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Strategy Document

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1. INTRODUCTION


1.1 The Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust was formed in 1988 to promote the restoration to good and navigable order of the Wyrley and Essington Canal from Ogley Junction to Huddlesford Junction (now known as the Lichfield Canal), and the Hatherton Branch of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, and to construct a new navigable link between the Hatherton Branch and the Cannock Extension Canal.


1.2  Appendix 1 shows the original routes of the two canals and the proposed restoration lines together with a brief history of their use prior to abandonment.


1.3 The Trust, a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, is a voluntary sector non-profit making body whose officers are unpaid and have no commercial or financial interest in the completed restorations.


1.4 The purpose of this document is to set out the Trust's objectives and the reasons why it needs support to achieve them.


1.5 This account of the Trust's activities and aspirations would not be complete without reference to the crisis precipitated by the Secretary of State's decision on the crossings of both canals by the Birmingham Northern Relief Road (BNRR - since renamed the M6 Toll) and the Trust's campaign to resolve it.


1.6 The document will also set out the Trust's plans to achieve the reopening of these canals and the strategies needed to to implement those plans.




2. THE TRUST'S OBJECTIVE


2.1 The Trust's objective is to re-open the Lichfield and Hatherton canals and re-establish the links between the underused Northern sections of the Birmingham Canal Navigations and the Coventry Canal in the East and the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in the West.


2.2 The Trust is conscious of the great contribution that the canal system made to the industrial revolution and will restore existing structures and sections of the waterways as examples of the nation's waterways heritage for future generations. However, in some areas the original channel and structures have been destroyed and the Trust will replace these with new structures using modern construction techniques while, as far as is practicable, maintaining the traditional character of the inland waterway system.


2.3 The Trust intends to reconstruct the waterways to meet current waterway standards. In view of the rapidly increasing popularity of the canal system for leisure and as a public amenity the Trust intends where possible to provide towpaths with sufficient width to allow activities such as walking, fishing and cycling to coexist and to permit access by mechanised maintenance vehicles. Though there is little likelihood in the near future that the canals will carry significant quantities of freight, the Trust will provide generous channel depth to facilitate all possible future usage, to reduce the frequency of dredging and to help conserve water supplies.



3. THE CASE FOR RESTORING THE LICHFIELD AND HATHERTON CANALS


3.1 The Trust holds that each of the two canals is worthy of restoration in its own right. As well as contributing additional waterways to the nation's inland waterway system they will each provide opportunities to conserve examples of the built heritage of the industrial revolution and to restore and conserve the waterway habitats that were lost when the canals were abandoned and infilled. The restorations will provide enhanced public amenity and opportunities for leisure, recreation, tourism and sport. They will be a catalyst for the redevelopment of neglected and run down areas providing opportunities for both rural and urban regeneration. These benefits are common to many canal restoration projects and are identified as typical features of such schemes by the Government in its Transport Policy Paper 'Waterways for Tomorrow' (See reference 1 in Appendix 6).


3.2 The particular characteristic that distinguishes the Trust's project from other canal restoration schemes is the impact that its completion will have on the Northern sections of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN). Indeed the founding precept in the creation of the Trust was to reconnect the 42 miles of underused canals which lie to the North of the "Birmingham Main Line" to the busy canals to the North East and North West. The Northern BCN contains some areas of very attractive rural cruising but the canals are relatively neglected as they were classified as "Remainder" waterways in the Transport Act of 1968 and have since received only minimal investment. These waterways are currently only cruised by local or dedicated enthusiasts as the journey up from the Main Line and back takes up too much of the average boater's holiday time to be attractive.


3.3 The ability to cruise across this area to and from the North would dramatically increase the popularity of the area to the holiday boater bringing with it increased tourist spend and the justification for improved maintenance and facilities by British Waterways (BW) leading to the enhancement of both the waterways and the natural environment. The revival of the canal system in this region will provide the stimulus for the much needed regeneration of many run-down former industrial areas which would in turn bring with it the improvements in leisure, recreation and amenity outlined in para 3.1 above. Thus the re-opening of the 7 miles of the Lichfield Canal and the 6 miles of the Hatherton Canal will bring about the enhancement and regeneration of a total of 55 miles of the inland waterways system. A map showing the improved access to the underused canals in the Northern BCN after restoration is at Appendix 2.


