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The charity making life better by water

Proposals requiring physical works

The purpose of this section is to help the operators of boating businesses to understand the process they need to follow if they are proposing to do any works affecting Canal & River Trust property.

Where business boating proposals require works affecting Trust property, you will require our approval (and a formal agreement if required) prior to commencing works on site. Before granting approval, we need to be sure that the methodology and technical submission are adequate to protect the integrity of the waterway and the safety of our customers.

We have a separate process for neighbours and developers who wish to work on, near or over our property.

Works affecting Canal & River Trust property

Definition: All works on Canal & River Trust property or where works have the potential to affect the navigation or operational activities of the Trust, or where support is offered and loads are to be imposed on Trust property.


General Information

The appointment of a competent contractor is your responsibility. The Trust will need to be satisfied that your chosen contractor can demonstrate competence.

It is strongly recommended that you appoint contractors with specialist waterway experience.

Timing and canal closures

In the unlikely event that your proposal requires a full closure of the canal, this should take place within our stoppage period which is between November and March every year (some waterways can only be closed for shorter periods).

To facilitate that, you must have informed us no later than 1 March of your intention. Please liaise with the technical manager.


The developer will be liable for any damage arising from the activities of his or her agents, such as consulting engineers, contractors and sub-contractors.

In the event of a claim, the first course of action by the Trust would be directed towards the developer, though others may be joined in.

It is in the developer's interest to ensure that his agents have adequate insurance to protect him or her from action. However, it is the developer's responsibility to ensure the appropriate level of cover is taken.

Levels of insurance will be specific to the risks attached to the proposal. The design and construction of the Works should minimise risk to a reasonable level such that insurance for £5,000,000 should suffice. The Trust reserves the right to inspect copies of insurance documents to ensure adequate levels of cover.

We will require you to sign an indemnity form prior to granting permission for access to Trust property. We will provide this to you for completion.

Construction monitoring

Prior to starting any construction activity that directly affects the navigation, it may be necessary to hold a pre-commencement meeting in order to satisfy Canal & River Trust that all safety, technical, operational and environmental issues have been adequately addressed.

In addition an authorisation for access form will be issued by the technical manager to allow works to commence on site.

During the course of the construction of your scheme we may wish to make inspections at key stages to verify the actual site conditions and to confirm that construction is carried out in accordance with the plans in your detailed submission.

When the works have been completed to our satisfaction, we will issue a letter to confirm this.

Last Edited: 06 June 2024

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