Damage caused by Storm Babet to English and Welsh canals is likely to cost several million to repair.
That’s the estimate by the Canal & River Trust which is working to control water levels across the inland waterway network and respond to emergencies caused by the storm.
Hundreds of trees have been blown down, and the canal network has suffered structural damage including towpaths washed away, a landslide on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, and considerable damage on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal where the River Soar flooded into the canal, causing more than 50 metres of bank to collapse.
“We’re going to see Storm Babet leave the canal network with a bill likely to be in the £millions,” said Trust chief executive Richard Parry, who is calling for additional funding from the government.
“This illustrates the increasing expense of keeping the canal network safe and open, at a time when funding from government is reducing in real terms, and ahead of the steep future cuts they announced earlier this year,” he said.
“These extra costs are becoming increasingly common place as the changing climate takes its toll.”
And he warned that without adequate funding, the canal network will gradually deteriorate, and some canals will close.
Richard concluded: “The work of staff and volunteers, together with the support of our partners and friends, is vital if we are to keep our canals alive to benefit this and future generations.”