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Timing and canal closures

Weather can effect excavations (drying/desiccation of clay materials in summer, softening and frost damage in winter) and construction material. Puddle clay can be difficult to store in all weathers.

Timing of the works will need to take into account the wildlife species present. The works should be phased to take account of disturbance to nesting birds and hibernating animals if these are thought to be present on site.

It should be noted that the connection to the waterway, unless agreed otherwise with us, will need to be undertaken in dry conditions. This will require the use of temporary works and/or a pre-agreed canal closure/partial closure to create a dry working area. Consideration should be given to this in the programming and pricing of the works.

If the scheme will require 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 this, you must have informed us no later than early March of your intention. At this stage we will discuss your requirements further and assess the likelihood of the scheme requiring a stoppage/the scheme going ahead, along with an estimate of the duration of any stoppage. Further information will then be required by early April to prove that a stoppage is required, along with more detail of the duration, followed by further evidence by early August that the scheme preparation is progressing sufficiently to allow the stoppage (and duration) to be confirmed in our final published programme.

Please note that if this information is not provided within the timescales the stoppage will be removed.

All direct costs attributable to the closure will be met by the developer. Direct costs may include, but are not restricted to, the following: access, signage, fish rescue, installation of dams, de-watering, over-pumping, footpath diversion, decommissioning and reinstatement of site.

We publish a national programme in advance of the stoppage period to give sufficient notice to our boating customers and businesses and we agree stoppages to be included in the programme in the preceding summer. We finalise dates by considering traffic patterns, other nearby stoppages, alternative routes and the key national 'through routes' which are kept free of closures.

Any closure must be of minimal duration and we may request certain conditions, such as weekend opening or overnight working on longer jobs. Our standard stoppage tariff will not apply to marina connections, providing the closure is within our normal stoppage programme and completed within the agreed time period. In the event that the developer overruns the agreed stoppage period, you must obtain prior approval from us. If approved, you will need to pay charges as per the Code of Practice for Works affecting Canal & River Trust.

Lay-by marinas

Where you are proposing an artificial or clay liner, it is not possible to construct a lay-by marina without a significantly longer closure than that normally required for a standard marina connection. You will need to satisfy us that the proposed works affecting our navigations can be completed within the designated stoppage programme.

Do you need a full closure of the canal?

A full closure of the canal should be considered as a last resort and can only be entered onto the stoppage programme when all the following criteria are met.

  • Planning consent has been granted by early March.
  • Ground conditions will not allow works, within the canal, to be undertaken 'in the wet'.
  • The navigable channel cannot accommodate one-way traffic for the duration of the works.

At the earliest possible opportunity, you need to confirm/establish the following things.

1. Planning status

Only where the applicant has planning consent at the time of the first consultation (early March) will a request for a full closure of the canal be considered for inclusion within the stoppage programme.

2. Ground conditions

A simple ground investigation should be undertaken to establish the ground conditions throughout the site and immediately adjacent to the proposed marina entrance. Advice from a geotechnical engineer or other suitably experienced person will be required at this stage.

Typically, trial pits should be excavated to 1m below the proposed marina bed on a 50m grid throughout the site. The trial pits should not be closer than 6m to the canal edge (or bottom of the slope, where the canal is on embankment) without our consent. You must consult with us prior to works within 6m of the canal edge and a suitable method statement will be required. You must ensure the findings are recorded (photographs and samples of soils, stored in sealed containers, can be useful where further analysis is required). This simplified ground investigation will help you determine:

  • a general description of the material within the ground affected by construction
  • whether the material is consistent
  • whether ground water is present

Where the ground investigation reveals a naturally occurring, homogeneous, plastic material (free from material such as sand, stones and organic material), then it is likely that works within the canal can be carried out 'in the wet'*. So a full closure is NOT required.

*It will be necessary to carry out a more comprehensive analysis of the ground conditions to verify that the clay complies with our clay specification, and to establish soil characteristics for design purposes.

3. Navigable channel

A survey of the canal should be carried out to determine the depth of water, profile of the canal bed and width of canal. The survey will help you to determine the navigable channel available within the canal and whether this is capable of maintaining one-way traffic during works. You must consult with us prior to this operation and a suitable method statement will be required.

Lay-by marinas

A lay-by style marina will usually require a full closure of the canal, to carry out works within the canal, unless you can assure us that:

  • ground conditions are suitable, i.e. clay is present throughout the site that complies with our clay specification, and
  • the navigational envelope (i.e. the navigable channel available within the canal) can support one-way working for the duration of the works within the canal, and
  • the integrity of the canal is not compromised by the proposed works.

Where all of the above conditions cannot be satisfied, then a full closure is required to complete the works within the canal.

Last Edited: 06 June 2024

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