Pennine Waterways News

Friday 28 May 2010

Stoppage at Barrowford Locks

There is a stoppage at Barrowford Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near Nelson.

There is damage to the wooden cill and lock floor adjacent to the tail gates of Lock 46, Barrowford, leading to an escape of water, preventing the lock from being filled.

Investigation and repair will take place over the weekend.

BW will issue a further update on Tuesday 1st June. Enquiries about this stoppage should be made to BW on 01942 405700.

Update 1st June:
Repair works are still in progress and the cement will need to set before the lock can be re-opened. BW anticipates that the stoppage will be lifted on Thursday morning 3rd June.

BW will issue a further update on Thursday 3rd June.

Update 3rd June:
BW has announced that the lock has now re-opened to navigation.

Update 4th June:
BW has announced that the lock has been closed again due to a further problem with the tail gate cill. Repair works will be undertaken immediately and it is anticipated that works will be completed by 12.00 noon on Saturday 5th June.

Looking towards Lock 46, Barrowford.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Shorter Opening Hours for Plank Lane

Plank Lane Lift Bridge, on the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, is to be open for fewer hours each day.

British Waterways is having to identify areas where money can be saved. This lift bridge has to be manned during all opening hours and this currently involves the use of overtime. A reduction in the operating hours of the bridge will free a significant sum of money which can be re-directed into essential maintenance works.

From June, the bridge will be open to navigation only during the following hours:
• June 2010     08.30 am to 4.30 pm
• July 2010      08.30 am to 6.00 pm
• August 2010    08.30 am to 6.00 pm
• September 2010   08.30 am to 4.30 pm

This is a trial and the opening hours will be reviewed in October.

Debbie Lumb, BW's North West Manager, said that she appreciates that this is a substantial reduction in the opening hours and it may cause some inconvenience to those travelling in the area. However, she said must balance the cost of staffing the bridge against the works needed elsewhere.

She added that BW is currently reviewing the benefits of utilising volunteers to meet a range of core duties. In the near future, BW hopes that volunteers can help to man locks and bridges. If BW can secure the volunteer commitment for Plank Lane Lift Bridge, it is possible that the bridge can revert to longer opening hours in the future.

Anyone interested in finding out more about how to get involved with this should contact BW in Wigan on 01942 405700.

BW in Wigan welcomes feedback by phone or email on how these reduced opening hours affect boaters.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Leeds and Liverpool: Reduced Lock Opening Hours

British Waterways has announced a restriction in the opening hours of almost all locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Leigh Branch in an attempt to conserve water supplies.

The locks will only be open to navigation between 9.00 am and 4.30 pm.

An exceptionally dry start to the year has meant BW having to rely on reservoirs to feed the canals earlier in the season than normal. As a result the reservoirs supplying the summit of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal all have holdings below their long term average for this time of year.

BW warns that there is a risk that the reservoirs supplying the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will not have sufficient water to supply the canal throughout the boating season, so they are imposing these restrictions in an attempt to mitigate this risk and prolong the availability of water for the remainder of the boating season.

BW will review the situation in three weeks and an update will be issued on 14th June.

BW asks that boaters ensure that they have passed through the affected lock flights to a mooring point before the 4.30 pm lock up time. Boaters are also asked to follow the instruction of Lock Keepers and adhere to "Thrift" notices posted at the lock side.

The locks affected by this restriction are:
• Appley Bridge to Pagefield (Lock 91 to 88)
• Wigan Flight (Locks 87 to 65)
• Poolstock Locks (Locks 1 to 2 on Leigh Branch)
• Johnsons Hillocks (Locks 58 to 64)
• Blackburn Flight (Locks 52 to 57)
• Barrowford Flight (Locks 45 to 51)
• Greenberfield Locks (Locks 42 to 44)
• Bank Newton and Gargrave Locks (Locks 30 to 41)
• Bingley Five Rise and Three Rise Locks (Locks 22 to 29)
• Field Locks (Locks 16 to 18)
• Newlay and Forge Locks (Locks 8 to 13)
• Spring Garden to Office Locks (Locks 1 to 6)

Newlay Locks

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Pollution Shuts Calder and Hebble

Pollution of rivers following a fire near Huddersfield has resulted in closure of part of the Calder and Hebble Navigation.

British Waterways has announced a stoppage affecting the waterway between Cooper Bridge and Thornhill Double Lock, Dewsbury.