3.4 The Trust considers that the full regeneration of the Northern BCN can only be achieved by restoring both of the former Northern links. Together they will provide a multiplicity of possible cruising routes in and through the waterways of the West Midlands and Staffordshire. There would be many fewer 'cruising rings' available if only one link were to be re-opened and traffic and potential visitor spend would be less. Both canals provide opportunities to exploit the benefits to heritage, tourism, regeneration, new development and employment. However, because of its passage through the Green Belt and the historic City of Lichfield the benefits to heritage and tourism are particularly strong on the Lichfield Canal whilst the Hatherton Canal, passing through a former coalfield area, provides stronger opportunities for re-development that will bring much needed employment.


3.5 Though the emphasis above has been placed on providing access to the Northern BCN from the North East and North West the re-opening of both canals will greatly improve the East/West transit routes through the area and will provide additional routes for boats based on and to the South of the Birmingham Main Line to access the excellent waterway network in Staffordshire. Thus the two canals are complementary and this synergy will provide the greatest benefits and opportunities.

4. THE BNRR/M6 TOLL CRISIS - THE MAKING OF THE CASE FOR THE TRUST'S PROJECT


4.1. Since its inception the Trust's project was under constant threat from the Governments' plans to build the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, now re-named the M6 Toll. The Department of Transport's proposals to construct a motorway round the North of the West Midlands conurbation made no provision for crossings for the two canals, both of which would be severed if the scheme were to be implemented as proposed by the Government.


4.2. A Public Inquiry was held in 1988 at which representations were made by the Inland Waterways Association and members of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust that provision should be made for a crossing of the Lichfield Canal at Muckley Corner 5 miles South West of Lichfield and for the Hatherton Canal at Churchbridge near Cannock. The Inspector's findings were not published until after the start of a second Public Inquiry held in 1994/95. The Trust objected to the proposals again and faced a sustained hostile attack by the Department of Transport and Midland Expressway Ltd, the holder of the motorway concession, throughout the second Inquiry. The Trust's plans were subjected to intense scrutiny and every effort made to discredit the Trust's work. Nevertheless, the Inspector considered that the Trust's objection should be upheld, that the restoration project was feasible and in the public interest, that the visitor expenditure that would accrue to the region annually would exceed the one off costs of construction and that the Trust's proposals for the crossings should be included in the BNRR scheme. He also considered that the cost of the alterations necessary to provide the canal crossings should not be borne by the Trust.


4.3. The Trust's satisfaction with this outcome was immediately negated by the then Secretary of State's decision in 1997 that, though he considered it was incumbent upon him to ensure that all feasible measures should be taken to facilitate the restoration of the canals, the bulk of the costs of the works needed for the crossings should fall upon the Trust.


4.4. The Trust immediately launched a major campaign to have the Secretary of State's decision reversed. Politicians at all levels were lobbied intensely and widespread support was gained. MPs from both Government and Opposition parties accompanied officers of the Trust at a series of meetings with Ministers. The support from the entire waterway's community was strong but the Government was intransigent. However, the Trust's campaign was instrumental in bringing about changes to Government policy with respect to the provision of canal crossings in future road construction schemes. Sadly these were not made retrospective and the Trust was left to raise the funds needed to pay for two culverts (Nos. 155 &144) which were planned to carry the Wash Brook under the A5(T)/A34 roundabout and under the motorway and a new section of the A460.


4.5. The fundraising campaign was widely supported and the contributions made by the Manifold Trust, the David Suchet Appeal and many other personalities and supporters was immense. The David Suchet Tunnel under the A5/A34 roundabout, known as culvert 155 was completed in July 2002 at a cost of £130,000, entirely funded by the Appeal. When the deadline for funding the main culvert 144 to take the canal under the M6 Toll became impossibly tight, intervention by Ministers, British Waterways and The Waterways Trust resulted in the Highways Agency providing £555,000 to construct the culvert and this was completed in November 2002. The Lichfield Canal Aqueduct was completed in August 2003 at a cost of £481,000. Contributions were received from The Manifold Trust (£250,000), the David Suchet Appeal (£150,000), Staffordshire Environmental Fund (£25,000) and many more from a wide variety of very generous supporting organisations and individuals. Thus the three major structures were completed before the opening of the motorway, though the Double (or Deep) Lock that was agreed at the Public Inquiry as being an integral part of the M6 Toll crossing for the Lichfield Canal and many smaller projects along the Hatherton Canal could not be constructed in time due to lack of funding and lack of cooperation by the construction consortium.


