A fascinating insight into Britain’s canals

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This winter, a Team Van Oord partner and the Canal & River Trust will open up a dozen projects for members of the public to meet canal engineers and walk through the bottom of lock chambers.

The initiative is part of a five-month, £50m restoration programme of canals and rivers across the country which will, in part, be carried out by Team Van Oord partner May Gurney. The programme of essential maintenance will include the replacement of worn-out lock gates, brick work repairs, relining of channels and repair of aqueducts, reservoirs and other important structures.

Vince Moran, the Canal & River Trust’s operations director, said: “The Canal & River Trust cares 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.

“Many of these projects provide a fascinating insight into how our canals were built and how we care for them, and this year we have picked out 12 of the best projects which members of the public can visit free.

“We hope that by showcasing the repair works we can give people a chance to see the scale of the work we do to ensure that the waterways, which are at the heart of many communities, are preserved for today’s visitors and future generations.”

Eddie Quinn, May Gurney’s framework manager for the Canal & River Trust, added: “We are incredibly proud to play our part in the Trust’s essential work to preserve the canals and rivers of England and Wales.

“Few people realise that many canal locks, buildings and structures are listed monuments and that the waterway network is one of the finest living references to Britain’s industrial revolution.

“Repairing and maintaining these waterways is a painstaking task, which requires traditional materials and methods to be used to preserve this vital part of our heritage.

“However, they’ve become more than just a historical monument; they’re now widely recognised for being crucial for wildlife and are a well-loved leisure resource for millions of people every year.”

22 November 2012