Who is kidding who?

Published: Wednesday, 26 August 2020

THE notice tells—'Canal & River Trust is planning to temporarily restrict navigation movements along a six mile stretch of the Chesterfield Canal from September 1st until further notice', writes John Coxon.


CaRT states 1Despite recent rainfall, the first half of the year has been exceptionally dry, and Chesterfield Canal relies on a regular supply of rainfall to replenish its resources.

I sayWe had one of the wettest autumn and winters ever and in fact February this year had the highest February rainfall total ever recorded according to the Met Office statistics so how do they come to the conclusion that it was an exceptionally dry first half of the year?

Boat movement

CaRT states 2There has been a significant increase in boat movements along the canal since lockdown restrictions were lifted, leading to a higher loss of water than normal as vessels move through locks.

I sayFrom March to July there was a significant decrease in boat movement due to lockdowns so the overall amount of movement would probably work out to be about average for the total time span.  Lack of water during this period would be entirely due to leakage!

Chest feederReservoir capacity

CaRT says 3As of 20th August 2020, feeder reservoirs at Pebley and Harthill are at 35% of holding capacity, with predictions that the reservoirs will be at the critical level of 20% within four weeks at the current rate of use, unless there is significant rainfall. (The picture shows the feeder at Norwood.)

I sayproper managers implementing proper management policies would realise that the reservoirs needed dredging to increase their capacity to what it was when they were first opened.  If the reservoirs cannot hold enough water for two months of use then it's obvious to anyone that they need dredging, though obviously not to inept CaRT apparently!

They did not dry up

Extended dry summers were normal 100 to 200 years ago but the canals didn't dry up every year as they designed enough capacity in the reservoirs to tide them over!  If CaRT got rid of the silt in the reservoirs then there would be enough water stored in them during the winter so see us all through the dry summer periods again!

So when will we be getting this same excuse on other waterways?  Is the Rochdale or Leeds & Liverpool next?  The Ashby is already reported as being low so when is that canal going to be closed, and inevitably take the Coventry with it?

A saying of not being able to arrange a session for people to urinate in a beer producing facility comes to mind here?

[John's comments were prompted by a recent stoppage notice from the Trust stating the above reasons for the closure of the Chesterfield Canal from Shireoaks Marina to Norwood Tunnel starting on the 1st of September until further notice.]