Have the canals reached their 'use by' date?

Published: Friday, 12 April 2019

BEING an avid reader of your site and noticing the many stoppages last year I feel as though I must ask—have the canals reached their 'use by' date, asks James Henry?

They are over 200 years old, and though such as lock gates can be replaced with new, the actual fabric of the locks, walls and bridges cannot, and it is the fabric that is failing, as shown by such as the Marple Flight with the second lock having to be rebuilt, resulting in the flight being closed for months on end.

b ralph 02 07Showing their age

And other constructions too are showing their age, with supporting walls failing and bridges cracking.

We all know that maintenance has slowed down since the age of British Waterways, but the failure of the actual fabric of the canals, I have to admit is hardly the fault of the current Canal & River Trust.

It is becoming more and more obvious that the canals will not last forever, and though I certainly do not wish to appear a doomsayer, their 'use by' date, I believe is fast approaching.