A meeting of the APPWG was held on 14th May using the Zoom videoconferencing facility. NABO attended as observers – the norm for such meetings. This well-attended meeting was chaired by the APPWG’s Chairman, Michael Fabricant, and very appropriately focused on the need for dedicated financial support for waterways businesses.

The lead speaker was Paul Rodgers, the National Chairman of the IWA, who emphasised that most waterways businesses are highly seasonal and thus are being hit hard by the lockdown, and, unless urgent funding is provided by Government, many will fail. To this end, the IWA, British Marine, CRT and the Broads Authority are calling for the Government to provide targeted support for the inland waterways sector. They are asking for a specific financial aid package, similar to that recently announced for the fishing industry, to allow the navigation authorities to underwrite licence and mooring fees for waterways businesses this year. NABO totally supports this view and has independently approached the Government, essentially supporting this view.

Mike Rodd and Mark Tizard have a catch-up call with Matthew Symonds, CRT’s Head of Boating, joined by his deputy, Rachel Haywood. The main points to emerge were as follows:

CRT has provided their response to the virus, which for many of us is giving normal life a bit of a rest.

The headline is that the canals remain open for use. Good news.

See their web page here.

For NABO, all representative meetings are being cancelled, but plans are being put in place for video and telephone conferences. The work does not stop.

In January, CRT started work to enhance the resilience of the dam wall and spillway. This will be followed later in the year by improvements to the Todd Brook inlet channel at the head of the reservoir to provide more control over how much water flows into the reservoir, or around it via a bypass channel into the River Goyt. A new footbridge will be built across the brook to create a safe route for people to walk from one side of the valley to the other. To ensure that the dam is secure in any extreme weather events, a temporary wall will be built along the spillway crest, raising it by one metre, and concrete barriers will be installed on the spillway slope to channel any overflowing water into the central undamaged section. These will remain in place until permanent reconstruction of the dam is undertaken. The Trust has commissioned an independent inquiry into what caused the damage to the dam’s auxiliary spillway. It is also assisting with an independent review commissioned by the Government. Both reports are due to be published early in 2020 and will guide the long-term repair of the dam, which is likely to take several years and cost around £10 million. (see www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/restoring-toddbrook-reservoir).