THE Lichfield Canal will move a step closer to restoration with funding of £116,200 secured for work at the Darnford Moors section of the canal.
Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LHCRT) will use the money to create an ecology park. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is providing £41,200 of the grant, with match funding of £75,000 from HS2’s Community and Environment Fund (CEF).
This will enable LHCRT to make habitat improvements to the Darnford Brook wetlands, existing woodland and hedgerows from Darnford Lane to past the lift bridge. It will also enable the trust to put the canal channel into water to the east of the liftbridge.
Trust volunteers have been preparing the site and Bluetech Waterfront Solutions Ltd has been commissioned to engage specialist contractors to put the canal channel in water and become an aquatic habitat by February 2023.
LHCRT chairman Carole Mills said: “This funding is fantastic news for the trust, as we will be able to create a wonderful space for wildlife and for the enjoyment of walkers, while also having another section of the canal in water. Grants like this are vital for us to undertake major work, as we’re a volunteer-led charity with minimal regular income.
“I want to thank our hard-working volunteers who have spent so much time working on these successful bids. These ERDF and CEF grants are critical in enabling us to progress and we are looking forward to the completion of the ecology park early next year.”
This part of the Lichfield Canal is close to the new section being constructed as part of the HS2 Cappers Lane diversion. Independent chairman of the HS2 Funds, Cathy Elliott, added: “We are pleased that Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust has successfully secured funding to transform a section of the canal into a new wildlife haven. I would encourage community-led environmental organisations impacted by HS2 to contact Groundwork UK to explore the tangible benefits available from the funds.”
Applications are also under way for further funding to put the canal in water to Darnford Lane.