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News article created on 7 February 2014

Flooding across the South East waterways

Over the last 24 hours the southern section of the Grand Union Canal from Rickmansworth to Leighton Buzzard has been severely affected by the recent prolonged rainfall. We're doing all we can to deal with this unprecedented amount of water which has fallen on already saturated ground.

There are a number of other rivers and brooks that are managed by local authorities and local landowners, which run alongside or directly into the Grand Union Canal. These are having a huge impact on the amount of water entering the canal. Maintenance teams have been out all day trying to move water along the canal, opening flood paddles and providing sand bags to local residents whose gardens have been affected by the flooding.

Over the weekend the canal will be closed between Marsworth and Leighton Buzzard, including the Aylesbury Arm, to allow water to flow to other parts of the canal away from the flood hit areas where it can safely disperse.

Information and support

Jeff Whyatt, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “I would like to assure local residents that we are working flat out to move excess water further along the canal away from local properties to areas of the waterway that have extra capacity. As soon as we heard there were problems my team sprang into action and have been providing information and support to local people where we could.

“This flooding is all down to the fact it’s been raining for a long time and our reservoirs in the Tring area are full so can’t take any extra water, the local farmers fields are sodden so water is running off those straight into the waterways and the local rivers and streams are also full.  There simply isn’t anywhere for the water to go.”

The lower Oxford Canal has also been affected and is flooded at Lower Shuckburgh, Banbury Lock, Nell Bridge, Shipton, Aynho, Somerton and Lower Heyford.