The incident is the result of a serious fire at a chemical factory at Linthwaite in the early hours of Monday morning, when chemicals seeped into the adjacent River Colne.

Acting on advice issued by the Environment Agency British Waterways is working to prevent the input of polluted water into the canal system. Initially this involved closing the feed from the River Colne into the Huddersfield Broad Canal, resulting in the closure of that canal, as there was no incoming water to re-fill locks.

The river pollution has now reached the River Calder just below Cooper Bridge. In order to prevent polluted water entering the lock cuts and the canal section between Thornhill and Broad Cut, the flood locks will be closed, preventing the passage of boats.

Boats currently on the Battyeford and Mirfield lock cuts will need to remain where they are. The Huddersfield Broad Canal remains closed, so boats coming downstream from Brighouse should not proceed past Kirklees Cut. Boats coming upstream from Broad Cut will not be able to exit from Thornhill Flood Lock and should not proceed beyond Thornhill Double Locks.

British Waterways will issue an update on Wednesday 26th May. Any enquiries regarding this stoppage should be made to BW on 0113 281 6860.

This temporary closure is to prevent any long term environmental and ecological impact.

Update, 27th May:
BW has announced that the Calder and Hebble Navigation will be re-opened throughout by lunchtime today, Thursday 27th May.

Monday 24 May 2010

Fire Shuts Canals

A chemical fire alongside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has closed the eastern part of that canal and the whole of the Huddersfield Broad Canal.

The fire happened early this morning at chemical works alongside Lock 20e of the canal at Linthwaite. On the advice of the emergency services, British Waterways immediately closed the section of canal between Lock 12e, Milnsbridge and Lock 24e, Slaithwaite.

This afternoon the whole of the Huddersfield Broad Canal has been closed. This is because it is feared that chemical pollution from the fire has got into the River Colne. British Waterways has closed the feed from the River Colne into the head of the Huddersfield Broad Canal, to the west of Aspley Basin. Without this feed, the locks on the canal cannot be operated, or the summit level will become drained.

British Waterways says that it will issue an update on Tuesday afternoon (25th May).

This stoppage affects boaters navigating the South Pennine Ring.

Any enquiries regarding this stoppage should be made to BW on 01782 785703 for the Huddersfield Narrow Canal or 0113 281 6860 for the Huddersfield Broad Canal.

Update, 25th May:
Huddersfield Narrow Canal now re-opened. The locks on the Huddersfield Broad Canal are still closed. The pollution has not dispersed through the river system as quickly as anticipated, so the stoppage will remain in place for at least a further 24 hours.

BW will issue a further update on 26th May. Any boaters with an urgent need to travel on the Huddersfield Broad should phone 0113 281 6860 for latest information.

The fire affected more that just the canals yesterday. As a plume of hazardous smoke drifted south-eastwards from the site, schools and major roads were closed and residents across the south of Huddersfield were told to stay indoors.

Update, 27th May:
BW has announced that the Huddersfield Broad Canal will be re-opened by lunchtime today, Thursday 27th May.

Lock 20e, Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Stoppage at Marple Locks

British Waterways has warned that Marple Locks are currently closed to navigation.

Lock 8 of the flight is de-watering itself, making navigation through the lock impossible. This is possibly due to a failed wooden cill or a faulty paddle. BW staff are investigating the problem today and will carry out a repair tomorrow.

It is hoped that the locks can be re-opened at 6 pm tomorrow (Wednesday 19th May). Boaters should not attempt to enter the lock flight until the stoppage has been lifted.

This stoppage affects boaters navigating the Cheshire Ring.

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

Update, 18th May: It is thought that CCTV cameras will need to be used to survey the bywashes in conjunction with this stoppage. This work may continue into Thursday 20th May, requiring 20-minute restrictions to navigation.

Update, 19th May: Due to damage being worse than first thought, the lock will not re-open to navigation until 6 pm on Thursday 20th May.

Marple Locks

Sunday 16 May 2010

Residents oppose canalside development near Bingley Five Rise

A group of residents and supporters are battling to stop a large housing development taking place on land adjoining the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near Bingley.

There are plans to develop a 40 acre site off Micklethwaite Land and Sty Lane that borders 800 feet of canal bank where there are currently long term moorings. Although the land is zoned for housing on Bradford Council's UDP, residents are concerned over the proposals for 475 houses to be built, with serious issues for local infrastructure.

