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The charity making life better by water

Frequently asked questions

Read our answers to our most frequently asked questions.

What benefits will restoring the canal bring?

Our waterways can provide considerable economic and social benefits to their surrounding communities, providing access to the outdoors, enhancing wellbeing and engaging with nature. By restoring disused canals, we can increase leisure and recreation opportunities which help increase regeneration and bring value to the economy.

These restored canals can act as important corridors for widlife, providing green and blue space in an landscape that is unfortunately becoming more fragmented. The Inland Waterways Association have recently published their Waterways For Today report, which illustrates the huge benefits that can be achieved through canal restoration. You can also read our Water Adds Value report, published in 2014, for more information on the positive impact restoration has on local communities.

How can I stay up to date with progress on the restoration?

You can find all the latest news and progress on the Montgomery Canal Restoration webpages, which will be updated on a regular basis during the project period. If you are a member of the local community, make sure you bookmark our activities and events page, as we will post details of consultations and engagement activities here. If you are on Facebook, please follow the Canal & River Trust Restoration group. This group will give you an insight into lots of other restoration projects that volunteer groups are working on across England and Wales, and we will share any updates to our webpages or news articles within this group.

What kind of consultation work is taking place?

Although a rural canal, the Montgomery runs through, or close to, a few communities in Mid Wales. We are working closely with these communities to ensure they remain informed of the proposed and planned works and are attending Community Council meetings on a regular basis to discuss and address any concerns they may raise. We will also be running some consultations ahead of our planning application for the new bridges and some drop in sessions on the towpath between Llanymynech and Walls Bridge. Both the consultations and drop in sessions will take place in January and February 2023.

Where can I see a map of the Montgomery Canal?

For more information on the Montgomery Canal, visit our Montgomery Canal page.

Can I walk along the Montgomery Canal whilst it is being restored?

Our LUF project is restoring the section from Llanymynech to Arddleen, so the rest of the Montgomery Canal is open for walking along the towpath. However, at various stages throughout our project, there will be some impact on use of the canal and immediate surroundings at various locations, particularly at Walls and Williams Bridge. This may include the closure of certain sections of the towpath, and potential traffic diversions, whilst the bridge works are taking place.

Will the canal or towpath be closed whilst work is taking place?

There may be some short term towpath closures and some impacts on traffic as we manage the construction works.

Which section will be restored?

We will be restoring the section from Llanymynech to Arddleen. There are other sections of the Montgomery Canal that are actively being restored, such as the section near Crickheath, by volunteers from Shropshire Union Canal Society. There are other sections of the canal that have not yet been restored, and others that are open and navigable.

Once our project is completed, there will still be some further work required to fully restore the canal, linking it up to Welshpool and then to Newtown, so our newly restored section will not be navigable straight away. However, this LUF project will act as a catalyst to the next phase, and hopefully open up other doors for securing the funding needed.

How long will the restoration of the Montgomery Canal take?

Our LUF project funding requires the work to be completed within 24 months.

Where can I find out more about the full restoration?

You can read the Montgomery Canal Restoration strategy which has lots of great information about why so many people are working to restore this historic canal.

How will this project benefit local nature and wildlife?

The Montgomery Canal in Powys is an designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). These designations are due to the rare plant species, Floating water plantain, as well as a diverse range of locally rare pondweeds, invertebrates and more. These species all need a particular niche in which to exist; a niche that without management would disappear owing to ecological succession (the change from a freshly created niche, through various stages until, for example, trees establish and create woodland habitat).

This project combines works to restore the channel to a condition that these rare species can thrive in, with the potential to create new areas of wetland to help boost populations. If required, the restored and new habitats will also help to support the local wildlife through joining up nature friendly habitats in the landscape and creating an ecosystem to support a broad range of species.

How is wildlife being protected during these works?

Prior to beginning the works, we have undertaken extensive survey work to record the habitats, plants and animals that are found along the Montgomery Canal and in the surrounding areas. The results of these surveys will inform all areas of our work, making sure that there is a net positive gain to the area.

For specific works taking place, such as the dredging and construction of nature reserves, protective species surveys have been done, along with the mapping of potential habitats. Any protected species or priority habitats will be protected by exclusion zones where they are not directly affected by works.

Where works will impact these areas/species, appropriate mitigation measures will be in place as recommended by an ecologist including translocation of wildlife well in advance of works beginning. If required, the additional habitat will be created to compensate for any loss of habitat, however, any opportunity to improve and extend habitat will be sought during this project. All works will be assessed by an ecologist and carried out as per best practice, under the correct licensing and permissions.

How does dredging a canal enhance biodiversity?

Any wetland ecosystem is constantly changing. A process called succession sees an area of open water begin to colonise with pioneer species at the beginning of its creation. Over time, more plants will begin to colonise and the decaying plant matter builds up a silt layer in which marginal fringe species can establish. In the canal, eventually the silt level allows the entire channel to become dominated by this marginal fringe of species like sedges and reeds.

Whilst we want to retain some of this valuable habitat, we want a mosaic which combines open water and marginal fringe so that we have a greater diversity of plant species. These in turn support a greater diversity of wildlife. By dredging the canal, leaving some of the marginal fringe intact, we mimic natural processes which set back the clock of succession. It also gives us the chance to control invasive species that would otherwise dominate and outcompete the local species.

Why are you creating the nature reserves?

The canal in Powys is a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), for the rare plant species, Floating water plantain, as well as a diverse range of locally rare pondweeds. The plan for restoration may require additional habitat to be created, which will allow these plants to be retained and flourish. We are currently exploring the possibility of creating offline nature reserves, if our plan determines it will be required, which will be connected to the canal to provide this habitat.

A few years ago we built 3 nature reserves at Queens Head called the Aston nature reserves, in conjunction with phase 1 canal restoration work. These nature reserves have proved successful for plants and also provide great areas for wildlife and lovely areas for people to walk and relax by.

What are you going to do with all the waste soil from the reserves?

To create the reserves, we are going to have to dig out a large amount of soil. We are very keen that the soil is not sent to landfill, so will be looking for ways to reuse the soil on site with landscaping work or look for local schemes which need top soil. This work will be undertaken in line with Waste Regulations.

How big will the bridges be?

The bridges will be only as big as they need to be. The navigation will be 2.5m (8'2") wide with an airdraft of 1.83m (6'). They will carry a two lane carriageway over the canal. At Williams it may be difficult to achieve this so we are looking at moveable bridge options as an alternative.

What will the bridges be made of?

Walls Bridge is likely to be formed from precast concrete box sections to ease construction. The portals would be formed from insitu reinforced concrete and the appearance and finishings of the bridge are being considered by architects as part of the design process. This would be the same for the fixed option at Williams. Moveable bridge options at Williams would include a reinforced concrete navigation channel and moveable metal deck just above the water.

Last Edited: 15 May 2023

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