4.6. In addition to managing the political and funding campaigns the Trust has worked under great pressure with the professionals of the engineering and construction industry to ensure the integrity of the design and construction of the structures. Instead of cutting its teeth on simple structures and working up to the more difficult ones the Trust has been committed to resolving some of the most difficult elements of the whole restoration project from the start. The experience gained has been invaluable and the Trust can look forward to working with the construction industry with confidence in the future.


4.7. The M6 Toll crisis has helped the Trust to argue its case even more formidably and to convince even a formerly sceptical Government that its case is sound. It has proved it is capable of handling major construction tasks and of raising both political and funding support when needed. The down side is that the Trust's whole focus had to be directed to provision of the M6 Toll crossings to the detriment of other aspects of its work. The production of this document more than 10 years after the Trust's formation is but one example.


4.8. The Trust realises that the M6 Toll crisis has also provided it with a great opportunity to make its case and to establish its project as one of the major canal restoration schemes currently under way. This situation has been recognised by the Inland Waterway Amenity Advisory Council (IWAAC), an independent body formed to advise the Government on inland waterway matters, in its recent report 'A Second Waterway Age' (reference 2) in which waterway restoration schemes were reviewed and prioritised. This report upgraded the Lichfield and Hatherton restorations from schemes of 'Regional strategic significance' to schemes of 'National strategic significance'.

Culvert 155, The David Suchet Tunnel which goes under the A5/A34 roundabout  

Culvert 144 takes the Hatherton Canal under the main M6 Toll carriageways

Trust Chairman Brian Kingshott (left) with David Fletcher, former Chief Executive of British Waterways at the aqueduct naming ceremony in October 2003

The finished aqueduct sits astride the motorway in its final resting place

5. THE TRUST'S PLANS


5.1. Route Investigation. The Trust's first action was to examine the restoration routes and assess the need for diversions where development had made restoration of the original route impractical. The critical factor of water supply was examined and all the foreseen major engineering tasks assessed. Advice was taken to determine the feasibility of solving the challenges identified. The following conclusions were reached:


5.1.1. Water Supply. British Waterways was consulted at the outset and confirmed that there would be a sufficient water supply to operate the reopened canals.


5.1.2. Canal Channel. On the Lichfield Canal approximately half a mile of channel is still in water, two miles remain extant but in derelict condition, three miles of the restoration route have been infilled and require excavation, and about one and a half miles of new channel will have to be constructed on the diversion routes. Approximately two miles of the former Hatherton Branch is still in water and, though heavily silted, is in use as a feeder channel. The remaining two miles have been largely built over, some sections during the construction of the M6 Toll. The examination of potential solutions during the M6 Toll crisis established that a satisfactory diversion route through this area to the West of Churchbridge is available. To the East of Churchbridge two and a half miles of entirely new channel is required. The Trust is mindful that the original canals were built using manual labour. Using modern plant and construction techniques for the new channel and restoration of the original lengths, this engineering task is quite straightforward.


5.1.3. Bridges. Many of the original humpbacked bridges were demolished when the canals were abandoned and the channel infilled so the roadways could be levelled. New humpbacked bridges are no longer acceptable on today's highways and bridges with long sloping embanked approaches are impractical in many locations. In many such cases the road crossings can be achieved by lowering the level of the canal channel by bypassing or removing a lock so that a bridge with a level deck can be built. The channel is then brought back up to its original level by constructing a new lock beyond the bridge. A total of 13 road bridges and one railway bridge will need to be restored or constructed on the Lichfield Canal and 10 road bridges and a railway bridge on the Hatherton Canal.


In its early days the Trust obtained advice from the Highways Authorities to ensure that practicable engineering solutions were available for the four major road crossings - the A38(T), A51, A5(T), and A461 - on the Lichfield Canal and the four - the M6, A460, Walkmill Lane, and A5(T) - on the Hatherton Canal.


The A5(T) crossing for the Hatherton Canal has been provided as part of the M6 Toll work and funded by the Trust.


