We are planning to undertake extra maintenance work on the waterways that have been forced to close because of the drought this summer.
We have been reviewing the works planned for the sections that are currently closed, particularly the Rochdale, Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union, and Leeds & Liverpool Canals.
At present we are aiming to bring forward approximately eight winter stoppages, along with completing arising works in the closed sections. The work will depend on the continuing dry weather and is subject to change if there is significant rainfall.
Work has begun to replace lock gates and to prepare a number of other sites across the network, particularly in the North West and North East. Teams in less affected areas across the country are continuing to monitor and prepare in case there is an early opportunity to carry out any planned work.
Dean Davies, head of direct services at the Trust said: "The long, dry summer has been challenging for boaters, boating businesses, and many people at the Trust, as we’ve had to take extreme measures to combat the water shortages.
"We’re making the best of the drought closures by treating them as an opportunity to complete some of the works we had originally planned for the winter. Not only does this mean we’ll have more flexibility over the course of the year but carrying out the work in the summer means that we’ll be able to take advantage of longer daylight hours and warmer, more hospitable weather."
We usually carry out works in the winter because the waterways tend to be quieter, with fewer boats cruising, so we can minimise the impact it has on boaters. The drought closures present a perfect chance to get extra maintenance done without causing any more upheaval to the boating community.
There will be an update in October with specific numbers and details of the extra work we have carried out.