Victor: Toddbrook type dams need urgent attention

Published: Sunday, 13 October 2019

AT 200 odd years old, with one failed and at least one other failing, those dams I reckon have reached their 'sell-by' date and need urgent attention.

EarlswoodLakeDam400The Toddbrook one has gone, and from all accounts the next is likely to be the Earlswood dam (pictured) with locals extremely worried as it can be seen to be collapsing, especially with the weight of lorries—disregarding its weight limitrunning along its top.

The 'cover-up' by the Environment Agency, so well explained by Allan Richards together with its excuses and pointing out eight similar constructed dams, does suggest they need attention as 'maintenance' these days is virtually non-existent, and 'inspections' somewhat magical, there is a strong possibility of other failures—and yes, I will statea risk to life.


But as Allan Richards tells it is this risk to life that makes the excuse from the EA that it finds that the factors in favour of withholding information outweigh the public interest factors in disclosing the information, somewhat bizarre.

So it is better to risk a dam failing and causing deaths and destruction less important than telling the people living below these dams that there could be a problem?

Bizarre, doesn't cover it.

Doesn't inspire confidence

So the EA has contacted the owners of the eight similar constructed reservoirs as Toddbrook, to inspect them, but if the myriad of 'inspections' that Canal & River Trust told it did on Toddbrook dam, that then failed, 'inspections' do not inspire much confidence.

It really needs 'professional' people who understand dams to undertake the inspections, not someone who obviously is more at home with canal locks and the like, as their many stated botched 'inspections' of Toddbrook clearly showed.

I wonder if those in charge at the EA have yet cottoned-on that those reservoirs and their dams were designed and built some 200 odd years ago, and far from the standards demanded today, and will now follow in the footsteps of Toddbrook, so need some very urgent attention indeed.

Not such a good idea

During the last few cruises, that included the Four Counties and Leicester rings and trips up the Caldon, we passed no few marinas, and from the photographs it is clear that they had plenty of empty berths, and bearing in mind we cruise both early and late in the season, this even allows for boats out cruising.

Many will remember the old British Waterways had this idea of creating more marinas by helping with their construction and promising that for every ten berths built one mooring will be taken off the towpath, so many, such as farmers seeing a good money maker, jumped on the scheme and marinas sprung up all over the place, with three big ones along the eastern end of the Trent & Mersey.

Alas that clearing out the promised towpath berths came to nought, in fact a great line of them was created at that time above Shardlow Lock, so the marinas were not such the promised golden opportunity after all, as there were too many of them, and yes, they are still being constructed.

Which brings me to the pointthat with such a choice it is hardly the time to up prices, as King's Orchard Marina on the Coventry have done, with one who has forsaken it for another, suggests renaming it Kings Ransom Marina!

About time

So at long last the powers that be have decided to repair that leak on the Bollington Embankment on the Macclesfield, hopefully putting an end to the all too frequent stoppages.

The length involved is to be relined, but alas, as expected it will not be a rush job, for in the spirit of today's repairs, it will take five months.   At least unlike the lining of the Middlewich Branch, it is being done in winter.

Victor Swift