Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Start date: October 11, 2021

Est. end if know: April 1, 2022

Stoppages & Restrictions

Location: Blackburn Lock Flight to Bridge 111D, Simpson’s Bridge, Rishton
Starts At: Lock 57, Bottom Lock
Ends At: Bridge 111D, Simpson’s Bridge

Update on 22/10/2021:

Our teams have been working hard over the last few days to stabilise the water levels in the immediate area on both sides of the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

In addition to Barrowford Locks re-opening earlier this week, using our emergency abstraction powers to pump water from Knuzden Brook, limited resources from Rishton Reservoir, and with a little help from the rain, we were able to raise the levels on the 6 mile stretch from Rishton to Blackburn to allow assisted passage through Blackburn Locks to all boats that wished to leave the affected section of the canal.

All 1,200 metres of pipes have been laid out and are supported in place to enable us to pump water over the breach. A crane has been onsite today to lift the pumps into the canal at Bridge 110 and are now successfully providing a sustained and sufficient feed to the Blackburn section of the canal and beyond.  

Whilst Blackburn Locks will remain closed to navigation, we are pleased to advise that Johnson’s Hillocks and the Wigan Flight will be open daily from 8am tomorrow, Saturday 23 October. The Wigan Flight will open as per its usual operating times, 8am until 4pm, with last entry at 12pm. Johnson’s Hillocks will re-open without operating times, however this will remain under review subject to water resources.

Our Design Engineers have been onsite undertaking investigations of the work required and planning the early stages of clearing up to see the full extent of the damage. Site surveys and ground investigations have been arranged and once we have a full understanding of the work required, we will be able to plan and programme the required works.

In the meantime, we are working with our neighbouring landowners to allow us to construct access to the site of the breach, whilst our contractors are organising the installation of the clay and stone dams and will start works to create access on the bed of the canal. Based on the previous timescales of similar projects, we estimate the repairs will take in the region of 6 months.

Our teams will continue to assist and work with all those customers affected by this closure, and we continue to urge anyone further to contact our North West Customer Support Team on 03030 404040 if you, or someone you know, is seeking help in the affected area. 

A further update will be provided Friday 5 November.


Starts At: Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge
Ends At: Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton

Update on 19/10/2021:

We are pleased to advise that the water levels have stabilised on the Burnley stretch of the canal and the Barrowford Lock Flight has reopened to navigation.

To those on the Burnley section of the canal, the last point of turning before the closure between Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge and Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge is Simpson’s Bridge, Bridge 111D.

A further update will be provided Friday 22 October. 

Update on 18/10/2021:

Works to pump water to the Burnley section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal over the breach between Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge and Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge are underway.

Whilst more equipment is needed, over the weekend we took delivery of 540m of pipe and partially laid onsite. More equipment will be arriving over the next 2 days, and we expect to be pumping water past the breach towards the end of this week.

Additional pumps were also brought in over the weekend to help raise the section of canal towards Blackburn. Once the water supply has been stabilised, we will be able to determine if we can open the closed lock flights to limited operation.

Our teams continue to remove debris from site which will allow us to further investigate the area and help determine the repairs and timescale required. We are hoping to have more information on this later this week.

We continue to speak to and assist all those affected by this closure and we urge anyone further to contact our North West Customer Support Team on 03030 404040 if you, or someone you know, is seeking help in the affected area.  

A further update will be provided Friday 22 October.

Update on 12/10/2021:

The dams have been successfully installed on site to isolate the breach between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

We have worked with fishery management specialists to carry out a fish rescue from the isolated de-watered section of the canal and the immediate flood area on the route to Hyndburn Brook.

Our teams are working together to utilise the existing water resources we have to be able to manage the levels along the canal and whilst water levels are taking a little longer to recover on the Blackburn side, we are pleased to see the water levels towards Burnley slowly returning to normal operating levels.

We will be installing a pumping scheme to keep the water flowing along to the lower sections of the canal and hope to have this installed by next week. To keep a safe working environment, the towpath closure will extend from Bridge 109 to Bridge 112, Church Kirk Changeline. Once we have stabilised the water supply, we will be able to determine if we can open the closed lock flights to limited operation.

Our teams continue to investigate the cause of the breach and determine a method of repair. Following these investigations, we will be in a better position to provide the timescales of repair.

A further update will be provided Monday 18 October.  

Update on 11/10/2021:

Please note, the towpath remains closed between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, only.


Update on 11/10/2021:

Our teams have been working throughout the night to try and stabilise the significant leak between Bridge 109, New Barn Bridge and Bridge 110, Aspen Bridge, Rishton on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, unfortunately, during the early hours of this morning the canal bank has breached.

Dams are currently being installed onsite and our teams are organising a method of repair, including pumps to be able to pump water over the affected area to maintain a feed to the lower section of the canal.

To help conserve water in the surrounding areas, the following Lock Flights are closed:

  • Barrowford Locks
  • Blackburn Locks
  • Johnsons Hillocks
  • Wigan Flight

A further update will be provided tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday 12 October.

NAVIGATION CLOSURE (Sunday 10 October 2021 until further notice)

A closure to navigation and towpath is required between Bridges 109 (New Barn Bridge) and 110 (Aspen Bridge) on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Rishton, while our engineers investigate significant leakage through the bed of the canal.

Due to the volume of water loss, please be advised that water levels between Barrowford Bottom Lock (No.51) and Blackburn Top Lock (No.52) may be affected and lower than normal.  We advise against unneccesary travel through this area until repairs have been completed.

An update will be issued on Monday 11 October.

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