WORCESTER & BIRMINGHAM
A PROGRAMME OF towpath improvements in Birmingham is running into opposition from boating interests after a proposal emerged to narrow Edgbaston Tunnel’s channel to widen the path.
The work is part of a £10m programme funded by Birmingham City Council. Although it is part of the city’s Birmingham Cycle Revolution project, the Canal & River Trust stressed that it was “not driven by cycling” but by increases in all use, “whether this is walking, running or cycling”.
The Trust said that widening the towpath through the tunnel on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal was ‘a long term ambition’ of the City, and that having measured average daily usage at 600 pedestrians, 300 cyclists and 25 boats, the Trust felt the time was now right to consult on the idea. The Inland Waterways Association told CanalBoat that narrowing the channel (meaning craft could no longer pass each other inside), would be opposed by IWA at local and possibly national level.
However, a CRT spokesman told Canal Boat that while craft passing inside in such a short tunnel (105 yards) might not be seen as necessary or even desirable, the Trust was conscious of heritage issues and would not make any changes without a full consultation.