‘Considerable damage’ reported along canal network
Teams from a national environmental charity are currently working their way along its 2,000 miles of historic canals and navigable rivers to check for damage following the aftermath of Storm Babet.
The Canal and River Trust is reporting that hundreds of trees have been blown down. They add the canal network has suffered ‘structural damage’ with a number of towpaths having been washed away.
It adds that there was a landslide on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal along with ‘considerable damage’ on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal – where the River Soar flooded into the canal. More than 50 metres of the bank collapsed following the surge.
The Trust’s staff and volunteers attended numerous call-outs as they battled to control water levels and respond to damage.
The charity is praising a quick response by one of the Trust’s volunteers at the Erewash Canal in Sandiacre in Derbyshire. It says disaster was averted disaster when a team member rescued a member of the public who fell into the canal.
‘I’d like to thank colleagues and volunteers at the Trust for battling across the weekend to control water levels, responding to the emergencies caused by Storm Babet, and for all their efforts to keep everyone safe,’ says Richard Parry, Chief Executive of the Canal & River Trust.
Canal network: ‘a national treasure dating back 250 years’
‘Our canal network is a national treasure dating back 250 years. It isn’t safely locked away as an exhibit in a museum. It is here to be navigated by boats as they did centuries ago, used freely by millions of people, and for the benefit of wildlife.’
‘We’re going to see Storm Babet leave the canal network with a bill likely to be in the millions.’
‘This illustrates the increasing expense of keeping the canal network safe and open, at a time when funding from government is reducing in real terms, and ahead of the steep future cuts they announced earlier this year.’
‘These extra costs are becoming increasingly common place as the changing climate takes its toll. Without adequate funding, they will lead to the gradual deterioration and eventual closure of some canals.’
‘The work of staff and volunteers, together with the support of our partners and friends, is vital if we are to keep our canals alive to benefit this and future generations.’