Something Fishy Going on in the Huddersfield Canal
Monday 23rd November 2015 16:09 News Stalybridge Posted by Lee Wild

The Canal and River Trust has started a five month £45m maintenance programme to canals and rivers across the country.

As part of this restoration and repair programme, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal will be undergoing a £200,000 upgrade with new lock gates being installed at locks 10 and 11 in Stalybridge.

The works will also involve rescuing hundreds of fish such as roach, pike, bream and carp which will need to be moved to other parts of the canal before the repairs can start.

In addition to this year’s winter maintenance programme, the Trust is launching a three month survey to uncover ‘what lurks beneath’ the canals in Greater Manchester.

Across the country hundreds of shopping trolleys, traffic cones, car tyres, bottles and plastic bags are hauled out of the canals by the Trust and its volunteers at a cost of nearly £1m each year.

David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Canal and River Trust said: “Our specialist team will be removing the fish by temporarily stunning them with an electrical current which doesn’t harm them.

“We will then catch them in nets before they are transferred to large bins filled with fresh water and then safely emptied back into the canal outside the works area.

“Once the fish are removed we can then get in the 200-year-old empty lock, carry out repairs and install new lock gates, which weigh one and half tonnes.

“This is a major piece of work at the start of our programme to improve our canals and rivers over the winter period.”

Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal and River Trust, said: “We care for a remarkable network of historic waterways which are still working just as they were designed to 200 years ago.

“Keeping them open and safe requires a huge amount of planning, investment and craftsmanship and involves a wide range of experts, from civil engineers and hydrologists to heritage experts and ecologists.

“It’s exciting to announce that this year we will also be surveying everything we discover throughout our winter maintenance period. We want to show that the canals and rivers are havens for wildlife and a place for people to enjoy and we want to call for an end to rubbish being dumped in our waterways.

“We hope that by highlighting what we find, more people will be inspired to get involved to help support their local canal or river navigation.”

The new lock-gates are hand-crafted using traditional methods in the Trust’s specialist workshops at Bradley in the West Midlands and Stanley Ferry in Yorkshire.

A single lock-gate can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of between 25 and 30 years. In order to be watertight they need to be built very precisely, fitting tightly to the masonry of the lock walls and to each other.

To find out more about the Restoration and Repairs programme and the open days happening across the country go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk.

Picture courtesy of David Jones.