CaRT's most dangerous decision yet

Published: Monday, 04 October 2021

THE decision by Canal & River Trust to no longer cut vegetation to the waters edge is its most dangerous yet, writes Tom Crossley.

Does it not realise that by 'hiding' the water from view, very young children see it as a place to hide from their parents, unknowingly stepping into the water of the canal and drowning?

1s northampton armDrowned

Far fetched?  A toddler, Giovani, drowned in August 2012 in such a situation stepping into the vegetation by the Northampton Arm by West Cotton and drowned.

*The police, family and local residents searched the area in which he was playing, with the police discovering his body in the thick reeds that grow in this stretch of the Northampton Arm, as shown in the photograph.

British Waterways immediately cleared the vegetation right to the waters edge, but it is to be allowed to grow again.

Stepped into the deep water

Two years before this a child drowned on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation at Rotherham in similar circumstances, playing 'hide and seek' with its mother, going into the 'bushes' but then stepping straight into the deep water of the navigation.

This time the parent was aware, hearing the scream of the child and struggled into the water, but too late.  The child died.

Yet Canal & River Trust is not only leaving the existing vegetation by the waters edge but extending the policy with the excuse it is better for insects.

What about children?  And the risk of their mistaking it for somewhere to hide—and drowning?  It would seem insects are more important.