Pennine Waterways News

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Online Petition Gathers Pace

On online petition on the Downing Street website is gathering momentum among waterway supporters.

The petition reads: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to protect our canals by not selling off property owned by British Waterways."

Petition creator Ian Rees added these statements in support of the petition: "Further to recent announcements concerning the potential sell-off of properties owned by British Waterways by the Treasury, we petition the Prime Minister to give assurances that our canals will be protected and recent levels of investment, a credit to Labour, is maintained.
"Our canals are great source of pleasure for many people in the country, providing a source of employment through tourism and associated businesses. They're also home to many forms of wildlife. Without proper management this will ebb away and the network return to a state of decay and ruin.
"We urge the Government to allow British Waterways to retain its property portfolio, protecting its essential source of revenue and ensure the sustainability of its work."

The petition follows an item on BBC TV's The Politics Show speculating that BW's property portfolio could be sold off to help plug the Government's financial deficit.

BW responded by pointing out that the Government had decided earlier in the year, following a Treasury-led review, that British Waterways' 1,400 canalside properties should not be sold, although it acknowledged that things could change.

Save Our Waterways commented: "It would be a very short-sighted decision if the government were to sell off BW's property portfolio. Not only would the amount raised not be great in a recession, but it would deprive BW of a vital source of income, meaning that the government would have to pump additional money into BW in the future just to maintain the system at a basic level."

The story about the possible sell-off spread alarm amongst waterway users, despite BW's reassurances, resulting in the online petition.

The petition came to the notice of the Inland Waterways Association who have indicated that they support the statements in the petition and have been encouraging people to add their names.

Some people are doubtful about the effectiveness of petitions, but the IWA points out: "The worst outcome now that this is in the public domain, would be if this petition receives scant support. That might give Ministers the impression that there are few waterways supporters who care very much about the issue. On the other hand, if it is well supported, the Government, this close to an election, is very sensitive to actions it might take which may lose votes."

The petition has picked up 5,000 names in just a few days. Please look at the petition by following this link and, if you agree with it, add your own name.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Two Day Stoppage at Barton Aqueduct

A stoppage will affect Barton Aqueduct on the Bridgewater Canal for two days in December to enable the structure to be inspected.

On Wednesday 9th December, the canal will be closed to navigation for most of the day, with passage being available only from 12 noon to 12.30 pm and from 4.00 to 4.30 pm.

On Thursday 10th December, the canal across the aqueduct will be closed to navigation all day.

Boaters are being advised not to moor overnight at Barton Aqueduct. Suggested alternatives are at Worsley village centre, Castlefield or in Sale at the Kings Ransom public house.

Any enquiries regarding this stoppage should be made to The Bridgewater Canal Company on 0161 629 8266.

Barton Aqueduct

Thursday 19 November 2009

Marple Locks to be shut for three weeks

Marple Locks on the Peak Forest Canal will be closed from Monday 30th November to Thursday 17th December.

This is an unplanned stoppage, not included in the orignal winter stoppage list, to allow for emergency third-party repairs to Brabyns Brow Bridge (Station Road), adjacent to Lock 9.

This stoppage affects boaters travelling around the Cheshire Ring.

Any enquiries regarding this stoppage should be made to BW on 01782 785703.

Lock 9 and Brabyns Brow Bridge

Friday 13 November 2009

Leeds and Liverpool closed at Hapton

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal has been closed at Hapton Bridge (bridge 121) after the bridge was struck by a vehicle.

Some of the bridge masonry has fallen onto the canal and towpath. As a result the canal has been closed until the remaining stonework can be assessed, debris removed and any emergency repairs completed.

British Waterways will issue an update notice on Monday 16th November 2009.

Any enquiries regarding this stoppage should be made to BW on 01942 405700.

Update (17th Nov):
Due to a mechanical failure of the equipment used to remove the debris, the canal at Hapton is not expected to be re-opened until November 18th.
Update (19th Nov):
The navigation is now re-opened.

Hapton Bridge, Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Friday 6 November 2009

Huddersfield Canal gets an Overhaul

British Waterways has announced that the Huddersfield Narrow Canal will be receiving an overhaul during the Winter season.

A £445,000 programme of works will include the replacement of some of the lock gates at six locks between Marsden and Slaithwaite. These are Locks 28e, 29e, 31e, 33e, 40e and 42e.

The new gates will be built at British Waterways' own workshops at Stanley Ferry, Wakefield. The old gates will be re-cycled and reused for other projects.

David Baldacchino, waterways manager for British Waterways' new Manchester and Pennine region, said: "My staff put a huge amount of planning and dedicated work in to ensure that the canals stay open, accessible and in good working order and lock gate replacements such as this are a prime example of that."

The Winter maintenance programme will also include major works at Lock 14e, Golcar, where water has been leaking into the adjacent Ramsden's Mill. The canal was closed here in September when the leak became serious. An investigation revealed that a quick fix would not be possible and, as the major work was scheduled to be carried out in January, it was decided that this work should go ahead as planned and that the canal should remain closed until then.

Lock 31e, Huddersfield Narrow Canal