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Counting the cost of graffiti on waterways

PUBLISHED: 15:05 02 January 2018

Graffiti is costing tens of thousands to remove (photo: Thinkstock)

Graffiti is costing tens of thousands to remove (photo: Thinkstock)

© Getty Images

Graffiti attacks on historic waterway structures represent 50 percent of all vandalism incidents - and cost a lot to remove!

Graffiti attacks on historic waterway structures represent 50 percent of all vandalism incidents, which in turn constitutes 47 percent of the 860 cases of damage to heritage assets over the past year (a 10 percent rise). Just removing the most offensive graffiti is costing £38,000 per year – shifting the whole lot might add up to £1m.

These are some of the more depressing findings of the Canal & River Trust’s annual Heritage Report, which also reported 99 incidents of bridges damaged by road vehicle strikes, and more than double that number of cases of boat impacts damaging structures. National Heritage Manager Nigel Crowe called it “depressing that we have to spend so much time clearing up after vandals who spray their marks over our heritage. Areas that are covered in anti-social graffiti can feel intimidating as well as being an eyesore so we take action where we can, and always when it’s racist or obscene.”

On a brighter note, the number of canal structures on the national ‘heritage at risk’ list fell from 25 to 22 following conservation work, and the proportion of historic structures in at least ‘fair’ condition remained steady at 85 percent. The Trust’s heritage team’s activities included

• Continuing the Oxford Canal liftbridge restoration programme

• Refurbishing and letting canalside houses

• Archaeological investigations including historic pumping systems on the Wendover and Regents

• Partnering Birmingham City University on two-day canal conservation course module

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