What it’s go­ing to do

Canal Boat - - News -

MOV­ING FOR­WARD INTO 2016-17, CRT plans to spend £ 53.4 mil­lion di­rectly on main­tain­ing its as­sets com­pared to £ 52 mil­lion in 2015-16, but will shift its fo­cus – a re­duc­tion in spend­ing on bridges, aque­ducts and locks will be bal­anced by an in­crease on tun­nels, cut­tings, em­bank­ments and cul­verts.- Fol­low­ing sev­eral col­lapses in re­cent years, cul­verts run­ning un­der canals will be a fo­cus, with a pro­gramme of sur­veys and ma­jor work on sev­eral sites.

Trust engi­neers have also al­ready pro­duced the first draft of the win­ter stop­pages pro­gramme for en­gi­neer­ing work. The ma­jor­ity of clo­sures fit into two pe­ri­ods: 1 Novem­ber to 21 De­cem­ber and 4 Jan­uary to 17 March, with the sys­tem open­ing up for a fort­night of Christ­mas and New Year boat­ing in be­tween. There are a few all-win­ter clo­sures planned, on the Mon­mouthshire & Bre­con, River Lee and Sh­effield & South York­shire.

As usual in re­cent years, there will al­ways be some routes open: work on the Rochdale, Shrop­shire Union, Bir­migham & Faze­ley and Cal­don will not start un­til af­ter the New Year, while the Leeds & Liver­pool, Llan­gollen, Grand Union North, Hud­der­s­field Nar­row and North Ox­ford will have all their clo­sures com­pleted by Christ­mas. A hand­ful of wa­ter­ways in­clud­ing the Sev­ern, Lan­caster main line and Mac­cles­field will have no clo­sures at all.

Look­ing at the wider pic­ture, CRT will con­tinue to progress the pos­si­ble trans­fer of the En­vi­ron­ment Agency rivers (in­clud­ing 100 site vis­its to un­der­stand the na­ture and con­di­tion of the EA’s nav­i­ga­tion struc­tures).

The Trust is look­ing at the pos­si­ble role of the wa­ter­ways (for ex­am­ple for freight car­ry­ing) in the Gov­ern­ment’s North­ern Pow­er­house plans, while also be­ing pre­pared to fight any neg­a­tive im­pacts of those plans – for ex­am­ple, the up­grade of east-west rail routes might in­volve pro­pos­als to re­open the two dis­used rail­way tun­nels at Stand­edge, which would af­fect the canal op­er­a­tion.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Parry also told Canal Boat that CRT would “fiercely re­sist” the canals be­ing dis­ad­van­taged by the be­lated ef­fects of the 2003 Wa­ter Act which could threaten his­toric rights to wa­ter sup­plies.

As re­gards the Trust it­self, one new Trustee ap­point­ment was ex­pected to be an­nounced “be­fore the sum­mer”, with two or three more in time for the Septem­ber An­nual Meet­ing.

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