Lengthy closures

Published: Monday, 27 March 2017

Your correspondent, who criticises CaRT over Brick Lock, highlights the observation that there have been days when nothing is happening, writes Mike Todd.

The report suggests that CaRT is in dereliction of its duty to re-open the navigation as quickly as possible as a result of this.


Dutton Breach

I have no specific knowledge of this particular project but I have followed a number of other larger incidents that have resulted in lengthy closures—take the Dutton Breach (pictured) as an example.

Today's requirements for large scale works, including planning, heritage approval and agreements with landowners for access, to name but three, all prevent the old-style method of rushing in to do works as quickly as possible. Whilst some might regret the need to gain these approvals, not to mention proper engineering designs and Health and Safety considerations, they are a necessary part of living in our current society. Most of them have come about as a result of what happens when corners are cut even in the laudable pursuit of re-opening navigations quickly.

Nothing seemed to happen

I have no idea whether the days when nothing seemed to happen were actually days when, back in the much-maligned offices, these matters were being resolved, or whether unanticipated supplies of rarely required equipment or materials was taking longer than hoped. It may, of course, be that CaRT were just incompetent and failed to send the right staff to site on those days, but I suspect that this is the less likely option.

There will, no doubt, be those who say that CaRT should have kept in place staff with knowledge of how the canals, including the locks, were constructed 'back in the old days', that specialist equipment or materials should always be stockpiled 'just in case', and that repairs should be carried out without regard to history or safety, let alone without obtaining landowners permission, but they are both expensive and liable to land CaRT in court—an even more expensive option!

Held to account

Every public service body needs to be held to account, sometimes quite robustly, but it does not help when people rush to be critical without first finding out the reality of modern existence!