Canal Boat - - This Month -

Sum­mer re­stric­tions over wa­ter wor­ries, Ch­ester­field sur­vives HS2 threat, Sab­rina re­turns,

WITH A RE­TURN to dry weather pre­dicted as Canal Boat went to press, and sev­eral wa­ter­sav­ing overnight lock clo­sures al­ready in place fol­low­ing the dry win­ter and spring, there were con­cerns that more re­stric­tions might be needed be­fore the end of the sum­mer.

In a re­ver­sal of the more com­mon sit­u­a­tion, the first re­stric­tions were in the North, but have spread south­wards dur­ing the sum­mer:

On the Leeds & Liver­pool lock hours re­stric­tions have been in place in the Wi­gan area since early June, with the top and bot­tom locks of the main 21-lock flight lim­ited to two hours of open­ing daily at 8am to 9am ( to al­low boats into the flight) and 2pm to 3pm ( to let them out again). In ad­di­tion, locks 88 and 89 west of Wi­gan plus Pool­stock Locks on the Leigh Branch are shut overnight from 8pm to 8am

On the River Thames late June saw the En­vi­ron­ment Agency is­su­ing a warn­ing that de­spite clos­ing all weir sluices it could no longer guar­an­tee the min­i­mum 3ft depth on the river above Ox­ford. Lock staff in the Ox­ford area have been in­structed to try to avoid emp­ty­ing locks un­less they con­tain at least one boat; known shal­lows are marked with buoys ( leave the red ones to your left and green to your right when head­ing up­river), and boaters are warned to ex­pect low lev­els es­pe­cially just down­stream of locks.

On the Ken­net & Avon, a com­bi­na­tion of dry weather, lock gate leak­age and pump­ing prob­lems by the end of June led to a re­duc­tion at Crofton Locks 53-56 to only five hours a day open­ing, from 10am to 3pm.

On the Ox­ford Canal in mid-July, the Trust was re­port­ing that ‘re­cent wa­ter losses to the sum­mit pound’ had led to overnight clo­sures of the locks at either end of the sum­mit ( Marston Doles and Clay­don top locks) from 6pm to 8.30am.

Over­all, though, the sit­u­a­tion re­mains less se­ri­ous than in the drought of 2011, with most of the net­work still un­af­fected as we went to press.

Wa­ter wor­ries on the Ox­ford

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