Dig­ging deep on the Pock­ling­ton


Canal Boat - - News -

THE LAUNCH OF a canal dredg­ing con­tract might be ex­pected to have boaters breath­ing a sigh of re­lief and say­ing “about time too”. But in the case of the work just be­gun on the Pock­ling­ton Canal, the main ben­e­fi­cia­ries will be the aquatic plants, drag­on­flies and wa­ter­fowl re­spon­si­ble for the canal’s Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est ( SSSI) sta­tus.

The Canal & River Trust’s dredg­ing con­trac­tors Land & Wa­ter Ser­vices have be­gun re­mov­ing 3,000 tonnes of silt from the cur­rently un­nav­i­ga­ble length be­tween Coates Bridge and the Bielby Arm, clear­ing the cen­tre of the chan­nel and con­trol­ling the growth of reeds which are be­gin­ning to dom­i­nate other rarer plants. The work needs to be com­pleted dur­ing the win­ter, be­fore the start of the nest­ing sea­son.

The pro­gramme, funded by a Her­itage Lot­tery Fund grant to pre­serve the canal’s his­toric struc­tures and na­ture habi­tats, is ex­pected to be fol­lowed by more dredg­ing on the Thorn­ton to Wal­but and Top Lock to Sil­burn Lock lengths.

Al­though aimed at na­ture con­ser­va­tion the work will ben­e­fit boaters in due course, with the Pock­ling­ton Canal Amenity So­ci­ety’s cur­rent Ap­peal hav­ing al­ready passed the half-way point to­wards its £250,000 tar­get to ex­tend nav­i­ga­tion from Mel­bourne to Bielby.

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