93 reservoirs needing attention

Published: Wednesday, 26 April 2023

IT WILL not be a surprise to narrowboatworld readers that some English reservoirs have been awaiting vital repairs for eight years, writes Roger Fox.

The Environment Agency has been forced to make this information public by the Information Commissioner’s Office in spite of having claimed in the past that disclosure might be a national security threat.

Freedom of Information requests

FOI requests have revealed that the EA has numerous examples of where it has let works ordered by engineers to go undone for years.

ToddbrookDrainedThe lack of maintenance was brought to public attention in 2019 by the partial collapse of the Toddbrook Reservoir at Whaley Bridge on the Peak Forest Canal, (pictured) and it has taken journalists until now to obtain even limited information about the true state of repair about the reservoir estate generally.

The EA released a statement:

"We take the regulation of reservoirs very seriously and follow a risk-based approach to enforcement in line with the Regulators’ Code working with reservoir operators and engineers to ensure action is taken when concerns are identified. We are working closely with DEFRA to reform the safety of our reservoirs in line with recommendations following the Toddbrook reservoir incident.”

Five months to get replies

This was brought to light by The Times newspaper who took five months to get replies to FOI requests. They have revealed that 93 dams have repair work two years overdue and two, in Warwickshire and Derbyshire, are eight years late.

Apart from the Toddbrook reservoir none is identified as being under the ownership of CaRT, but it is a fair guess that they may well own one or more of the 93 waiting for attention.