Montgomery Canal Restoration Delivery Presentation

On 9th January, Katie Woodroffe and Richard Harrison, Canal and River Trust Project Managers for the Levelling up Fund delivery, gave an online presentation to The Friends of the Montgomery Canal.

The presentation will be the subject of a public consultation in Llanymynech Village Hall on 7th and 8th February and if you are able to attend, you will be able to put your comments to the team.

Further details about plans for the restoration of the Montgomery Canal can be seen by following this link:

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/wales-and-south-west/the-montgomery-canal-restoration-project.

As part of the Levelling Up Fund Restoration Project, three surveys are being held to find out the current view of people who visit the Montgomery Canal. They are being carried out by Glandwr Cymru (the Canal & River Trust in Wales) and Powys County Council. These are the two organisations who were successful in securing the funding from the UK Government for the project and are delivering this ambitious project to restore and revitalise parts of the Montgomery Canal.

The three baseline surveys are being held before restoration works begin and are as follows:

Community Survey of the Canal (for those living nearby):

www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CanalVisitorsEnq

Visitor survey of the canal:

www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CanalVisitorsEnq

User survey of the Welshpool Warehouse (Y Lanfa) building, used as the Library and Museum, the cottages and adjoining space:

www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/YLanfaEnq

You are therefore, encouraged to respond to the survey before the deadline (and tell your friends).

You may have seen reports of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust urging people to respond to the idea that all boat traffic should be restricted to horse drawn boats or indeed that the canal should be left alone.

We are disappointed with both suggestions. For many years, restoration has followed the Conservation Management Strategy. The Strategy published in 2005, after many months of lengthy and detailed discussions with the Wildlife Trust and many others, integrates nature conservation into the restoration with a series of canalside nature reserves. You may have visited the reserves by Aston Locks in Shropshire or on the Welsh Section at Wern or Brithdir. These are attractive in their own right and are a wonderful haven for wildlife (including rare species). Whilst protecting wildlife, the Strategy ensures that the canal is an amenity for residents and visitors, including boaters, with benefits for recreation, well-being and the local economy. In other words all the social, economic and environmental benefits you would expect for any well-managed project – a Canal for All.

The suggestion that only horse-drawn boats should be permitted is pretty impracticable for a number of reasons. There would be difficulties for towpath users – walkers, anglers or cyclists and even when they meet, other horse-drawn boats and indeed where bridges do not have a towpath at all. The idea that the canal should be left alone was dismissed by the Strategy because aggressive and invasive species would take over and the canal would just become a swamp.

The Surveys will close on 31st January and the results will help the Trust and Council understand what people currently think of the Montgomery Canal and Y Lanfa, how often they visit and the purpose of their visits.

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