Express & Star

Canals and Rivers Trust "disappointed" to waste resources removing another car stuck in Walsall canal

The Canal and River Trust has expressed its "disappointment" after being forced to divert resources to remove another car from Walsall Canal.

The Vauxhall Zafira on Friday morning

The charity was forced to enlist a specialist recovery service yesterday (Friday) to remove the stricken Vauxhall Xafira from the canal's top lock, Old Birchills.

The car was driven into the canal late Thursday night, the occupants - a man and a dog - escaped before emergency services arrived. The charity had to divert staff to the incident throughout Friday.

A spokesman for the Trust said: "We’re a charity, and it’s disappointing that incidents of this nature divert funds and resources from our important work to keep the nation’s canals safe and available for the communities they run through.

“The canal had been closed as part of the Canal & River Trust’s winter programme of vital repairs to safeguard the historic waterways. Once the car has been removed we are on track to reopen the canal tomorrow for navigation as planned."

“We were alerted that a car had got stuck in a canal lock in Walsall last night, with emergency services attending the scene. Our team has been on site this morning and is working with a recovery service to remove the vehicle.

“We’re helping the police with their enquiries.”

The cost of the car being driven into the canal will also be counted by the resources West Midlands Fire Service had to apply to the job.

A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman said: "The vehicle's front bumper and wheels had submerged in the water. The man and his dog had managed to self-extricate from the car prior to our arrival.

"Two fire engines, a 4x4 Brigade Response Vehicle and a member of our Technical Rescue Unit attended the incident. Our first appliance arrived within two minutes of being mobilised."

Last November another car became wedged in a canal lock near Tipton which the Canal and River Trust had to pay to remove.

The Trust was launched in 2012, taking over the guardianship of British Waterways’ canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks in England and Wales.

The spokesman said: "We care for a 2,000-mile-long, 200-year-old network of canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks because we believe that life is better by water.

"Our story as a charity is rooted in the history of the waterways themselves. Our vision is to have living waterways that transform places and enrich our lives, for today and generations to come.

"We're currently delivering a £1.7 million project to improve natural habitats along our canals in the West Midlands as part of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund."

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