Maintenance policy is not working

Published: Thursday, 27 December 2018

IT is the end of the year, one that has clearly shown that the Canal & River Trust's maintenance policy is not working, writes Tom Crossley.

This year has obviously been the worst year on record, for not only stoppages but complete closures of entire waterways, with hundreds of boats and no few hire company craft left stranded with absolutely no recourse and little hope of any improvement if this winter's scheduled maintenance is anything to go by.

It will be worse

Should there be anything like a decent summer next year it will be worse as regular maintenance is seemingly no longer part of Canal & River Trust's plan, it now clearly being a 'wait until it breaks' policy.

In the past I received and saved the original paper winter stoppage notices going back over 20 years, and there is no comparison of the amount of work undertaken in the past as to what is undertaken this winter, for it is only a fraction, even though many more miles of waterway, yet the infrastructure is in such an obvious terrible condition it certainly needs a great deal of maintenance.

Spent on other schemes

But there is no money for such needed maintenance, as it is spent on other schemes, that have no bearing on boating or the upkeep of the waterways whatsoever, and so the infrastructure will further deteriorate.

So the future for boating looks grim, especially if there are more summers with little rain—as summers are expected to beand the unattended leaks once again close all the major northern canals, with by then more of the others too, and boating becomes even more restricted.

Hardly make people 'healthy and happy'

Locks and pounds dry out and so fail as they are certainly doing at present, with more resulting closures, the result that boating, instead of being a pleasure becomes a chore, resulting in an exodus and thus failing income. Then, being either on or by the water will hardly make people 'healthy and happy' and the much promoted 'wellbeing' will become a thing  of the past.