News article created on 10 March 2022

Hundred of trees fallen on waterways caused by Storm Eunice

We've been working to repair the damage caused by Storm Eunice which caused hundreds of trees to fall across our waterways in England and Wales. There was also widespread flooding across the network and some structural damage to buildings and winter works construction sites.

Flood water being run off through the lock Flood water being run off through the lock

We've had reports of over 450 trees down on ourland and waters, of which two thirds were cleared in the first week which, together with emergency pumping, will cause around £300k of additional spend.

Our winter works programme

Every winter we carry out a programme of essential maintenance and repairs across the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers we look after, to protect and preserve them for navigation and for the local communities they run through. This year almost £60 million is being invested in hundreds of jobs across our network. The damage caused by Storm Eunice has affected works, meaning that those still in progress may take longer than scheduled. Boaters can find more detail on the stoppage page of our website.

The disruption the storm has caused

Julie Sharman, our chief operating officer, said: “Storm Eunice caused havoc, blowing down hundreds of trees that blocked navigation and collided with our 200-year-old infrastructure as well as sadly damaging several boats. Fortunately, we’ve not had reports of anyone injured, but the historic canal network has taken a battering in many places.

"In London, the storm seriously damaged our impounding station in Docklands which houses the heavy-duty pumps that keep West India Docks topped up with water: not ideal given we were hosting a visit from a warship from the Dutch Fleet along with many local vessels. In some parts of the country excessive rain caused floodwater to spill over the dams and into our stoppage sites, hampering our works.

“Over the weekend of heavy winds and rain our teams and contractors were out on the canals and towpaths battling the damage done by the storm, and many colleagues who were not on call came in to help tackle the response and get the navigations up and running.

"Unfortunately, this has had a knock-on effect on a number of projects in our winter works programme, with some stoppages now set to take longer than expected. We know what an impact this will have on boaters, who will have been hoping to get moving after the long winter and may have been making plans for the Easter holidays. We apologise for the delays and are making every effort to complete the works as quickly and safely as possible.”