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News article created on 8 February 2017

Volunteers get stuck in to keep waters flowing free on their local canal

A team of volunteers have donned their wellies to help clear a brook that feeds water to part of Birmingham’s canal network.

Acocks Green

The volunteers from Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum have been working with us to clear mud, logs and other debris from Westley Brook. The brook runs through Westley Vale Millennium Green, and acts as a feeder channel into the Grand Union Canal.

The works were carried out as part of a scheme that has seen the group adopt their local stretch of canal. They head out regularly to help us keep the canal looking neat, tidy and welcoming for visitors.

Generally the adoption includes tasks such as clearing litter, removing graffiti and keeping on top of canal side vegetation, but the volunteers were keen to get stuck into something more physical and help clear obstructions from the brook. The main item removed from the feeder was a large section of tree that had become wedged under a small footbridge over the stream, preventing the water from flowing freely into the canal.

Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the Canal & River Trust’s waterway partnership in the West Midlands said; "This project is a great example of the difference communities can make on their local waterways. The volunteers did a brilliant job and the stream is looking a lot clearer now. 

"Over time feeders like this do get a bit clogged up with mud and other debris and, if left unchecked, this can cause problems for water getting into the canal and potentially present issues such as localised flooding.

“Thanks to the volunteers getting stuck in the canal now has a much healthier supply of water which is good news for the people and wildlife on the canal. We’re very grateful for all their hard work and would love to see more communities getting involved on their local waterways."

Veronica Treadwell, Trustee of Westley Vale Millennium Green Trust said; "With advice, equipment, and manpower provided by the Canal & River Trust, a team of six volunteers, armed with grappling hooks, saws and crowbars, were able to dislodge this large section of tree trunk from under the bridge. We then dragged it onto the bank and roll it away into the undergrowth - hopefully it won’t find its way back into the stream again.

"In spite of one of our number ending up with a wellington boot full of stream water, this was a very enjoyable and satisfying exercise, and an excellent team effort. Many thanks to all who helped."