WebCan Notes of the Public Meeting held June 15th 2023 Poppy & Pint
Introductions. - Ruth, Chris, Paul Kathleen, Marek Penny.
Paul outlined the past few months work and reported back on:
Varying water levels through monitoring which had been done regularly. Lady Bay section of the canal divided into three parts north middle and southern. Noting that the canal drops fastest at the northern end, he also said that the culvert under the Twitchell was blocked and when remedied, the Northern section continued to drain.
The use of a borehole is under consideration and a site has been identified At the allotments at the end of Eltham Rd. A funding application has been submitted to RBC and three quotes received for provision of a solar pump. More work needs to be done on this to ensure that this is a truly feasible option.
Safe access to the canal bed has been investigated, plastic trays and extendable ladders have proven the best options.
Penny informed the meeting that Notts County Council were coming out this week to do an inspection on drainage to the culvert which leads from the North Lady Bay section to Lock 1.
Chris talked us through the presentation slides, saying that there were two urgent problems, one being how to stem the loss of water at the northern end and the second, how to ensure and protect the canal from losing water. The roots of the willow tree near the remains of the lock at the northern end are causing a problem as they are raised, causing damage to the canal bed.
Short term options were outlined:
Create a barrier to block the northern section, so that work can be done on an around the willow tree
Create a central channel for the water. This option would be demanding and training required.
In the medium term there were several possible options
Protect water levels in some sections by blocking off sections with major leaks
Deepen and clear central channels in each section
Repair leaks (including fell willow tree)
Restore water levels through borehole abstraction
Find a hydrologist to develop a proper strategy for managing the canal as a water way or wetland
A general discussion took place with audience participation, one of which mentioned that Nottingham Trent University have a hydrology department that may be a useful contact and this could be a student project. Another member of the public mentioned that section 106 money had been used on the Gamston section of the canal when the Gamston housing development had been built.
Tony Osbond reported that the fixed weir at Thurlbeck Dyke (spill-weir 11) had been repaired and water flow along the canal has greatly improved.
Richard Bennett (CRT) said encouraging work had been done and that on the 10th/11th of July a site meeting of water engineer and a hydrologist was to take place to do the initial study leading to an updated water management plan – although it would be some considerable time before the completed study is published (potentially by the end of the year?)
There was a discussion on the redirection of the canal and the consequences of that, but it was felt that this was too far in the future for us to be dealing with at the present moment. Reclassification of the canal to a Navigable Working Waterway was asked about, but this is a matter for National Government and huge changes to infrastructure would be needed. It would also not necessarily bring any additional funding from CRT due to limited resources.
A question was asked if we could contact Seven Trent regarding funding. This is something that we have set aside for a later date as it is inappropriate at this present time while various other grant applications are proceeding (GCS are also seeking funding from RBC for a borehole
More discussions were held regarding clearance of a channel and the use of a mechanical digger. This could be quicker than use of volunteers but is costly and it is not clear if a mechanical digger which can fit on the canal bank can reach across the full width of the canal. To be looked at in greater detail when our position is clearer.
Paul, Abel distributed the QR codes for members of the audience to participate in the questionnaire re which of the above bullet pointed options to prioritise., Gary Dykes also shared the questionnaire on the West End Canal and WebCan WhatsApp groups.
The meeting closed at 9 pm