Aire & Calder Navigation Breach

Further updates about the Aire & Calder Navigation breach repair programme are posted on this page.


Update 23/08/2021

We are pleased to report that the Aire & Calder Navigation is fully operational on and water levels will be back to normal. There will be no need for leisure boaters to pre-book passage upstream of the breach site. For a short while after this date, contractors will be using work boats to install fenders and so care should be taken when travelling along this section. 

Update 16/07/2021

Work is progressing on the repair of the Aire & Calder breach towards an opening date in mid-August. Over the next few weeks, please be advised that there will be changes in water levels on the navigation as part of the repair project. Water levels will increase in order to carry out tests on the breach repair and checks to banks, then decrease in order to remove the cofferdam, before the water levels are then raised for re-opening. For more details, please see the notification here.

Update 10/06/2021

The Aire & Calder breach repairs remain on track and the navigation due for opening by mid-August.  During w/c 5 July a phased re-watering will commence, levels will be increased gradually and monitored by our engineers.  The cofferdams will remain in place until the phased rewatering is complete.  

We continue to do everything possible to get the navigation and towpath back open as soon as possible for everyone to enjoy.

Please see separate notices regarding arrangements to book passage through Pollington Lock and Sykehouse Lock.

Update 27/04/2021

Following detailed inspections by our engineers a design solution has been agreed and work has begun on a permanent repair programme, likely to cost in the region of £3 million. We expect breach repairs to be completed mid-August. We apologise for the disruption the breach is causing to our waterway and towpath users and we are doing everything possible to get the navigation and towpath back open as soon as possible.

Goole Caisson stop planks have been removed and the Caisson is now open. Navigation is now possible from Rawcliffe to Goole Caisson and onto Goole Docks, but remains closed between Rawcliffe Bridge to Pollington. Please see separate notices regarding arrangements to book passage through Pollington Lock and Sykehouse Lock.

Update 23/04/2021

Our engineers have now completed detailed inspections and a design solution has been agreed. We are starting construction work on a permanent repair programme and expect repairs to the breach site to be completed by mid-August.

The Trust is planning to remove the stop planks in Goole Caisson next week. This is expected to be completed by 30th April to allow passage past this point. The Trust is continuing to maintain water levels downstream of the breach.

Update 24/03/21

The Trust and its contractors are in the final stages of making the cofferdam watertight, to enable the cofferdam to be dewatered. We anticipate that our engineers will be able to carry out the first detailed inspection at the breach site shortly after Easter. Water levels continue to be carefully monitored. While passage through Goole Caission is not possible at present, the Trust is working hard to ensure boaters can once again pass between Pollington and Sykehouse Lock. We intend to operate this on a booking only basis from 12 April (in line with the Government road map). 

Update 01/03/2021

The cofferdam has now been installed. Next week we expect to be able to dewater the site and carry out a fish rescue (while pumping water out, any fish trapped between the walls will be rescued and relocated back into the canal). Shortly after this, we will conduct our first detailed site investigation with our principal engineer, to assess the damage and decide on the repair programme to be undertaken. It will take several months for the repair programme to complete and we will share more details on timescales after the site inspection.

Update 08/02/2021

The repair programme remains on schedule and the site will continue to be monitored daily until completion of the cofferdam installation at the end of February. The team are around half way through the installation of the steel piles for the cofferdam and once in place the water between the walls will be pumped out so our engineers can view the damage. While pumping this water out, any fish trapped between the walls will be rescued and relocated back into the canal. A detailed investigation of the damage will then inform the repair programme and costs involved. 

Arial photo of waterway

Update 26/01/2021

Despite heavy rainfall incurred by Storm Christoph the repair programme is still on track and we continue to monitor the site daily.  Following the installation of stop planks at Goole Docks last week, we set up pontoons this week and are sailing them down to site.  

Next week we will begin to install stop piles for the cofferdam (two dams across the canal) which is expected to be complete by end of February. This will then allow a full dewatering of the breach location so our teams can get on site to carry out investigations and determine the next steps in the repair programme.

Update 18/01/2021

We expect to start work onsite next week to put in place a cofferdam (two dams across the canal).  This important step in the project will allow the site of the breach to be drained so the team can gain access and identify full extent of damage and the cause of the breach.  We can then determine the next steps in the repair programme.

