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Category: Canal and River Trust
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Lockage Report

 

CRT has published the annual lockage ranking for 2019 for those locks that are fitted with telemetry. The five most-used locks were in the West Midlands and North West Regions, as was the least-used lock.

 

Ranking

Region

Canal

Site

No lockages

1

West Midlands

North Oxford

Locks 2 & 3 Hillmorton

8362

2

West Midlands

Llangollen

Lock 2, New Marton

7711

3

North West

Shroppie

Lock 4, Cholmondeston

7545

4

West Midlands

Trent & Mersey

Lock 21, Colwich

7188

5

North West

Shroppie

Lock 1, Wardle

6747

156

North West

Shroppie

Lock 1, Graving

127

 

Mark Tizard comments:

If you compare 2017 with 2019 (I’m ignoring 2018 because of the drought and really hot weather affecting many navigations), there has been a dramatic reduction in lock usage. We are told that the growth in boat ownership in recent years has been driven by a marked increase in continuous cruisers with the number of marina-based boats being broadly static. If this is the case, then you would expect year round lock usage to have increased, but instead the drop in lock movements averages just over 10% across the network, which is remarkable. The average drop per region between 2017 to 2019 varies: Wales & the South West is 12.5%; W. Midlands is 12%; London & SE is 11%; E. Midlands and Yorkshire & North East are both 9%; and the North West is 8%. Overall, given the increase in licensed boats over the period this would appear to be a significant change in boaters cruising patterns and worthy of investigation. As the decrease is spread across the regions, it can’t be a specific issue like the Middlewich breach, but a wider downturn in movement. Are boaters being put off by perceived or actual infrastructure failures or has there just been a change in cruising patterns? Perhaps CRT needs to change the boaters’ questionnaire to understand why.