Though these major road crossings represent significant and expensive engineering challenges they are each on a minor scale compared with the complexity and expense of the M6 Toll crossings.


5.1.4. Locks. The Trust intends to restore up to 22 of the original 30 locks on the Lichfield Canal. The majority were infilled after abandonment and site investigation has indicated that this has preserved much of the brickwork from deterioration. 8 new locks will be needed to enable the canal to pass under road crossings as described above or on diversion routes. On the Hatherton Canal one lock remains in use and another is restorable and 14 new locks will be built mostly on the M6 Toll section and the new link from Churchbridge to the Cannock Extension Canal at Grove Basins. Again, compared with the complexity of the M6 Toll crossings, the restoration of an existing lock and the construction of a new one is a straightforward engineering task.


5.1.5. The schematic diagrams at Appendix 3 show the major structures discussed above, summarise the work to be done, and describe the current status of each project.


5.2. Initial Studies Completed. The Trust completed an in house Cost Benefit Study (reference 3) for the restoration of the Lichfield Canal in 1993/4 estimating the cost of restoration at £9M and the annual visitor spend (calculated by British Waterways using their standard Visitor Expenditure Estimate formula) as £1.7M. In 1997 a survey of boat traffic on the Coventry Canal was carried out by Trust members which resulted in a revised estimate, based on data provided by the boaters participating in the survey, of a visitor spend of £2.5M per annum along the line of the Lichfield Canal. The study, The Economic Benefits of Restoring the Lichfield Canal (reference 4), also estimated a visitor spend by boaters passing through the BCN as a further £2.7M per annum. In 2000 the Trust commissioned an environmental report (reference 5) which assessed the environmental impact of the re-opening of the Lichfield Canal. Similar studies were not carried out for the Hatherton Canal because, until late in 2001, there was an ever present threat that the M6 Toll would permanently sever the line of the Hatherton at Churchbridge.


In 2002 the Trust obtained a grant from the European Regional Development Fund to commission a £100,000 feasibility study for the Hatherton Canal restoration. British Waterways managed the project and Arup delivered the report in 2006. It concluded that the Hatherton Canal restoration was feasible and that the likely cost, subject to further detailed engineering studies was likely to be £49m.


The Trust plans to have further detailed and professionally executed studies carried out on the remaining major engineering tasks as they are needed and when they can be funded.


5.3. Route Protection. The Trust sought to have the restoration routes protected in the Local Plans of the three relevant local planning authorities. South Staffordshire District Council and Cannock Chase District Council formally provided policies supporting the restoration and route protection for the route of the Hatherton Canal in their Local Plans in 1996 and 1997 respectively. The Lichfield Canal lies entirely within the territory of the Lichfield District Council and its Local Plan of 1998 introduced a policy supporting the Trust's project but not defining the route. This fell short of the full protection sought but the Trust is confident, particularly in view of the Government's revised guidance in the amended Planning Policy Guidance 13 (reference 6), that the full route protection required will be forthcoming in the Lichfield Local Development Framework.


5.4. Land Acquisition. After abandonment all but one quarter of a mile of the Lichfield Canal was sold by the British Waterways Board. Fortunately key major lengths were purchased by the local authorities who support the Trust's work. One mile of original channel is already licenced to the Trust for restoration and a further mile of the track is likely to become available when needed. The Trust owns ¼ of a mile and is in negotiation to purchase a further ¾. Nevertheless, the acquisition of the remaining 4 miles represents a major task in the project which, as in some areas there are a number of owners holding quite small sections, is likely to be a lengthy process. 1½ miles of the Hatherton Canal is still owned by BW and the remainder of the restoration route is in the hands of relatively few landowners the majority of whom have already been identified as supporters of the project. The Trust plans a progressive programme of land purchase with the aim of acquiring, or leasing on satisfactory terms, the remainder of both routes. This will require a parallel programme of fundraising for land purchase.


