UK: Cotswold Canal Dredging Kicks Off

Cotswold Canal Dredging Kicks Off

Work to dredge a 300m length of the Cotswold Canals near Stroud town center started yesterday (Monday), Stroud District Council has announced.

The work, costing £110,000, is being carried out by Land & Water Services. It involves dredging 4500 tonnes of material from the canal between Lodgemore Bridge and Wallbridge Lower Lock. Most of the material will be deposited on the bank of the canal, avoiding the need to dispose of it and the environmental impact of several hundred lorry journeys.

Making its UK debut will be a massive 15 tonne amphibious tracked excavator, costing £250,000 and made in the Netherlands.

Environmental considerations are an important part of the operation. Before the dredging starts, several hundred fish have been rescued and relocated back into the canal downstream below Dudbridge. The site was checked for wildlife and a management scheme introduced to deal with invasive plants on the site, such as Himalayan Balsam.

A curtain has been suspended across the canal to prevent silt washing downstream. Trees have been cut back and the heavier timber left alongside the canal to gradually rot down and create wildlife habitat.

Meanwhile, Alun Griffiths Ltd is making excellent progress nearby. It has a £390,000 contract to widen 120m of the Thames & Severn canal above Wallbridge Lower Lock. The contract includes construction of a bypass channel to carry the flow of Slad Brook around the lock. The channel’s design allows fish and eels to easily migrate upstream – which they cannot do at present.

The two contracts have been made possible by a generous £100,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust. The overall canal restoration project is mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stroud District Council

Cllr Simon Pickering, the Chair of Stroud District Council’s Environment Committee, said: “This work will transform the canal here. Up to now, it’s been completely overgrown with no water in sight. It will soon become another pleasant place to be and a much better wildlife habitat. We are grateful to landowners for allowing us access and we are particularly grateful to the Veolia Environmental Trust, whose grant enabled us to go ahead with this work.

The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, Paul Taylor, added: “It is great to hear that this work is starting and I look forward to seeing the restoration of the canal take shape.”

Unfortunately, the towpath past the site has had to be closed for safety reasons. It is expected to reopen in early October.


Press Release, August 19, 2014