News article created on 17 August 2018

Next phase of repairs to Middlewich breach started

Work has started on the next phase to repair the breach at Middlewich on the Shropshire Union Canal after a giant 12m deep hole was left in the canal bank in March.

Diggers at Middlewich breach Diggers at Middlewich breach

Paddle gates on the locks, which allow water into the canal, had been left open by a member of the public which caused the canal to overflow. This resulted in a section of the 200-year-old embankment being washed away into the river Wheelock below.

£3 million to repair

We believe the damage will cost around £3 million to repair. The work is being funded by the Trust as well as generous donations from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and the local community, which has already given more than £25,000 to an emergency appeal. 

Contractors, on behalf of the Canal & River Trust, have been working over the last few months installing dams either side of the breach, removing dangerous trees and rescuing stranded boats. Since then a temporary access road and construction site compound have been established next to the breach and an access route along the canal bed has now been constructed to allow the physical repair work to begin.

Around 4,000 tonnes of material was lost that will need to be replaced to repair the embankment. The canal repairs will include a flexible PVC membrane and a fibre reinforced lining. We are working hard to re-open the canal as quickly as possible with a target to re-open at Christmas.

Complex designs

Andy Johnson, senior project manager at the Canal & River Trust said: “A great deal of work has been completed to get to the point where we can actually start to repair this huge hole. Behind the scenes, specialists have been ensuring the ecology, heritage and environment around the breach is safe-guarded and engineers have been working on the complex design plan required to repair the canal.

I’d like to thank everyone over the last few months for their support and kind donations to help us with the repairs.  This has really demonstrated the love that people have for the canal which plays an important part in people’s everyday life.”

Anyone wishing to support this emergency appeal to repair the breach can log on to or alternatively text LEAK515 to 70070 to donate £5*. Donations will go directly to repairing the canal.