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The charity making life better by water

New technical experts to join our team

We've appointed technical experts to help tackle climate challenges.

Canal water floods surrounding towpath and overflows a lock

With our canal network facing the growing challenge of climate change-driven storms and floods, we've put in place long term framework contracts allowing us to call upon specialist technical expertise to help look after our reservoirs, embankments, cuttings, and other structures.

Ground investigations

With most of the canal network’s earth-built structures constructed over two centuries ago, we must understand how climate change is impacting the network and make sure our historic assets are safe. A key way of establishing the integrity of these structures is by carrying out a programme of ground investigations.

Ground investigations are also used to assess potential contamination and put in equipment to monitor potential ground movement of canal structures or groundwater levels. They are an integral part in the design of construction projects and allow us to assess the condition and likely future behaviour of its canals, reservoirs, and river navigations.

Tapping into innovation

Moving from a single source, from 1 April 2024 our in-house team will be able to call upon support where needed from Arcadis (UK) Limited, RSK Environment Ltd, and Geotechnical Engineering Limited.

Allowing us to tap into innovation from other sectors when planning works required to keep the canal network open and safe, we have also agreed terms with specialists in technical engineering and design services. Again, moving from a single source, support will be available from Arcadis Consulting (UK) Limited, Pell Frischmann Consultants Ltd, and Stantec UK Limited.

Keeping our canals safe

Malcolm Horne, our chief infrastructure and programmes officer, said: “The UK’s canal network is a fantastic example of long-lasting civil engineering; living heritage which is still in active use today. This 250-year-old network is also facing the impact of a challenging, changing climate, with the multiple storms in the past few months alone causing £millions of damage. To keep our canals safe and available for years to come, we must make sure our historic structures are sound, and that we’re planning our works with the best possible knowledge, both from our in-house expertise and drawing on the latest advances from other industries.”

We are the owner of the third largest collection of listed structures in the UK, and manage 1,579 locks, 55 tunnels, 2,969 bridges, 279 aqueducts and 71 reservoirs. We're moving from a single to multi supplier model for its Professional Service and Geotechnical Inspection contracts from 1 April 2024. This will increase resilience for the delivery of projects and broadens the pool of available resources. We will be able to access a wider range of innovation, best practice options, technical and sustainable solutions.

The new contracts are awarded following a rigorous five-stage tender process carried out over an 18-month period. They are for a period of up to eight years, with an initial term of four years.

Last Edited: 27 March 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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