C&RT launches flooding appeal
PUBLISHED: 16:18 19 February 2014 | UPDATED: 16:18 19 February 2014
The Canal and River Trust has launched a fundraising campaign to help to repair damage sustained by the nation's waterways following the recent extreme weather.
Hundreds of trees have fallen down across the network, sluices need to be cleared of debris and there is damage to bridges, embankments, towpaths and banks.
In Somerset, the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal has been playing a significant role in efforts to relieve the flooded Somerset plains, but is now itself in flood and sections of towpath have been damaged. In Gloucestershire, the tidal Severn has scoured the embankment of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal; the last line of defence for a large swathe of land.
Meanwhile 200 year-old canal bridges on the Oxford Canal have suffered damage and towpath surfaces have washed away. Significant repairs will also need to be made to areas around the Kennet & Avon and Grand Union Canals.
In Wales, the heavy rain has caused serious damage to two much-loved canals. Last week engineers were on site assessing the impact to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the Llangollen Canal where embankments had slipped and needed to be urgently stabilised.
In a statement online Vince Moran, Canal & River Trust operations director, said: “I am hugely grateful to our staff, contractors and volunteers who have been braving the elements and working around the clock, clearing fallen trees and debris, keeping water moving away from the worst affected areas and making repairs wherever possible. Our resources are stretched and the situation continues to deteriorate day by day.
“The full extent of the damage cannot yet be assessed. However, when waters recede we expect to see major damage to towpaths, locks and other canal heritage structures and features, which will affect millions of people and cost millions to repair.
“We are appealing for your help now to enable us to respond to this unprecedented crisis. Your support will help us fund the immediate and longer-term repairs that will be necessary to bring our towpaths and waterways back into use as quickly as possible. Every penny you give will be spent directly and entirely on repairing and protecting flood affected waterways.”
For more information on how to donate, click here.