£10,000 backing for "leaky dams" solution to canal's silt problem

An ethical drinks company is investing £10,000 to help stop silt clogging up a canal close to its Mid Wales water source.

The Montgomery Canal at Pant
The Montgomery Canal at Pant

Belu Water and the Canal & River Trust have joined forces for the creation of so-called "leaky dams" close to the Montgomery Canal.

The canal runs 33 miles from Llangollen at Frankton Junction to Newtown via Llanymynech and Welshpool. But the problem is that the increasing frequency and severity of rainfall is causing silt to rush in from feeder channels across surrounding farmland and potentially clog up the canal.

This reduces depth of water for current or future navigation and impacts water quality, important for the rare and important wildlife in the canal which is a Special Area of Conservation.

With backing from the Welsh Government, the Trust has been trialling the use of the ‘leaky dams’ that slow the flow of water in feeder channels and trap silt before it reaches the canal. The dams also act as a valuable habitat for wildlife, particularly invertebrates.

Richard Parry, chief executive at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Montgomery Canal is one of the most beautiful waterways and home to a host of flora and fauna, including rare plant species and the endangered water vole – best known as ‘Ratty’ in Wind in the Willows.

"However, the changing climate and increased run-off from neighbouring farmland are having a significant impact on the health of the canal.

“We are delighted to enter into this partnership with Belu Water, which will enable us to carry out work to look after canal for both people and wildlife and make it more resilient to climate change.

“As our partnership with Belu Water develops, we aim to work together to increase people’s wellbeing, enhance social inclusion and promote nature recovery and climate resilience across waterways in England and Wales, supporting their role for navigation and bringing people and nature together in these special blue-green spaces.”

Natalie Campbell, joint chief executive of Belu, said: “The partnership will focus on both organisations’ ambitions to unlock the power of water and transform blue spaces, like canals, to benefit the communities and wildlife they run through.

"This is the first stage of a long-term impact partnership to support nature-based water stewardship and deliver our purpose – to change the way the world sees water.”

For more information and for details of how to volunteer or donate to the Canal & River Trust, visit canalrivertrust.org.uk

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