CRT Flood Appeal Update21 February 2014
Canal & River Trust (CRT) continues to appeal for donations to aid repair works to its network as more damage comes to light.
Thankfully, large parts of the waterway network in the North and the Midlands, escaped the worst of the weather undamaged and remained open through the course of the winter storms. Additionally, many other parts of the network that were affected continue to be re-opened as quickly as possible, with most fallen tress and debris already removed. It is important that waterside businesses in all areas continue to receive the support of their customers. Many businesses never closed and those that did have quickly solved any problems and have reopened. Continue to show support and visit waterway businesses over the coming weeks, if you are concerned that flooding may have affected services, ring in advance to check the situation.
Despite this more positive outlook for many of the waterways, there are still areas that are of concern for CRT. Wales has been badly affected with CRT aware of two major incidents.
The Brecon & Abergavenny Canal is closed between Govilon and Llanfoist as a 125-metre section of the embankment near Tod's Bridge has slipped down the hillside. Movement was first noticed after Christmas and the section of canal drained, however, rising ground water and heavy rain have saturated the embankment and caused an increase in the weight of the land and further movement. Emergency repairs are already underway and CRT engineers hope to begin work to pin the embankment back in place on Monday 24th February. Engineers plan to insert 500 10-metre metal pins at an estimated cost of £1 million. The section of canal is expected to be closed for at least nine weeks, a clearer idea of the date when the canal will be reopened should be known by the end of March. The canal north of Govilon and south of Llanfoist will remain open whilst the canal is repaired. The towpath is also closed but a diversion has been put in place so walkers and cyclists can continue to visit the area. CRT has said it will meet with local businesses to discuss ways in which the impact of the closure can be lessened.
The Llangollen Canal is currently closed as part of the embankment has been damaged, with a serious embankment leak at Hampton. Emergency repair works have already begun as there is a serious risk of an embankment breach and disruption of the water supply to the local area. Engineers hope to have the canal reopened by the start of April.
Elsewhere on the CRT network:
- On the River Severn, the water is still very high with record levels seen at Worcester. The river locks here have been fully submerged for several weeks and this has caused damage to the electrical and mechanical workings of the lock gates. No repairs can begin until the water has receded. The locks are also submerged at Diglis, as is the riverside; the river lock here is the biggest on the CRT network.
- On the Kennet & Avon Canal, many of the locks between Reading and Newbury are submerged or overflowing and there is considerable damage to the towpath in many places. There are also strong flows on the river Kennet and other stoppages further west.
- The Gloucestershire & Sharpness Canal is currently closed after a boat was swept from its mooring and sunk under Hempstead Bridge on 16th February. The salvage operation is due to commence on Tuesday 25th February.
- The Droitwich Barge Canalis fully submerged at its junction with the River Severn.
- An embankment on the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal is being eroded by wave action from adjoining floodwaters.
- Bridges and sections of the towpath on the Oxford Canal have been damaged by floodwaters.
With costs for repairs to the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal alone estimated at £1 million, CRT’s funds are stretched. To donate to the CRT National Flood Appeal, visit the website.
CRT says it will release information next week for volunteers interested in helping with the clean-up.
Photo by Canal & River Trust