Canal work­ers make history with Green Flag award


MAC­CLES­FIELD Canal has be­come the first ever canal to be given the cov­eted Green Flag Award.

The sta­tus tra­di­tional cel­e­brated qual­ity green spa­ces such as parks, ceme­ter­ies, univer­si­ties, shop­ping cen­tres and com­mu­nity gar­dens.

But work to pre­serve the 26-mile wa­ter­way, which runs from Marple to Kids­grove, wowed judges so much that they deemed it wor­thy of the ac­co­lade.

Praise was poured on the Canal and River Trust, the char­ity which man­ages the na­tion’s net­work of 2,000 canals and rivers, and its lo­cal branch, Manch­ester and Pen­nine Wa­ter­way, for its ef­forts to build re­la­tion­ships with vol­un­teers and commu- nity groups to help look af­ter the canal.

Mac­cles­field Canal, which opened in 1831, was an­nounced as one of 239 parks and green spa­ces across the North West to be able fly a Green Flag.

Pre­vi­ous lo­cal win­ners are Tegg’s Nose Coun­try Park and Bolling­ton Recre­ation Ground.

The Canal and River Trust is to spend £130,000 on new moor­ings at Wil­liam Street to boost tourism.

The 84-me­tre pon­toon near to the Bux­ton Road bridge will en­able boaters to be within walk­ing dis­tance of the town cen­tre.

There are also plans im­prove the tow­path and ac­cess to the canal from Bux­ton Road.

Richard Parry, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Canal and River Trust, praised Keith Sex­ton and David Bal­dacchino from Manch­ester and Pen­nine Wa­ter­way for break­ing new ground.

He said: “This is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment, and helps to set new stan­dards of ex­cel­lence across our en­tire canal net­work.

“Our aim is to en­cour­age other canals to take up the chal­lenge now and to seek Green Flag sta­tus via the same rig­or­ous as­sess­ment process.

“I’m de­lighted this in­de­pen­dent ex­ter­nal val­i­da­tion has con­firmed our suc­cess in re­al­is­ing this goal.”

The Green Flag Awards are judged against eight strict cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards, clean­li­ness, sus­tain­abil­ity and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment.

In their feed­back re­port the judges state: “The Trust is putting much ef­fort into de­vel­op­ing com­mu­nity en­gage­ment with the wa­ter­ways.

“On the Mac­cles­field this in­cludes ‘ Welcome’ vol­un­teers and a num­ber of vol­un­teer work groups and adop­tion schemes: Manch­ester and Pen­nine Wa­ter­ways leads the field in de­vel­op­ing for­mal adop­tion groups.”

Andy Lam­bert

●● Canal and River Trust vol­un­teer Keith Sex­ton (left) and wa­ter­ways man­ager Dave Bal­dacchino with other trust work­ers and their cov­eted Green Flag Award

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