Bray Lock by Janet Richardson, editor, towpath talk

Environment Agency Unveils Bumper £9.5 Million Thames Navigation Investment Programme

…with Locks, Docks and Three New Fish Channels

The Environment Agency has released its 2021-22 list of navigation improvements to the Thames and with a total budget of £9.5 million, it’s the largest investment programme in a decade.

Bray Lock by Janet Richardson, editor, towpath talk
Bray Lock by Janet Richardson, Editor, Towpath Talk

The improvement works stretch from Lechlade (near the river’s source) to the tidal limit at Teddington and include weir refurbishments, dock improvements and the construction of new fish passes.

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Stairwell reconstruction, chamber fender replacements and resurfacing will take place at four lock sites – Rushey, Bray, Romney and Penton Hook.

Other highlights include:
-The removal of wrecked vessels that are either sunken, stranded or abandoned and causing an obstruction to navigation on the non-tidal Thames.
-The creation of an offshore canoe ‘portage’ at Abingdon to make safe river entry and exit points either side of the lock.
-Further improvements to the dry dock facility at Sunbury including the roof structure and pumping system.
-The construction of new fish passes at Sunbury Weir, Chertsey Weir and Mapledurham Weir to improve fish passage along the Thames.

A full list of 2021/22 improvements can be found at A full list of 2021/22 improvements can be found at

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Environment Agency Waterways Manager, Maria Herlihy said: “This year’s massive investment in navigation infrastructure on the non-tidal Thames demonstrates the magnitude of our commitment to support all forms of boating, and boating businesses, on the non-tidal Thames.

“It will fund one of the most diverse and extensive programme of improvements for many, many years and further enhance the experience for tens of thousands of regular and visiting Thames boaters.”

The majority of the listed works will begin around November of this year with the intention of completion by March 2022. The Environment Agency gives several weeks’ notice so that river users can plan their winter movements and excursions.

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