Victor believes our rivers will get worse

Published: Sunday, 16 January 2022

IT WOULD have been rather impossible to miss the recent outcry at the news from the Environmental Audit Committee of the condition of our rivers.

Of water companies regularly dumping untreated or partially treated sewage in rivers, pollution from agriculture, plastic and a dangerous 'chemical cocktail' entering the waterways.

Our main navigational rivers including he Trent, Ouse, Severn, Soar, River Great Ouse, all badly contaminated, came in for particular concern.

Anyone taking early day boating up the Soar these days can certainly smell it, as all the toilets in Leicester get flushed and the residue ends up where?  Yes, you've guessed!

As to the Trent, our cruise on the Trent & Mersey from near Runcorn on the west coast back to Sawley saw the problem—housing estate after housing estate being constructed with the latter ones below Stoke being a particular problem for the river.

And all boaters who have either moored or passed by Branston Water Park will have noticed the new estate next to the canal and the new 'town' being constructed on the opposite side including a school and even Rugby playing fields next to the waterway in addition to hundreds of homes, together with a new road from the A38. 

So I have to askany new sewage works being constructed to cope?  Can't find any. So where does the sewage end up?


I really believe that the cost for repairing breaches these days needs investigation.

For from just costing a few thousands not so many years ago they have gone into the millions. The one on the Leeds & Liverpool we are now told will cost £1.7 million to repair!

To me, this seems ridiculous our having reported on many breaches and their costs over the last 20 odd years, with nothing like the astronomical costs of today.

Mind you, since those days of old, the work is now being undertaken by contractors, and dragged out for months.

Remember the Aire & Calder breach at £3 millions that took eight months...

A bit of time travelling?

With so many complaints of the mis-wording and mis-information of those stoppage notices I would have thought that with a new year CaRT would have employed someone more capable, but alas, as Steve Bean pointed out, not so, if an early one is to be believed.

It tells that the removal of the pipe bridge over the Trent & Mersey at Eturia will cause navigation and towpath restrictions from Monday 7 February 2022 until Tuesday 11 January 2022!

Still they come

There has been another cancellation of a winter stoppage, that really amounts to that host of winter stoppages proudly announced by CaRT of its 'important' winter work as being a bit of a deception—it now bringing the total to 12 cancelled.

For  a change this will not have any adverse effect on boaters, as the cancellation, as our Keith tells, is of the construction of a new pedestrian cycleway bridge at Lock 3 over the Ashton Canal.

As winter is fast receding, surely there can't be many more left to cancel.

Not better by water

I can well understand that man who drowned in the Lee Navigation having a fear of water, as I have met many, particularly hire boaters, who tell of their fear—after all it is a killer, with Rospa reporting 22 boating deaths in one year and 31 water deaths during the heatwave in July.

That well loved slogan of CaRT of it being 'better by water' is a misnomer, as many people feel far from better by water and in fact the actual research shows that it 'is better' for wellbeing in such as woodland—not by water, of which many fear. Us included—and so showing it great respect.

Do you believe it?

But one more statistic to finish off with—from Ivory Towers of coursewith our being told by Canal & River Trust that between Christmas and the New Year its waterways had 15 million visitors!

So 2,000 miles over six days.  Reckon-up how many per mile every day, and in the middle of winter.  Must think we are idiots.

Victor Swift