The conservation works, which included repairs to numerous locks, including the Caen Hill Lock Flight, as well as bridges and aqueducts, were subject to heritage consent or clearance from either local planning authorities, English Heritage or Cadw. The year came to a close without a single compliance issue raised by the regulators; a feat given the number and level of works that we've carried out with help from our volunteers.
This year we've carried out 261 repairs requiring heritage consent or clearance and hundreds more to historic canal infrastructure that, because they were not listed, didn't require specific clearance.
Sir Neil Cossons, Britain's leading authority on industrial heritage, former chairman of English Heritage and independent chair of our heritage advisory group, comments: “The nation's canal heritage is amongst the finest examples of industrial heritage in the world. In the Canal & River Trust we have a real champion looking after it.
“The age and nature of the canal network together with its importance makes for a hugely challenging and rewarding task for the Trust. Very few organisations have to carry out such large numbers of heritage conservation works each year and few organisations manage to achieve this level of performance.”
Nigel Crowe, head of heritage at the Trust, adds: “The nation's ageing canal network is a unique window onto our industrial past. We have a long list of conservation works planned for the year ahead and a lot more to do besides. One of the things we are working towards is a National Listed Building Consent Order that would allow us to perform certain specific works without the need for repeat consents.
"So it's very important to us that the quality and standard of our workmanship is as high as possible. It's the same if we're conserving an internationally renowned aqueduct or a much loved local landmark, a structure that has the highest level of designation or a heritage detail that's without any protection. Our standards should be equally high and thanks to the support of our Friends and volunteers we'll continue to do the very best we can for the heritage of the waterways.”