Montgomery canal's restoration is celebrated in the Welsh Parliament

Funding granted to restore sections of the Montgomery canal as far as the Shropshire/Welsh border should provide the momentum needed to press ahead and open the entire waterway, the Welsh Parliament has been told.

Work to restore a dry section of the Montgomery canal
Work to restore a dry section of the Montgomery canal

Montgomeryshire Member of the Senedd, Russell George led a debate on the canal after being selected to debate a topic of his choice.

During the debate, Mr George outlined the achievements of local individuals, volunteers, and organisations, and spoke of the wider regeneration that the restoration of the canal will bring.

The canal, built more than 200 years ago, closed in 1944. Work to reopen it began in the 1960s and now more than half the route from Newtown to where it joins the Llangollen Canal near Ellesmere is restored.

Mr George told the Welsh Senedd that in November the Chancellor's announced a £15.5 million grant for the canal and the agreement of the Mid Wales growth deal was now likely to provide funding to the rebuilding of two road bridges needed to bring the two restored sections together.

"The ultimate aim is to restore the canal all the way to Newtown, and there is now a momentum to press on with plans to restore the canal to Newtown," he said.

''I was pleased to be selected to bring a subject of my choice for debate in the Senedd, and was keen to outline the huge benefits of restoring the Montgomery Canal and to also shine a light on the efforts of passionate local individuals, volunteers and organisations who have worked extremely hard to restore the Canal.

"There will be major benefits of the project such as increased employment opportunities from new and expanded businesses in the local area. This of course will be aided by the additional increase in tourism.

"This is a huge opportunity for mid Wales, as further private investment is now likely to be attracted to Mid Wales. The canal offers further potential for boosting our local economy and preserving our heritage is a further added bonus and provides Mid Wales with a further unique selling point.'

"The Montgomery Canal Partnership and Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust have been campaigning tirelessly for many years to restore sections."

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