Dig­ging deep for the next decade

Canal Boat - - News -

A TEN-YEAR dredg­ing con­tract has seen the Canal & River Trust sign up with its ex­ist­ing con­trac­tors Land & Wa­ter Ser­vices to keep the wa­ter­ways clear of silt right up to the end of the trust’s Gov­ern­ment fund­ing agree­ment in 2027.

The con­tract fol­lows on from the com­ple­tion of L&W’s ex­ist­ing two ex­ist­ing agree­ments with CRT, un­der which more than £7m worth of dredg­ing was car­ried out dur­ing 2015-16. Land & Wa­ter’s Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Adrian Gas­coyne said the com­pany was “ex­tremely proud” to have se­cured the con­tract, while CRT’s As­set De­liv­ery Di­rec­tor Simon Bam­ford said the new agree­ment fol­lowed 18 months’ work as the trust “re­viewed how we man­age our over­all dredg­ing pro­gramme and looked at how we can im­prove things”.

On that sub­ject, CRT’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Parry told Canal Boat that he didn’t fore­see a re­peat of the sit­u­a­tion in 2016 when the Staffs & Worcs Canal dredg­ing pro­gramme was cur­tailed after the bud­get was ex­hausted due to larger than ex­pected amounts of silt.

Mr Parry said the trust would “make sure what­ever needs dredg­ing gets done” if (for ex­am­ple) the same po­si­tion arose with cur­rent work on the Ken­net & Avon or Lan­caster (pic­tured) and Rib­ble Link. He added that he be­lieved that the up­ward trend of re­cent years in the cost of dredg­ing had been “capped”, and the long con­tract en­abled the trust to spend on set­ting up dredg­ing tip sites for the fu­ture.

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