Publicity gets CaRT responding to Walsall danger

Published: Wednesday, 16 October 2019

AFTER the bad publicity resulting from four people falling into its canal in one evening, Canal & River Trust have responded.

Perhaps the threat of action in allowing its canal in Walsall to be blanketed in green algae, with no warnings,  thus causing people to step onto it then plunge into the water had some bearing, as it has now reacted following all the publicity and cleared the surface, Alan Tilbury reports.

GrassWalsallFour people stepped onto 'grass'

As readers of narrowboatworld will be aware four people mistook the green algae for grass or asphalt in the dark and stepped onto it and fell in on the evening of the 5th of October, with luckily no fatalities.

There is now a demand for safety measures around the waterway in the town, as it is indeed dangerous, particularly when the algae forms on its surface giving the appearance of either grass in daylight or asphalt in darkness, encouraging people to step onto it.

Sixty tons

Canal & River Trust told that volunteers were engaged in clearing the weed that amounted to 60 tons in total. Warning signs have now been erected to warn of the danger of the waterway.

However, one man who fell into the canal told he was immersed in the water and had to push his son out before levering himself out, adding that he has nightmares ever since and his son is having counselling at school.

He believes that barriers should be erected as the water is next to the walkway and is dangerous with the poor lighting, and it was easy to mistake the water as being solid as it had been allowed to become completely covered with the algae.

Eight or nine have fallen in

Kayleigh Nelson, who works in Bar 10 close to the canal, told the BBC she understands about eight or nine people have fallen in in the past three weeks, including two children, stating:

"I have been here two years and I have never seen anyone go in before. The thing is, everyone thinks it looks like Astroturf because it is covered in the moss."

Continue to remove it

A spokesman for Canal & river Trust explained:

"The weed is a 'ferocious grower' which can come back within days during warmer weather.  While the cooler weather should slow the growth, we will continue to remove it when necessary."