Following a number of postings on ChatBox about the canal dredging which is taking place near Adderley locks, Audlem OnLine contacted British Waterways (BW) to check what was happening, whether it would affect canal users and when it would all be over.
BW’s “Waterscape” website explains that the work involves some slight restrictions but no closures at all. Their site states that:
“The works are to bring the canal up to Minimum Open Channel Compliance and dredge moorings. Boaters should approach the dredger with caution and await a signal from the dredger driver or banksmen to pass. Users may be delayed up to 30mins max. Users should note, restrictions to the towpath are only in force while offloading takes place but in most cases no delays will occur.”
The BW site also explains the benefits of dredging: “Dredging our waterways is a constant and essential element of our work. We need to dredge in order to remove increasing amounts of sediment which comes to lie and build up on the bottom of the canal. If the sediment builds up too much, it can lead to difficulties for boats cruising.”
When contacted, the project manager confirmed that the work should all be completed by 22 February 2012 at the latest, and that by then some bank protection work would have been carried out between bridge numbers 74 and 75 (at Cox Bank). The reinstatement of the bank would create a perfect habitat for invertebrates and encourage the growth of flora and fauna in an environmentally friendly way.
He also explained that the silt extracted from the canal by the dredgers has been tested by Severn Trent's labs and found to be very rich in nutrients. This means that after sieving it is being spread across the nearby agricultural land – so everyone gains. BW don’t have to pay for the costs of transporting the silt to landfill sites and the local farmers benefit from having the rich nutrients spread on their fields for them to plough in.
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