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Trust appoints specialist contractors

Canal & River Trust has appointed contracts allowing it to call upon technical expertise to help look after its network of reservoirs, embankments, cuttings and other structures.

The Trust says ground investigations need to be used to assess potential contamination and equipment put in to monitor potential ground movement of canal structures or groundwater levels.

Investigations are an integral part in the design of construction projects and allow the Trust to assess the condition and likely future behaviour of its canals, reservoirs, and river navigations.

From 1 April 2024 the Trust’s in-house team will be able to call upon support where needed from Arcadis (UK) Limited, RSK Environment Ltd, and Geotechnical Engineering Limited.

The move follows a growing challenge of climate change-driven storms and floods and will allow the Trust to tap into knowledge from other sectors when planning any works required to keep the canal network open and safe.

The charity has also agreed terms with specialists in technical engineering and design services with support now available from Arcadis Consulting (UK) Limited, Pell Frischmann Consultants Ltd, and Stantec UK Limited.

Changing climate

“The UK’s canal network is a fantastic example of long-lasting civil engineering; living heritage which is still in active use today,” said Malcolm Horne, chief infrastructure and programmes officer at the Trust. “This 250-year-old network is also facing the impact of a challenging, changing climate, with the multiple storms in the past few months alone causing millions [of pounds worth] of damage.

“To keep our canals safe and available for years to come, we must make sure our historic structures are sound, and that we’re planning our works with the best possible knowledge, both from our in-house expertise and drawing on the latest advances from other industries.”

The Trust owns and manages 1,579 locks, 55 tunnels, 2,969 bridges, 279 aqueducts and 71 reservoirs.

The move from a single to multi supplier model for its professional service and geotechnical inspection contracts from 1 April 2024 is intended to increase resilience for the delivery of projects and broaden the pool of available resources.

The contracts were awarded following a five-stage tender process carried out over an 18-month period. They are for a period of up to eight years, with an initial term of four years.

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