5.5 Project Phasing. The availability of the land dictates where and when the Trust can work, so the land acquisition programme will take a high priority until the complete routes are available for restoration. A series of detailed technical studies will be completed to refine the initial assessments of the engineering tasks set out in Appendix 3. The Trust recognises that it will need to seize beneficial opportunities to acquire land and to secure funding as and when they arise and that a pragmatic approach will have to be taken in deciding the order in which the projects are completed because land availability and, for highway crossings, the timing of Highways Authority work schedules will often dictate when and where the Trust will be able to work. Provided these constraints permit however, the Trust aims to open the routes from the Coventry Canal to Lichfield and from the Staffs and Worcester Canal to Cannock as its first priorities.




6. THE STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION


6.1 Overview.


The Trust recognises that it will not be able to implement the above plans without the support of many other organisations. Though it has already successfully completed a number of the restoration projects it will never have the capacity either to complete all the works using its own volunteer workforce or to raise sufficient funds from its member's subscriptions or through its own fundraising to employ contractors on the scale required to complete the project in a reasonable timescale. The Trust's strategy is therefore to promote its project as widely as possible to solicit both the political support needed and, in particular, the funding necessary to complete the works.



6.2 Stategies.

The following paragraphs set out the Trust's strategies to gain the assistance it needs from potential supporting and funding bodies in the voluntary, private and public sectors. The involvement of British Waterways and The Waterways Trust in the project is of critical importance and the Trust's aspirations with regard to BW and TWT and the various environmental bodies are also discussed below.


6.2.1 The Voluntary Sector.


6.2.1.1. The Trust's Membership. The Trust will work to expand its own individual, family and corporate membership as this is a demonstration to other potential supporting or funding bodies of the extent of support for the restorations. Its member's subscriptions represent the Trust's only assured income stream.


6.2.1.1.1. Passive Membership. As in most voluntary organisations the majority of the members are content to identify themselves as supporters of the Trust's objectives and subscribe their membership fees but otherwise remain largely passive. Nevertheless these inactive members are a most valuable asset as they give a clear indication of the level and distribution of the support for the Trust's work. The pillar graph at Table 1 in Appendix 4 shows the growth of Trust membership. Approximately 1/3 of members live locally, 1/3 live in the West Midlands region and 1/3 live elsewhere in the UK.


6.2.1.1.2. Active Membership. The conduct of the Trust's business and the restoration work in the field is carried out by a small proportion of the total membership. The Trust will continue to increase the number of individuals who are prepared to work as active members of the various committees and work parties. In particular the Trust will try to identify and recruit individuals with the particular skills that the project demands.


6.2.1.1.3. Organisation. The Trust's active members are organised into a series of Groups, Teams and Work Parties overseen by the Council of Management as shown in Appendix 5. Many individuals carry out more than one function within the organisation. The Trust will refine its organisation as the number of active workers varies and as the project develops.


6.2.1.1.4. The Trading Company. Trust members have been active in selling Trust merchandise to raise funds for the Trust's work. To ensure the Trust's charitable status is not compromised a separate trading company has been set up to carry out this function. It is also shown in Appendix 5.


6.2.1.1.5. Commercial Activities. The Trust will seek to engage in commercial activities, where appropriate in partnership with the private sector or BW, that will contribute to the restoration, use or maintenance of the canals.


6.2.1.2. Waterway Organisations. The Trust enjoys excellent support from the Inland Waterways Association at national, regional and branch levels and from many other voluntary organisations such as Boat Clubs, Canal Societies and the organisers of the many Canal Festivals, Boat Rallies and inland waterway events throughout the UK. The Waterways Recovery Group provides a continual stream of volunteers willing to come and work on the Trust's project. The Trust will work to foster and develop these relationships to demonstrate that the entire inland waterways community is united in working for the completion of the restorations.


6.2.1.3. Charitable Bodies. The Trust has received support from charitable bodies within the voluntary sector such as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and will search for further support in the funding of its work.


6.2.2. The Private Sector.


6.2.2.1. Individual Donors. The Trust is aware that many private benefactors are prepared to make funds available to support worthy causes. The Trust will work to identify such benefactors and draw attention to the benefits that its project will bring to the people of the West Midlands region and the nation's inland waterway system.


6.2.2.2. Private Charitable Trusts. The Trust has received magnificent support from the Manifold Trust which, in addition to making a number of smaller grants, has contributed £250,000 towards the cost of the aqueduct crossing of the M6 Toll near Muckley Corner and £288,500 for the purchase of Top Lock Cottage at Ogley Junction. The Trust has also received support from Lichfield's Conduit Lands Trust and other local and national charitable trusts and will seek support from other such bodies.


