Undoubtedly, the terminology used throughout the period of the Trust’s campaign, has been subject to mis-use and mis-understanding. Sometimes intentionally by opponents, and even by boaters! For example:
‘Power boats’ were mentioned as being undesirable by the opponents. However, it is only ‘power boats’ (which technically are speed boats, air-screw driven boats and high power cruisers) that can navigate the upper Severn safely at the present time – they would not be allowed on the river, as at other navigations, if there was to be a navigation authority controlling navigation works. (cruisers and narrow boats on the inland waterways are referred to as ‘powered craft’ – NOT ‘power boats’).
‘Impoundment’ has been used to describe a reach in a river raised by a weir or dam – often implying the building of giant reservoirs; but if applied to the application of a variable weir for maintaining a ‘normal’ water level, is a benign description of function.
‘Canalisation’ is sometimes used to describe the proposals – not realising that no embanking works are required. It is perhaps an embarrassment that the lower river HAS been canalised a little bit – in that there was a length of the river below Upton which was straightened and dredged to alleviate flooding, between the Wars. Also the locks are not particularly friendly to smaller craft, being built for commercial barges and not developed with any improvements such as found on the Thames. The entire Worcestershire and Shropshire length however, follows the natural river course. There is the opportunity to emphasise the conservation opportunities by supporting the Shropshire Wildlife Trust in their proposals to remove parts of the high embanking in that county built to protect agricultural land from flooding – i.e. ‘de-canalising’ which would reduce depth of flooding elsewhere. The planting of woodland and forests should also be encouraged for the same reasons.