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Thursday 1 March

Historic Wolverhampton canalside firm destroyed by fire

A huge fire engulfed the 115-year-old Carvers building merchant site on 29th February, destroying the building and causing the Wolverhampton lock flight to be closed.

The building itself was constructed on the site of a historic interchange basin known as Victoria Basin. The canal at one time went inside the building but the arm and basin have been filled in for many years.

At its height West Midlands Fire Service had 90 firefighters at the scene tackling the blaze and trying to prevent it spreading. Much use was made of the

The lock flight was immediately closed, and BW said it would not reopen until Monday 5th March, by which time the potential pollution levels could be more accurately assessed and protected against.


Andrew Denny  | 12.34pm | add a comment


Wednesday 29 February

BW trials new type of stop plank

BW has been testing a new type of lightweight aluminium stop-plank for emergency use in canal breaches. 

The planks were first tried out during an emergency lock stoppage in London late last year, when an engineer happened to have them in his van, and BW said this first use was a great success.  A new test was taking place today (29th February) at Aston Lock, on the eastern end of the Trent & Mersey near Shardlow. 

“Quite often, stop gates aren’t where we would like them to be or are silted up, so these new aluminium stop planks are being considered as an alternative”, said Stephen Hardy of British Waterways. 

“The planks are telescopic, to allow them to fit just about anywhere, and can fit a gap of between 3m and 6m. When the engineer arrives on site, he doesn’t have to rely on stop planks already being there – he simply measures the width of the stop grooves, adjusts the planks accordingly and slots them in place.” 

The new stop planks are said to be much easier to handle than wood, faster to install, and because they are telescopic they don’t have to be cut specifically to size. In addition, unlike dedicated wood stop planks, they don’t have to be stored on site, so will not be subject to vandalism. They were designed by BW in conjunction with Sapa Profiles, a specialist in extruded aluminium products. 


Andrew Denny  | 12.26pm | 1 comment


Today's news from the web

  • River Thames oil slick: Berkshire charity saves 68 swans bbc.co.uk

    Berkshire charity Swan Lifeline has been involved in cleaning 68 swans after oil leaked into the River Thames between Eton Bridge and the leisure centre in Windsor on Monday. The stretch of the river was sealed off so the Environment Agency could clean it up....

  • Giant Olympic rings launched on the Thames bbc.co.uk

    Giant Olympic rings have been launched on to the River Thames to mark 150 days until the start of the London Games. The rings are travelling on a barge passing key landmarks including Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. The journey started at London Bridge instead of Battersea Bridge as planned due to "tidal flows". Mayor Boris Johnson has announced free events for every borough during the Games. The events will include a floating opera inspired by The Owl And The Pussycat to be staged on the city's canals and devised by Monty Python star Terry Jones....


Tuesday 28 February

Today's news from the web


Monday 27 February

Today's news from the web

  • Shepperton Lock voted favourite lock in EA's 2011 Thames Waterways Awards. environment-agency.gov.uk

    Shepperton Lock has scooped top place for the ‘Best Lock’ on the River Thames, after hundreds of people voted in the Environment Agency’s 2011 Thames Waterways Awards. Steve Newman, lock keeper at Shepperton Lock, said “A big thank you for all of my customers that have voted for Shepperton Lock this year. It’s a lot of hard work for myself and the team but its always worth it just for the lovely remarks we receive....

  • RYA advice on HMRC red diesel announcement rya.org.uk

    Rya advice to boaters following the announcement by HMRC on 21 February 2012. The Ministerial statement indicated that, from 1 April 2012, the use of marked 'red' diesel to propel private pleasure craft will be allowed only within UK territorial waters. ...


Saturday 25 February

Today's news from the web

  • Environment Agency says this week SE England moved officially into drought status environment-agency.gov.uk

    On Monday 20 February, the Environment Secretary announced that the South East of England has officially moved into drought status. This is due to the combination of persistent dry weather and the continuing decline in groundwater levels and river flows and increasing the risk to public water supplies, agriculture and the environment. As a result Hampshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent, Surrey, London, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, and the east of Gloucestershire are now in drought....

  • Civil Service Live interviews Robin Evans network.civilservicelive.com

    British Waterways chief Robin Evans has spent years campaigning for the public corporation to become a charitable trust. He tells Matt Ross why our canals are set to thrive outside the illusory security of government ownership If an organisation is riddled with huge, pressing and intractable problems, says Robin Evans, then it’s probably best off in the public sector. “Government’s great in a crisis,” he remarks. “It’s got unlimited resource.” But when a public body is running relatively smoothly, he believes, it can lose out to its more troubled peers: “If you’re not in a crisis you get starved, because the money goes to the crises – and government has 55,000 crises every day.”...


Friday 17 February

Today's news from the web

  • Women's Boat Race set for men's course from 2015 bbc.co.uk

    The Women's Boat Race is to be staged on the same course and day as the men's competition from 2015. The women's event has been held on the River Thames at Henley since 1927. But from 2015 it will take place on the men's 4¼-mile course between Putney and Mortlake on the Thames. Both events will be held on the same day, with the women's competition taking place before the men's. Organisers believe the move would send a message about equality in sport. ...