At present, metal stop planks are currently on their way to Goole caisson (these are the gates across the canal located above Goole Docks) to help control of water levels within Goole Dock and provide another level or protection to prevent any flow from the docks into the canal.  These will be installed later this week.

With sustained heavy rainfall forecast this week we appreciate this may be of concern, especially on how this will impact on repairs to our network.  At the Aire & Calder Navigation breach we continue to carry out daily inspections to ensure any changes in the condition of the bank are fully monitored and reviewed should any changes occur.  Our team is on hand 24-7, ready to assist should we need to support a cross-agency response to ensure communities near to our waterways are safe.   

We will continue to offer updates via this webpage as the project progresses and thank you for your continued patience and support as we make this repair as quickly as possible.

Update 05/01/2021 

We are continuing to carry out inspections of the breach site twice per day to ensure safety of the area. These inspections have confirmed that the repair is structurally sound and there is no further flood risk.  We have lowered water levels in the canal to reduce the rate of water loss from the breach and the escaped water is being pumped away into the River Don. The water levels in the canal are being managed through the pumps near Goole dock.   

Our project team met on Monday 4 January to begin work to repair the breach. The repair work will first require the removal of the water from a section of the canal around the breach point. This will involve the construction of a temporary dam at two locations by piling across the navigation to create a ‘cofferdam’. The design of these temporary works has commenced.

Once the cofferdam is in place, which we expect to be in the next few weeks, the water in the canal can be pumped around it in order to ensure a constant water supply to feed Goole docks. Until the cofferdam is in place it is difficult to be precise how long a permanent repair will take as this very much depends on what damage we find once the water is removed.

The twice daily inspection of the damaged area of canal bank will continue until this cofferdam is in place to ensure public safety.

Update 29/12/20

On 28 December our team, with our contractors - Kier, returned to site to place more stone and clay in the hole and this has considerably reduced the leak. The stone provides stability and the clay seals the passage of water in the gaps between the bags, and we have also spread waterproof material over the breached area.

We will continue to carry out daily checks to ensure the situation does not change. Water levels in the canal are now rising back towards normal.

Stones being placed in the canal

During the event, in order to protect water levels in Goole Docks, we closed the gates from the canal and pumped water in. With water levels rising in the canal we should soon be able to open these gates again though navigation will not be permissible along the canal until we have undertaken further works as a precaution.

Now that the immediate risk has been significantly reduced, we are able to begin to look in more detail at designing a permanent repair in the new year. Our engineers are considering the options and how such a repair would be achieved.

Although we understand that local people may like to visit the site to see the work we’ve done, we advise people to stay well away from the area where the breach has occurred.

Water being pumped into canal

Work of this nature normally requires months of planning; it is therefore a credit to our team and contractors that this work has been executed so quickly and effectively, especially across the holiday season.                                                                

We would like to thank all those agencies who have assisted in responding to this incident and all those people local to the site who have supported this work over the past few days, and for their understanding during this challenging event.

Update 23/12/20

On 22 December the team on site placed around 140 one-tonne bags of stone around the breach hole. With the bags in place and flow of water leaving the canal much reduced, the risk of any further flooding is greatly diminished.

We are continuing this work today, with the helicopter currently in the process of placing around another 100 bags of stone to further shore up the hole. Once enough have been positioned we will start to place clay around the bags to create a water tight seal and, depending on how works proceed, we anticipate completing the repair and sealing the hole by the end of today or at the latest tomorrow.

We are aware that where the water levels in the navigation have dropped, isolated sections along the bank have moved inwards as a result of the loss of pressure from the water. 

Whilst this looks unsightly, it does happen from time to time with canals where we take the water out for maintenance. It is not a cause for concern. Our engineers have checked the waterway this morning and will continue to do so. 

When the temporary repair is complete, our attention will turn to determining what caused the breach and the long term fix. We will be able to report more in the new year.

Update 22/12/20

Overnight, the flow of water leaving the navigation has slowed considerably, and the standing flood water in the adjacent fields has largely flowed away.

The helicopter is on site and moving the 100 one-tonne bags of stone into the breach hole. We will then make the repair watertight with clay. 

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our partners who have assisted throughout.

Last date edited: 23 August 2021