6.2.2.3. Private Sector Company Schemes. Many commercial companies are willing to make direct donations to charitable organisations for both philanthropic motives and to receive the publicity which such donations attract. Other companies form their own charitable organisations to administer their benevolent activities. The Trust will work to persuade such companies that it is a worthy recipient of their support.


6.2.2.4. The National Lottery. The Trust has already received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund through its Local Heritage Initiative and the HLF is a potential future major funder. Other lottery schemes, which are formed from time to time such as the Sports and the New Opportunities Fund, are also relevant.



6.2.3. The Public Sector.


6.2.3.1. Adjacent Local Authorities. The Trust is receiving excellent support from both the Lichfield District and Lichfield City Councils for its work on the Lichfield Canal. The South Staffordshire District Council and the Cannock Chase District Council have given political support in protecting the route of the Hatherton Canal and in the negotiations over the M6 Toll. However, these relationships have been bilateral in nature and the Trust seeks to develop them into formal partnership arrangements as recommended by the IWAAC in reference 2.


6.2.3.2. West Midland Local Authorities. The Trust has had no regular contact with the many West Midland local authorities whose districts contain the 42 miles of underused canals which comprise the Northern BCN. The population of these districts, Birmingham, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell, will together receive greater benefits in terms of improved amenity, enhanced environment, tourist spend and regenerative opportunity than will the combined populations of the districts mentioned in para 6.2.3.1 above. The annual visitor spend in the West Midlands districts was estimated at £6M at the time of the M6 Toll public inquiry - a figure that was accepted by the Inspector. Though local authorities do not normally commit funding outside their geographical area the Trust feels that there is a strong case to seek support from these bodies. They can certainly provide political support and, if they are unable to provide direct funding, they can at least assist in locating other suitable funding sources. The Trust will work to establish the necessary relationships with these authorities.


6.2.3.3. County Council Level Authorities. In its structure plan the Staffordshire County Council supports the restoration of canals. The Government, in its Transport Policy Paper Waterways for Tomorrow (reference 1), recommends that RDAs and other local authorities should support worthwhile canal restoration projects and the revised guidance issued in PPG 13 (reference 6) requests that local authorities work with all those concerned in the inland waterways industry, including the voluntary sector bodies concerned with restoring currently disused waterways. The Trust will seek to develop a closer and wider relationship with the Staffordshire County Council and the West Midlands authorities and sees them as important members of a regional partnership to be formed to bring the restorations to fruition.


6.2.3.4. The Regional Development Agency. Advantage West Midlands is the Regional Development Agency for the area which will benefit from the Trust's restorations. It is widely recognised that there is excellent potential for redevelopment and regeneration of the former industrialised areas surrounding the inland waterways system - the Brindley Place area of central Birmingham being a classic example. Advantage West Midlands has the ability to bring together all the forces needed to exploit the potential benefits that the re-opening of the two canals will bring to the West Midlands conurbation. The Trust sees the RDA as a key member of a large scale partnership which will be needed to bring this about and will work for a closer involvement with the RDA.


6.2.3.5. Government Departments and Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Organisations. The Government Department primarily responsible for the waterways is currently DEFRA. Direct grants from Government Departments and from the various QANGOs that act as agencies for the Government (such as English Partnerships) are available from time to time. The Trust will monitor the availability of these potential funding sources and will make application where appropriate. Grants will be sought from the Landfill Tax distributors and other Government and European funding sources.



6.3 British Waterways.


6.3.1. Canal Operations. The Trust's relationship with BW, the Management Authority for most of the inland waterway system, is fundamental to the project's success. The Trust may continue to operate the two canals after restoration. Alternatively it may hand over the completed canals to BW or hand the project over to BW at some stage during the restoration (as was the case for example with the Huddersfield Narrow Canal) so that it can be completed more expeditiously under BW's manangement. The formation of The Waterways Trust has enabled BW to become involved in a wider range of restoration schemes.


6.3.2. Construction Standards. If BW is to take over the completed, or partially completed, restorations it is vital that the standard of the Trust's construction work is acceptable to BW. The Trust worked closely with BW and TWT on the design and construction of the M6 Toll crossings. The Trust will work to forge a closer relationship with BW at all levels to ensure that the standard of its new structures and the restoration of original features meets BW requirements.


