Saving the St Helen's Canal

Published: Monday, 15 January 2024

THE closure  of Fiddler's Ferry Power Station has allowed salt water from the Mersey into St Helens Canal.

This is through a disused outlet of used cooling water that is now allowing the river water ingress to the old site on high tides and into the canal, Keith Gudgin reports.

a sankey spike islandAffecting wildlife

This in turn is affecting the fresh water fish and mammals in the waterway and could eventually kill them. 

But various volunteers have joined together to form the Save Spike Island and Widnes Canal Restoration Group, with the view to saving the St Helens Canal that was formerly known as the Sankey Canal.

Its first work was to build clay dams around the ingress of the salt water at high tides of the Mersey to stop any salt water reaching the canal, that has proven successful.

This can be accomplished at the moment as the power station is closed and will be demolished so the cooling system is out of action.

Leaks discovered

However, leaks in the canal have been discovered at its northern end that could have eventually drained the waterway, but Halton Borough Council contractors are to clear the vegetation that is covering the leaks and plug them, so that the waterway will be secure.

There are also plans to pump fresh water, when needed, into that northern section.