Victor reckons it won't get away with it

Published: Sunday, 22 January 2023

AFTER the revealing article by Allan Richards on the failure in keeping up with its lock gate replacement, Canal & River Trust gives a warning.

That it will treat further such Freedom of Information requests as vexatious.

Alas, the trust has tried this before and come unstuck, for it is not left for it to decide whether a Freedom of Information request is vexatious but those that coordinate the actual requests.

And with Allan sticking strictly to the facts, there is little doubt as to any future decision.

So trying to close the stable door after the horse has bolted, as Allan so well puts it, ain't going to work lads.

As to sticking to the facts, the trust had to own up to replacing an average of just 85 gates a year over the past 10 years of being in power, yet states it builds 180 a year at over two million quid!

Little wonder it wants a 'get-out' from the Freedom of Information Act.

Environment Agency cock-up

With the flood water on the Somerset Levels getting rather high, the Environment Agency bods had this bright idea of taking the water from the levels up on to the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal to help convey the flood water to a river further on.

So here came the workers with two pumps to do the job. One pumping the water into the canal and the other at the other end pumping it out of the canal and into the river.

Then the Canal & River Trust get involved with the agency, having then to admit that the canal itself is flooded with water pouring over its towpath and closing off a car park by either foot or vehicle!

It seems the pump lifting the water into the canal is of a greater capacity than the one taking it out of the canal at the other end, with the result that all is flooded, until someone, with a bit of nous sorts it all out.

But where will the money go?

I can well understand the excitement of those at the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust at the prospect of all those millions of pounds going towards the restoration of the canal. But just where will the money go, I ask?

What bothers me are the details of the programme, that we are told will see new three substantial off-line nature reserves which will protect the canal's natural heritage as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.

Yes my friends, not one, or even two, but three nature reserves to be constructed.  And these are in addition to those already built along the waterway—four of them—Aston Nature Reserve, Llanymynech Nature Reserve, Wern Claypit Nature Reserve and Red House Nature Reserve.

Montgomery Canal? More like Montgomery Nature Reserve. Seven is ridiculous on what was, and should again be, a waterway  for boats.

There was a comparison with the restoration of the Rochdale Canal and its nature reserve, but on the Rochdale it is of little significance, yet on the Montgomery such reserves are seemingly of absolute importance, and with so many such associations involved can only leave me to wonder if it is these and the other nature/rare plants/species/biodiversity people and what have you, will be taking the bulk of the cash...

Victor Swift