'Keeping the waterways well maintained'

Published: Friday, 04 November 2022

ALTOGETHER this season Canal & River Trust issued 214 'Navigation: closed' noticesor words to that effect.

This means a total of 214 stoppages, together with countless restrictions, during this year's boating season up to the end of October, yet the trust stated that it was 'keeping the waterways well maintained'.

Of the 214 closures 26 were through lack of water, for which the lack of rainfall was often blamed, but its actual cause is in doubt owing to the many lock gates and waterway leakages.

Came off worst

During the season it was the northern canals that came off worst, as shown in this list of stoppages:

Leeds & Liverpool Canal18 stoppages

Rochdale Canal—15 stoppages

Huddersfield Narrow Canal10 stoppages

Aire & Calder Navigation8 stoppages

And even the two miles long Ripon Canal having four stoppages.

Long experience

Stoppages like this were unheard of in the former days of the British Waterways Board, when the money available went towards the waterways. And maintenance was undertaken 'in house' by people of long experience who would never need to 'establish a method of repair' as the pathetic contractors of today, for those people knew all the 'methods of repair' for every contingency,

But then came Canal & River Trust, with those former experienced people gone, together with a 'fire sale' of equipment and tools then the employment of contractors, who return to a 'repair' time and time again, such is their knowledge.

So 214 stoppages in one season...