  • Last traditional Thames weir to be removed oxfordmail.co.uk

    Officials from the Environment Agency have insisted health and safety issues mean they must update the last remaining traditional 'paddle & rymer' weir on the Thames, after an MP stepped into the row. Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood wrote to the Health & Safety Executive for clarification on whether Northmoor Weir, near Eaton – one of the last of its type on the River Thames – had to be replaced on safety grounds. But an HSE spokesman said: “It’s not within HSE’s regulatory remit to make decisions on replacing this weir.” ...

  • Comedian Dave Spikey gives voice to canal safety yorkshirepost.co.uk

    Comedian Dave Spikey has created a comic commentary for boaters on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The Lancashire-born actor provided the voiceover and script for Skipton-based Pennine Boat Trips after being approached by proprietor Nick Osborn. Mr Osborn recognised that some customers switched off during on-board safety commentaries and he wanted to keep their interest with a comic but educational script. “We believe this could be the first canal tour in the UK to have some humour included in the commentary. ...


Thursday 16 February

Today's news from the web

  • Police cordon off Middlewich canal after report of 'grenade' floating in the water crewechronicle.co.uk

    Residents in Booth Lane, Middlewich, were ordered to stay in their homes by police at the weekend after reports of an explosive grenade floating in the canal. At about 3.30pm on Saturday, Cheshire police responded to a call from a member of the public – who had been walking along the canal path – who reporting seeing a metal object floating on top of ice on the canal. The object was later found to be a fake. ...

  • '£1m repair bill' for Manchester Ship Canal blue cranes at Salford bbc.co.uk

    The familiar blue Manchester Ship Canal cranes at Salford Docks could be scrapped because they are badly damaged and may cost up to £1m to repair. The two cranes tower above the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays. Salford City Council said they were "symbols of the city's industrial heritage" but money may be better spent on a different monument. Council leader Derek Antrobus said: "The problem is [retaining them] them could cost up to £1m. "In the current era of austerity is it worth spending a £1m on maintaining them as they are or can that money be better spent commemorating the heritage of the docks in a different way?" ...

  • Work begins to improve Bedford lock bedfordshire-news.co.uk

    An Environment Agency lock in Bedfordshire is being refurbished as part of an ongoing project to improve safety and reliability at the lock gates on the River Great Ouse The work, which began on Monday will cost £110,000 with the Bedford Lock guillotine gate being refurbished and improvements made such as replacement drive systems, actuator, gearbox, chain sprockets, bearings and shafts. The lock will be electrified, one of the last locks on the Great Ouse system to be motorised. The new control systems will include a pedestal-type design navigation control panel with countdown timers and safety delay feature....

  • Giant 'crayon' mooring posts bring splash of colour to Olympic Park thesportreview.com

    Giant crayon sculptures are adding a splash of colour to London’s gleaming new Olympic Park. The installation, the brainchild of Hackney-based artist Keith Wilson, comprises of a long line of 35 brightly coloured pillars rising directly from the tidal waters, made from the same durable material as navigational buoys. The artwork, part of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Art in the Park scheme, will also serve a dual function after the Games, as mooring posts fastened to pontoons for boats along the waterway. “These sculptures stand ready to serve old functions in a new way. They connect the parkland with the river, the canal and by extension the wider world,” said Wilson....

  • The UK's first amphibious house to be built on the banks of the Thames wired.co.uk

    The UK's first amphibious house is to be built on the banks of the River Thames. Work will start on-site later this year for the 225 sqm home, which is set just 10m from the edge of the River Thames in Buckinghamshire. It will be built on fixed foundations but if the site floods, the house is designed to rise up and float....

  • Northwich's river festival will mark a big year for the nation northwichguardian.co.uk

    Northwich’s riverside will come to life with visiting boats and non-stop activity during the River Weaver Festival of June 22 to 24. But an appeal has gone out to residents to welcome the event with gusto and join in the fun. John Hulme, festival spokesman, said: “On Sunday, June 3, most of the nation will be watching thousands of boats on the River Thames as Her Majesty The Queen leads the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. “Northwich’s greatest asset is its river and waterfront so later in the month the Northwich River Festival will be a major part of Northwich’s celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee year....

  • Work accelerates on Huddersfield waterfront canal project yorkshirepost.co.uk

    New lock gates are being put in place at The Waterfront in Huddersfield as part of works on a new lock. Work is currently taking place on the project which is part of the major Waterfront Quarter regeneration scheme, set to breathe new life into the area. The gates are for a new lock which is being built on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, at Chapel Hill, which will form part of works to lift water in the canal which previously ran in a tunnel beneath Sellers Engineers Ltd. ...


Wednesday 15 February

Today's news from the web

  • A canal boat holiday in Burgundy telegraph.co.uk

    There are three things you need to know about canal boats before taking an inland boating holiday. They are slow, they are cramped and, in reverse gear, they are out of control. It’s like steering rhinos. If you can live with such considerations and, crucially, are sufficiently mob-handed (three adults, minimum, to cope with the locks), then the holiday will fall into place. You will have a lovely time. We did, mostly....


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