Lock usage is down 11%

Hillmorton Lock is the busiest lock across the Canal & River Trust's network Hillmorton Lock is the busiest lock across the Canal & River Trust's network

Lock usage along the Canal & River Trust’s 2,000 miles of waterways was down 11% in 2018 compared to the previous year.

The Trust’s Annual Lockage Report for 2018 states lock usage was affected by the long hot summer and water resources shortages, which led to a number of lock restrictions and canal closures.

On canals where there were no closures or restrictions, there was very little change in lockage and some increases were seen.

Altogether there were 3947,417 lockages recorded across 1586 locks.

“The monitoring of lock operations across the Trust’s waterways remains an essential element in our water resources management as well as providing an insight into any changing patterns in use across the network,” said Adam Comerford, Trust national hydrology manager.

Local reductions

“The reasons for variances in lockage numbers year to year can be numerous and complex. Last summer was the third driest and second hottest in a series since 1910. Water resources driven closures and restrictions led to local reductions in lockage.”

Hillmorton Lock two and three on the Oxford Canal was the busiest on the network with 8,621 lockages, followed by New Marton Lock on the on the Llangollen Canal with 7,866 lockages.

The least number of lockages – 30 - was recorded at Graving one on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Lock keepers

The report also highlights the work of the Trust’s 1,114 volunteer lock keepers who were present at 111 registered lock keeper sites.

Just under 140,000 hours of lock keeping were recorded, with a survey suggesting that on an average week around 3,410 locks full of water were saved by their help.

Lockage is defined as lock usage through the filling and emptying of a lock chamber, which in turn allows the movement of water and passage of boats.

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