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  1. 10 May 2017


    The Canal & River Trust has published its draft winter maintenance programme for 2017-18 and is asking boaters to take a look and give their feedback on the plans. 

    Throughout 2017-18 the Trust intends to spend £26.9m on dredging and repairs to bridges and embankments.  It will also include a focus on reservoirs, a crucial but often unseen part of the network, with work at 11 sites including Upper Bittell on the Worcester & Birmingham, Upper Foulridge on the Leeds & Liverpool and Hurleston on the Shropshire Union.  Dredging is planned across the network, at sites including the Macclesfield, Chesterfield, Lancaster and Grand Union amongst others, with a fund set aside for spot dredging. 

    The charity also plans to spend £17.4m on other works including replacing 180 lock gates, up from 166 last year.  The West Midlands, South East and Manchester & Pennine regions are seeing the greatest number of new lock gates, with 42, 36 and 30 lock leaves across their waterways.

    Matthew Symonds, boating strategy and engagement manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Each winter the Trust concentrates effort on essential repairs and maintenance to the canals while the waterways are quieter.  Work can close the waterway and occasionally the towpath so before we finalise our closure plans we want to consult boaters to make sure as little disruption as possible is caused.”

    Boaters can find the programme on the Trust’s website:  Stoppages can be viewed in three different ways: download a PDF of all stoppages; download maps of different regions; or use the search option to search by canal, region or date.  Boaters will be able to submit comments on individual stoppages via the search function. 

    Comments are welcome until Friday 16 June and will then be reviewed by the Trust before publishing a revised plan.  Boaters will then have a further chance to comment before the finalised plans are published at the end of the summer. 

    Matthew continues:  “I know at this time of year the last thing boaters will want to think about is winter, however we have a really full programme of repairs and maintenance planned so feedback on the programme is both welcome and helpful.”


    For further media requests please contact:

    Fran Read, national press officer, Canal & River Trust

    07796 610 427    

  2. 5 May 2017

    Boat numbers in London continue to rise

    The Canal & River Trust’s annual national boat count shows that licence evasion on its waterways has reduced by 0.7% overall in the past year to 3.7%, with 96.3% of boats holding up-to-date licences. This is the eighth year the rate has stayed below 5%.

    The survey, completed in March, identifies boats on waterways across England & Wales and provides a comprehensive snap-shot of licence evasion. The information is used to support the day-to-day work carried out by the Trust.

    Jon Horsfall, interim head of boating at Canal & River Trust, said: “Boaters’ licence fees contribute in helping us to carry out the huge task of keeping our canals and rivers open. It’s important that everyone plays their part and we are delighted that the evasion rate has reduced again this year. Our boat licence customer support team has done a fantastic job working with boaters to make sure they are licensed correctly.

    “Unfortunately, a small minority continue to enjoy the benefits of boating on the waterways without putting anything back to fund their upkeep. In 2016/17 we had to remove 101 boats from our canals and rivers as they were unlicensed or in breach of our terms and conditions. There’s also an important safety aspect: if a boat isn’t licensed we can’t know that it’s safe, which could be a risk for both the boat owner and other boaters.”

    The national boat count also paints a picture of the changing numbers of boats across the country. The Trust’s waterways in London have seen an increase of 339 boats – an increase of over 9% – with numbers in the central East, the South West and the South East regions also rising. Boat numbers in the North, North Wales and Midlands have seen a slight drop.

    Jon continued: “The popularity of the boating lifestyle in London remains high. Congestion aside it also puts a lot of pressure on the Capital’s 200-year old waterways: the facilities are seeing more use than ever before. It’s a challenge to meet the demands of this soaring growth but we are working with boaters, other stakeholders and canal users to develop a strategy that will help identify ways to address some of the challenges that it presents. We want the Capital’s waterways to work for all the boaters who know and love them.”


    For further media requests please contact:
    Fran Read, national press officer, Canal & River Trust
    m 07796 610 427 e

    Please find attached a release which includes notes to editors.

    Fran Read
    National Press Officer

    M 07796 610 427
    Canal & River Trust, Toll House, Delamere Terrace, London, W2 6ND
    Twitter: @CRTComms