MORE than two-thirds of the North West region’s canals have been given Green Flag Award 2023/24 status by Keep Britain Tidy.
The designation of a further 33 miles of the Trent & Mersey Canal takes the regional total up to 268 miles of Canal & River Trust waterways in Cheshire, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
This means the entire length of the Trent & Mersey through Cheshire, stretching from Preston Brook in the north to Kidsgrove on the Staffordshire border, has the special award. The Leeds & Liverpool Canal through East Lancashire is also a new extension for 2023.
CRT chief executive Richard Parry said the number of green flags is a testament to everyone who works or volunteers with the trust, including those in the community who play a vital part in helping to look after their local canal.
He said: “These green flags showcase the breadth of what the waterways have to offer: free, accessible green space on the doorstep of millions. Our historic canals are places in our towns and cities where people can relax, get close to nature and feel the health benefits of spending time by water.
“And now we’re facing another challenge, with a significant reduction in our government funding after 2027 recently announced. We’re calling on the public to join our campaign to Keep Canals Alive so we can secure the support they need to avert the decline that we saw during the last century.”
Canals are an intrinsic part of the nation’s landscape with the quintessentially British sight of a narrowboat, lock or a humpback bridge familiar to anyone in towns or countryside alike. As well as being visited by around 10 million people every fortnight, CRT’s waterways are used by around 35,000 boats.
The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.