Closing the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal

Published: Friday, 03 March 2023

I HAVE just read your piece on the proposal for the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal. It amazes me, writes Martin Turner.

The story of closures on the canal has gone on for years. Many years ago CRT suggested that on a temporary basis the canal would be closed on a Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the winter period. It would be for three years only. Well that was a joke they still do it! Now it's permanent.

Now closed after 6pm

In summer the canal has always been open till 7pm now they propose it closes at 6pm. No doubt on the excuse few boaters use it after 6pm.

To close a canal in summer on a permanent basis throughout the period is frankly unacceptable. It is a beautiful canal. One of the pleasures is to cruise on a summers day or evening stay overnight somewhere and return next day. Now they are telling us on which days we can cruise.

Then we come to the issue of dredging. In November last year all moorings in Gloucester Docks were closed due to there being no water depth due to silt build up. They claim that due to the drought last year more silt than usual was pumped in. This is partly true but not really as the silt issue in the docks has ways been a problem, dredging being a permanent need. An original dredger is moored at the Museum.

Inadequate depth

For many years the problem has existed of inadequate depth. At tall ships events. Ships have gone aground. Access to the shipyard has to be dredged every few months. Three years ago it was so bad at the moorings that a local business owner planted a Christmas tree in the mud as the bottom was now coming out of the top.

This has happened again this year with boats having to be pulled off the mud not only in the docks but along the canal. All this in what is meant to be a 16ft deep Dock and canal! Dredging has been going on this year for months but stopped now, I believe to environmental issues. The moorings are still silted up. The bottom is near the top and the main pontoon and other moorings still closed. Why should we pay a licence?