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£40k to be spent dredging Walsall Canal

Walsall | News | Published:

Walsall Canal is to be dredged in a £40,000 scheme which enthusiasts say will bring the waterway back to life.

Walsall Canal is to be dredged in a £40,000 scheme which enthusiasts say will bring the waterway back to life.

Work to clear the canal bed, which flows through most parts of the borough, will begin within weeks and take two to three months.

It is hoped dredging will encourage more barges to pass through what supporters say is an interesting but neglected stretch of canal which has fallen victim to fly-tippers. A special vessel will be used for the work.

The boat with a large excavator arm, called a dredger, will be used to dig up silt from the canal bed and remove obstructions.

A local contractor will be appointed to carry out the work, which is being funded and organised by British Waterways.

Dean Davies, British Waterways' manager for the West Midlands, said: "Dredging will be carried out on the approach to, and underneath, bridges along the Walsall Canal.

"Hopefully the whole canal will be done, which could take two to three months. There will not be any stoppages in place, just a few delays.

"The benefit of the work being carried out is that clearing the navigation will give easier access for boats."

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The seven-mile Walsall Canal begins in Birchills where it meets the Wyrley and Essington canal. It flows through the heart of Walsall and to Darlaston, Bentley, and on to the Ryders Green.

A recent site visit by British Waterways bosses revealed the canal, parts of which were created in 1785, were in need of dredging.

It is believed full dredging work has not been carried out for at least 10 years, although spot-dredging may have been carried out on parts of it.

Canal enthusiasts today said they hoped the work would help people respect the region's waterways more.

Will Chapman, of charity Waterway Watch, said: "Local waterway enthusiasts are hoping this will encourage more cruising of this interesting but neglected part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations."

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