Newport Canal SSSI Recovery Programme Commences

After a long and detailed period of investigation and consultation we are very pleased to announce that we have appointed a contractor to carry out the conservation dredging on the Newport Canal Site of Special Scientific Interest this autumn. WM Longreach are a Bridgnorth based family company with a long and excellent record in complex aquatic engineering including work on the restored Chesterfield Canal. All necessary environmental permits, exemptions, assents, botanical surveys, protected species surveys, sediment analysis, method statements, risk assessments, fish assessments, environmental protection measures, upstream walkovers and access reviews have been completed.

The dredging will take for 4 weeks from Monday 21st October to Friday 15th November. The aim is to minimise disruption and avoid footpath closure though there will be temporary diversions and a banksman on site at all times to help supervise the machines and pedestrian traffic. During the dredging operation there will be a display in Cosy Hall about the recovery programme and contact numbers will be displayed on site in case of concerns.

The aims of the conservation dredging is to increase the depth of the canal for the benefit of the unusual plants that are found in the canal (a SSSI) which sadly have been in decline in variety and number as the canal has silted up. The deepening of the water will also benefit fish as the canal is too shallow in paces for fish to happily swim.

Sediment will be dredged and deposited in adjacent woodland and may smell initially, but will settle quickly and any discolouring to the water will also clear soon after the works. The canal feed from the Strine will be on all through the dredging operation and checks will be made on water quality and fish health during the works. When the dredging is complete we will be monitoring the site and carrying out follow-up works all the way through till March 2021.

The planned works include:

  1. Mobilisation on site with placement of the teams welfare hut ; preparatory tree-works; delivery of plant – excavator, dumper and hopper barge. Please note any trees and woody shrubs removed during the operations will be replaced by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.
  2. Dredging of canal on town side of Fishers Lock – sediment will be spread in upper section of Strine Park [bunded with soil and allowed to drain and settle – this will be eventually seeded with a wildflower and grass mix]  
  3. Dredging of canal on upstream side of Fishers Lock and section downstream of Summerhouse Bridge – sediment will be spread in woodland at upper end of Strine Park
  4. Dredging of canal upstream of Summerhouse Bridge – contracting team will enter this area from A41 – sediment will be spread in area of Norbroom Park previously a landfill site.
  5. Clearing up, making good and securing the site

Shropshire Wildlife Trust held a public walk along the route for local residents to learn more about the project and the short term visual impacts that will be created. Everyone in attendance was happy that all necessary preparatory works have been concluded and that the site will look unfavourable initially, but will soon settle down and look much healthier by summer 2020.

We would like to thank the funding team at Natural England and the European Fund for Rural Development for the Water Environment Grant that has made this all possible. This is a partnership project between Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Telford and Wrekin Council, Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust, AUDCO, Telford  Angling Association and Honeysuckle Angling Club.

Newport canal intro walk