We will be investing £300,000 in projects to painstakingly repair historic canal walls, locks and bridges as well as installing new lock gates at certain locks.
The works will be taking place between January and March and will see engineers and skilled workmen draining sections of canal, craning out old lock gates, installing new ones and carefully restoring 200 year-old brickwork.
Works in Staffordshire will include:
- Refitting lock gates and repairing 200 year-old brickwork at a number of locks in Stoke-on-Trent
- Re-grouting brickwork to prevent leaks at locks in Trentham, Etruria and Bedford Street in Stoke on Trent.
- Repairing locks in Meaford and refitting oak lock gates
- Repairing lock gates and historic brickwork at Bagnall Lock in Alrewas
- Refitting lock gates and repairing brickwork at Branston Lock near Burton
This winter we are spending a total of £45 million to look after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales.
Darren Green, Canal & River Trust waterways manager, said: “Staffordshire's waterways are some of the most scenic and popular in the country but people may not realise that there's quite a lot of work needed to look after them. Our teams are out in all weathers and over the next few months our engineers and heritage experts will be braving the cold to give the canals the care and attention they deserve.
“It's painstaking, specialised work but the canals are an important part of the region's heritage so it's right that we devote some time and craftsmanship to help protect them for future generations.”
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, says: “Every day thousands of people visit or cruise on our waterways without ever seeing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, and below the waterline, to look after this historic and remarkable infrastructure. This winter we are spending around £45 million on essential repair and restoration works and routine maintenance to our canals and rivers. By showcasing this work to the public we can give them a glimpse of the craftsmanship of the waterways' original 18th Century design and the scale of the work we do to care for it. We hope this will inspire more people to get involved to enjoy and help support their local canal or river navigation.
Kier is sponsoring this year's programme. Eddie Quinn, operations director, Waterways, says: “We are incredibly proud to sponsor the Trust's essential work to preserve the canals and rivers of England and Wales. Repairing and maintaining the waterways is a huge task requiring traditional materials and methods to be used to maintain this vital part of our heritage. As well as historical importance, the waterways are now widely recognised for being crucial for wildlife and are a well-loved leisure resource for millions of people every year.”
Every year we carry out a year round programme of works to conserve and repair the fragile infrastructure of the canals and rivers in its care. Teams of experts replace lock gates and complete essential maintenance across 2,000 miles of canals and rivers so they can be enjoyed by over 33,000 boats and 10 million towpath visitors each year. We are working on around 100 locks across the country, replacing 141 lock gates this winter.