudsman
A LOCK PADDLE left open overnight on the Kennet & Avon, which caused flooding and towpath bank washouts down the Caen Hill Flight, has left the Canal & River Trust with a repair bill expected to top £100,000 – and, in combination with other stoppages, this has shut the canal as a through-route until March.
The problem involved a paddle at the top lock – which holds back a huge amount of water in the 15-mile-long pound, and “really couldn’t have happened at a worse spot”, in the words of Waterway Manager Mark Evans. He added that “We don’t know if this was carelessness or deliberate vandalism”.
Repairs began on 3 November, with work expected to take four weeks. However, in the meantime, a scheduled stoppage at Seend Wharf Bridge has had to be brought forward to run through from 23 November to 11 March as a result of its worsening condition. A short temporary opening of Caen Hill on 18 November was scheduled to allow boats to pass first.
A CRT spokeswoman told CanalBoat the top lock paddles would now be locked overnight. She added the Trust couldn’t be sure whether there was any connection with another much more minor problem resulting from a paddle left open at Wootton Rivers Locks on the same canal a few days later.