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Whaley Bridge reservoir draining almost completed

The emergency draining of Toddbrook Reservoir was close to completion on Tuesday, easing fears that it might collapse and cause catastrophic damage to Whaley Bridge and other local areas.

The near-disaster has caused the evacuation of a quarter of the town's 6,500 inhabitants and the closure of the Upper Peak Forest Canal from Bridge 26 to Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin.

The Canal & River Trust closed the Upper Peak Forest Canal with stop planks at Dryhurst Bridge (No.26) near Disley. This was intended to avoid potential flooding or risk of breaching further down the canal, should the worst happen.

Over 530 tonnes of aggregate has been dropped in bags by helicopter to reinforce the damaged spillway and prevent further collapse.

In an initial response on the first day of the emergency, Canal & River Trust chief executive Richard Parry said a detailed inspection was last carried out in November 2018, when it was found to be "absolutely fine".

He added that the failure had not been caused by underfunding: “We aren’t short of money to spend on reservoirs... we’re urgently anxious to understand what has happened in this case.”

The new prime minister, Boris Johnson, immediately promised that the reservoir will be repaired or rebuilt. However, since it is the responsibility of the Canal & River Trust, and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, who funds this will be up for debate, and Mr Parry's words might well come back to haunt him.

Tuesday 6 August  | Andrew Denny  | 2.09pm, Tuesday 6 August 2019

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