Area affected by proposals. (Google Maps / Greenhill Action Group)

One of these issues in Micklethwaite Swing Bridge, which would provide the principal access to the site. This could result in long traffic queues when boats pass through. Residents have also expressed concern for the future of indigenous white geese that occupy some of the site.

A public meeting last week attracted 400 people. A further meeting is expected to take place in a few weeks.

Greenhill Action Group has set up a website to make their case, which includes an online petition and suggestions for letters of objection.

The application and related documents can be viewed on Bradford Council's website.

Any objections need to be submitted immediately. The email address is The council website gives a date of 18th May for the end of the consultation period.

Update: Greenhill Action Group suggests that objections can be sent up until 24th May.

Micklethwaite Swing Bridge

Friday 14 May 2010

Plank Lane Hold-up

British Waterways has warned that boaters heading along the Leigh Branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal face a hold up at Plank Lane.

The lift bridge at Plank Lane is closed to navigation. It is unable to be opened due to a burst hydraulic pipe.

Investigations and repairs are taking place and BW expect the bridge to be re-opened on Saturday morning, 15th May.

The bridge, which is operated by BW staff, has a history of problems including an incident in 2006 where the bolts holding the counterweight in place sheered off.

Update: Repairs have been completed and the bridge is now open to navigation.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Salterhebble restrictions lifted

Repairs to the Guillotine Lock at Salterhebble (Calder and Hebble Navigation) have been carried out and the gate is now operable by boaters.

The time restrictions mentioned in the previous post have been lifted. However, only one sluice is use so the lock will take longer than usual to navigate.

Engineers will be servicing the lock on Thursday 13th May, so short delays may be experienced by boaters.

Update, 13th May:
The guillotine lock is now fully operational, with both sluices working.

Friday 7 May 2010

More problems at Salterhebble

Trouble-hit Salterhebble Guillotine Lock on the Calder and Hebble Navigation is again creating potential delays for boaters, with restricted operating hours introduced once again.

Due to a breakdown of the electrical mechanism, the guillotine gate will have to be operated manually by British Waterways staff until specialist repairs can be carried out. BW is hoping that the engineers will be on site with the necessary parts on Thursday 13th May.

Until repairs are complete, the Guillotine Lock will be operated by BW staff during the following periods only:
• 9.00 am - 10.00 am daily
• 12.00 noon - 2.00 pm daily
• 4.00 pm - 6.00 pm daily

Electrical problems occurred with Salterhebble Lock in May 2008 and had to be manually operated by BW staff at certain times each day for around a year.

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

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Salterhebble Guillotine Lock

Wednesday 5 May 2010

BW asks for views on Winter Stoppages

British Waterways has published its draft plans for the stoppage programme for the coming winter and is asking users for their comments.

This year, for the first time, BW is encouraging more active involvement of waterway users by inviting them to review the provisional plans prepared by local works planners, and to help them spot opportunities for better coordination to minimise disruption.

A map showing the location and dates of proposed stoppages in the North of England can be seen here. It is a .pdf document which can be saved to your computer.

Feedback about these initial proposals can be made until 1st June. At the end of June, BW hopes to publish a modified version, taking into account feedback received where possible.

It is proposed that stoppages on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Cheshire and on the Ashton Canal take place before Christmas so that the whole Cheshire Ring can be open after Christmas.

The Huddersfield Narrow and Rochdale Canals will both be closed before and after Christmas. Other than dredging, works on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal should take place before Christmas.

Work on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation will take place after Christmas, but work at Bramwith Lock (Stainforth and Keadby Canal) will take place before Christmas.

Full details of the stoppage proposals, along with a feedback form, can be found on the Waterscape site.

Car in Lock blocks Rochdale Canal

Boating on the western side of the Rochdale Canal has been disrupted by a car that has ended up in a lock.

British Waterways reports that the car is in Lock 63, Walk Mill Lock, just north of Irk Aqueduct, Chadderton.

The lock will remain closed pending a police investigation. BW wil issue an update tomorrow (6th May).

If the lock number is correct then it is a puzzle how the car came to be there as it is a long way from the nearest road.

Boaters awaiting passage should moor up at the Irk Aqueduct moorings or above Slattocks Locks until BW announces that the lock has re-opened.

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

Update, 7th May: The car has been removed and the lock has re-opened to navigation.

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Lock 63, Walk Mill Lock