THE Canal & River Trust, has recently completed a £250,000 project to dredge part of the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal.
Work focused on areas along the waterways where boaters were having difficulty mooring and navigating. Four locks were cleared of silt and about 150 tons of soil, which was the result of a land slip a few years ago, was removed from the canal near Debdale Wharf.
In total just over 1140 tonnes of silt was removed from the canal from Saddington Tunnel to Cranes Lock, near the village of Kilby.
Using a floating dredger, the silt and debris, which had built up over a number of years, was removed from the waterway and loaded into a floating skip known as a ‘Hopper’. Once dried the silt will be recycled and spread onto agricultural land alongside the canal.
Paul Fox, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “This part of the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) so we had to take care when dredging to avoid disturbing the protected pond weeds growing in the canal and to stay a safe distance from known water vole habitats.
“Where possible we’ve used as much of the sediment as possible to fill in holes and voids along the edge of the towpath. If we didn’t do this work then boaters would become stuck on the mud unable to navigate the canal and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat in pubs nearby. Now completed boaters should notice a difference when they boat through this stretch.”