Thursday, 11 October 2012

CRT? At least they're humans

Two recent Waterscape alerts show signs that the Canal and River Trust have real human beings on their staff. Yes, they're mostly the same staff as worked for BW, but perhaps there's a new ethos. A more human feel.

On 8th October 2012 I received this alert concerning the Grand Union Canal (South). (There were others in similar vein relating to the northern GU and the Oxford Canal.)

GUS Hedge cutting South East Waterway

Monday 8 October 2012 - Friday 1 March 2013
We have commenced the annual hedge cutting round, starting on the 1st October running until 1st March. Please be aware this work will result in thorns on towpaths. The specification includes the clearing of cut thorns from the tow path following a cut of the previous year’s growth, our contractors will blow/sweep/rake/clear the thorns off the path, however there will be areas where some thorns remain on the towpath or blow from the hedge onto the towpath following windy conditions. If you are planning a cycling trip please follow link for helpful tips. If you have a pet be mindful of tender paws picking up thorns on the path and under the hedgerows following this work.

Enquiries: 03030404040

This is the first time I've been aware of my attention being drawn to the hedge cutting. Yes, I know that thorns will land on the towpath and that they will lead to punctures. I have had to repair my inner tubes countless times in the past. But it feels good to be warned of the raised probability of punctures, and of the hazard to pets.

The next day an even friendlier alert arrived. This concerned the breach on the Trent and Mersey and the stranded boats.

9th October 2012 - Trent and Mersey Canal:
Between Middlewich Big Lock 75 and Lodge Lane, Bridge 213 Preston Brook

Tuesday 25 September 2012 until further notice
UPDATE (09 October 2012): Trent & Mersey Canal – Update 9th October 2012.
Engineering work at both of the affected sites has made good progress in the last week. At Croxton, our contractor has completed a temporary access road and constructed a temporary dam close to the damaged embankment. This has allowed us to start reducing the water levels in the affected area. Tree clearance has been completed and we are now able complete the design for the site repairs. At Dutton, our geotechnical team have completed a review of the site and ground investigation will be undertaken shortly to assist the design of the repairs there. Our outline programme for completing the repairs at Croxton remains Christmas. The programme for Dutton is more vague but a spring completion is a realistic target. We expect to be able to provide more detail on this in the coming week. The canal and towpath will remain closed at both sites until repairs are completed.
In the week we have also been able to establish an independent water supply to the isolated section between bridges 179 and 210. This has been essential to ensure that this section of the canal remains navigable. This week we will be able to re-water the canal section up to bridge 211 and re-float the boats caught there. This will re-water the winding hole here too making for improved access along the canal.
We have now been contacted by 20 boat owners expressing the desire to move away from the area using the Manchester Ship Canal route. We will be contacting these to discuss arrangements for, surveys, equipment, costs and other essential matters for this; and would expect that this can be resolved within the next 2 weeks. Our target is to ensure that people wishing to leave the area are able to do so with sufficient time not to be caught in stoppages remote from the area. If people wish to make their own arrangements to use the Weaver and Ship Canal in advance of this, of course they are able to do so.
If you are considering using this route or are affected by the situation and have not already contacted us, we would encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Please phone our Red Bull offices on 01782 785 703.
Finally, we are hugely indebted to all the people who have donated to the breach appeal which, at the time of writing, stands at £11,000. This includes an enormously generous donation of £1000 from the Trent and Mersey Canal Society, and Birkenhead YMCA donating £250 following sponsored car washing and other activities. Thanks.

This shows a real concern for the boaters caught up in this mini-disaster. And the last paragraph is heartwarming. Well done Birkenhead YMCA! And well done CRT.

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