Is C&RT finally listening on Safety Standards?

May 2017 - The Canal & River Trust has claimed it did not receive a report of a lock that did not meet minimum safety standards, made by Floater Journalist Allan Richards, who explains what happened.

A report was made about the faulty lock using C&RT's own online reporting mechanism with a 'screen shot' taken of both the report and the acknowledgement screen. However, this report was seemingly ignored; with the Trust later saying that the report had never been received.

Lock 42 is on the Wilmcote Flight of the Southern Stratford-upon-Avon canal. Repairs took place to its offside wall earlier this year (as part of the Winter Works programme) following movement which had resulted in a ledge forming which could snag boats.

The repair consists of vertical wooden fendering designed to keep boats away from the wall and thus off the ledge.

Unfortunately, below the repair there is projecting brickwork that could snag a boat causing it to hang up and sink. Why was this not fixed? ... and why is so much water pouring from the hole in the lock wall?

Surely, water behind the wall and a resulting void is the cause of these problems and needs to be sorted out. Another boater has suggested that Trust actually made this hole low down in the lock wall to stop 'pissers' (the authority's euphemism for small water jets from lock walls) whilst repairing the lock wall higher up!

The minimum safety standard, doesn't seem to apply at this lock, although it has been in force for over eight years. It reads 'Lock chambers and gates are free of protrusions / indentations that could snag boats'.

After further questions and the Trust denying it had received the original complaint, C&RT now says that the matter has been 'passed onto the local supervisor who will inspect the issue raised and will ensure that the lock meets the minimum safety standards'.

Well, at least C&RT is now admitting that it does have minimum safety standards! That is more than it has done in the past.

For years it kept Ken Churchill in the dark in a futile attempt to avoid a claim for compensation ( C&RT's contradictory statements on lock safety ).

Indeed, C&RT now appears to be in discussion with its Navigational Advisory Group in an attempt gain agreement for changes to the standards because they can't always meet them.

The Floater said back in February 'Either the Trust needs to make its locks compliant with its own standard or, alternatively, state why the standard, which was introduced in 2008, is not being met and introduce alternative measures to mitigate the risk'.

Perhaps, for once, someone is listening! ​

Photos: (1st) The winter repair to attempt to keep boats of another ledge, higher up in the lock, (2nd) C&RT's acknowledgement of Allan Richards report on the danger, (3rd) The protruding brickwork, with a cavity behind it, that risks hanging up boats in the lock.

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