Preparing for freight on the Aire & Calder

Published: Thursday, 27 October 2022

WITH discussions on Port Leeds comes the possibility of freight once again on the Aire & Calder Navigation.

This will mean freight being transported by the waterway between Goole and Leeds, with a facility at Stourton with interest from prospective operators.

Need for dredging

The problem however is the need for dredging to get the depth for laden boats as Canal & River Trust imposed a draft restriction after shoals of dead fish appeared that was blamed on a passing barge. It promised dredging in April this year but did not start until August.

A trial of a loaded barge needing a 7ft 6in draught made it from Goole Docks to Leeds with just a few locations where spot dredging would be needed, particularly below Lemonroyd Lock.

Alas, that is the rub. for at present Lemonroyd Lock can only accommodate narrowboats, that is rather useless for loaded barges, and only too often there are other stoppages on this waterway, that could prove unacceptable for operators.

But it would surely be a good thing to see the waterway used again for what it was built for...