6.3.3. Partnership Arrangements. The Trust's aspiration to build alliances as the best vehicle for promoting and progressing its objectives has been made clear in the above paragraphs. The Trust sees BW as the ideal body to take the lead in a partnership involving all the other organisations contributing to the project. The Trust will work to promote as wide a partnership arrangement as possible until BW is able to take over the lead role.



6.4. Environmental Considerations.

The Trust, which is enrolled as an Environmental Body under the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, is concerned to ensure that its restoration activities protect and enhance the natural environment and the wildlife habitats along the canal corridor. The waterway ecology that developed during the 150 years of the canals' working life was extinguished when the canals were abandoned and infilled. The Trust seeks to restore this valuable feature of the canal system just as it seeks to restore the operational functions and economic benefits. The Trust will seek guidance from BW and apply the BW Environmental Code of Practice to ensure that its construction and maintenance techniques are consistent with current environmental best practice. It liaises with other appropriate environmental bodies such as the Environment Agency, English Nature, and the local Wildlife Trusts in creating waterway and waterside habitats appropriate to the local terrain to achieve an outcome that recognises the needs of all users, eg boaters, anglers walkers and cyclists, as well as the local wildlife.



6.5. Community Engagement.

 The Trust is very aware of the importance of keeping the local populations aware of, and where possible involved in, the Trust's activities. Canal Forum events and organised walks along the routes have proved very popular and will be repeated periodically to keep the project in the public eye.



6.6. The Trust's Priorities.


6.6.1. The Trust's Workforce. The Trust's volunteer work parties, aided by the volunteers of the Waterways Recovery Group, will continue to carry out some restoration work. However, priority will be given to the fundraising effort needed to finance the detailed design studies required and the land acquisition programme. When additional land is acquired the initial clearance of the channel and repair of original structures will be undertaken by the Trust's volunteer work parties. Some aspects of the larger construction projects will be within the capability of the Trust's volunteers, but the major tasks will be completed by contractors.


6.6.2. Land Acquisition and Engineering Studies. Planning of many of the projects shown in Appendix 3 cannot begin until access to the land has been secured and the state of the structure determined. Where the land has been acquired, or where new structures are needed, the Engineering Design Studies will be initiated as soon as they can be funded.


6.6.3. Project Planning Process. The Trust will develop a series of construction projects each comprising one or more of the structures shown in Appendix 3. These will be the subject of consultation with BW, the Local Authority and statutory undertakers. Where appropriate, environmental bodies will be consulted and planning consents obtained. Detailed costings will be produced. Funding will be sought for each planned project.


6.6.4. Project Funding. The Trust's biggest challenge will be to raise the funds necessary to complete the projects. The Trust has had considerable success in this field as can be seen in the pillar graph in Table 2 of Appendix 4 which shows the funds raised each year to date. The key to building on this success will be the formation of the partnerships discussed above which are seen as fundamental to the completion of the restorations.



6.7. Other Trust Policies.

A separate section contains statements of the Trust's policies with regard to Equal Opportunities, Health and Safety, Environment, Education and Child Protection.



6.8. Exit Strategy.

The Trust may continue to operate the two canals after restoration or alternatively it may hand over the restored canals to British Waterways for incorporation into the national inland waterway system. In the event that BW is willing to accept responsibility for the canals before restoration is completed the Trust may relinquish control at that stage. After hand over the Trust may remain in being as a voluntary body promoting the use of the canals and their future improvement.

The entrance to the Hatherton Canal from the Staffs & Worcester Canal at Hatherton Junction.

The end of the Lichfield Canal at its junction with the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford. The arm is currently occupied by Lichfield Cruising Club.

The beginning and the end!

Our Mission

“To reinstate the historic Lichfield and Hatherton Canals for the benefit of the community. The natural wildlife corridor from Huddlesford to Hatherton will provide a valuable amenity for walkers, cyclists, boaters and visitors to use and will bring prosperity to the area. This project will also provide an opportunity for young people to learn about our history, our heritage and our environment”

Map showing the strategic positions of the Lichfield and Hatherton canals, which will re-open the northern links between the Birmingham Canal Navigations and the national network.