The DevelopmentIn brief the proposed navigation will start close to the confluence between the River Ribble and the Savick Brook, this is located approximately one and a half miles down river from the Preston Riversway docklands and then follows the course of the Savick Brook before connecting to the Lancaster Canal a distance of about four miles.
Effects on People
The construction work is being planned to cause the least disruption possible to the local community. The development team are working to ensure that the Environment Agency and Local Authority planners are satisfied that the scheme will be beneficial to all.
There should be no adverse affect on people either during the modifications or when the project is completed and opened up to all leisure activities. As this project is a navigation, and not a canal, boats will only be permitted to stop at specific mooring sites and these will not be located close to dwellings.
The area at present is, in some sections, an eyesore and so with the straightening of the banks and the making good of the footpath which extends down most of the route, the area will be enhanced to the benefit of everyone.
Parts of the route will be retained as natural wildlife reserves allowing educational use by children from local schools.
Effects on Flora
At present the brook is relatively narrow and in times of heavy water flow this causes bank flora to be washed away. With the introduction of wider and slower flowing water sections flora will be given greater opportunity to root and establish itself on a permanent basis. Also reed beds about two metres wide will be established along the majority of both banks to protect the silty and erodable soil.
Care has been taken to ensure that the scheme will not adversely affect the locally important reserve for Long Stalked Orache.
Sympathetic landscaping will be undertaken to maximise the ecological potential of the area. A minimal number of trees will need to be removed but these will be replaced by a greater number of native species, along with bushes and shrubs etc.
Effects on FaunaAt present very little wild life exists on the majority of the route, this is mainly due to the fast flowing water which occurs in flood conditions. With the introduction of the long, slower flowing, pounds wild life will be encouraged particularly, as previously mentioned, in the meanders.
Bird population will also increase especially swans, ducks and moorhens. Bat and bird boxes will be incorporated under new bridges and kingfisher nesting banks will be established.
Measures are being under taken to improve the water quality and it is understood that the National Rivers Authority are stocking the brook with fresh water fish, therefore with the improvements that are proposed the fish will thrive, ensuring a good coarse fishing area.
The Lea marsh section is unaffected by the proposals and will maintain its present standard with insignificant change in the brackish water regime up to the tidal limit.
Monitoring of the local wildlife is being carried out, including before and after surveys, to assess the impact of the scheme on the local ecology. The construction work will be carried out so as to avoid impacting on nesting birds.
A report has been carried out by British Waterways (BW) on the numbers of boats likely to use the system as concern has been expressed that high usage could affect fauna & flora. The report concludes that exceptionally high usage is not envisaged.
Effects on the LandscapeThe effects on the general landscape are minimal as the route follows an existing waterway and as far as possible the widening will only be on one side. Generally the proposals will enhance the area making it a more pleasant location: a 'green corridor' will be created.
New flora and tree planting will use only native species and reed beds will be established along the majority of both banks.
Environmental monitoring will continue throughout the project. An environmental forum has been set up to review the scheme as it develops and to ensure that every opportunity is taken to build-in environmental benefits. Wherever possible re-cycled and innovative materials such as crushed concrete and reclaimed plastic will be used.
A maintenance regime will be established to ensure that the ecological value of the scheme is maintained and a valuable public amenity retained.
Properties located close to a canal or navigation have increased in value to a greater degree than similar properties in other locations. (source BW)
Water Quality and ResourcesOver the last few years North West Water have removed several combined sewer overflows (CSO's) the few that remain are designed not to operate except in severe conditions such as excessive storm or blockage. NWW have indicated that all CSOs may be removed in the near future.
A short term solution is being considered by NWW to eliminate visual debris by the introduction of Franklon screens. The screens are introduced into the CSO outlets and act in a similar way to fishing nets, the solid matter is collected and the water continues to pass through into the river and is diluted by the flow.
The majority of boats (shortly this will apply to all boats) do not discharge sewage into the water, but utilise sealed tanks or Elsan disposable units, which are designed to be emptied at sewage points and do not affect the quality of the water.
British Waterways (BW) have competed a study on the water resources of the Lancaster Canal which conclude that sufficient water will be maintained in the canal to support locking down onto the navigation. The accompanying increase in flow in the Lancaster Canal will improve water quality in the presently slow moving southern section.
Send questions and comments to RLT@aaug.net
Last Revised: Sun 7th January 2001
Copyright © 1997-2001 by John Clegg, Cliff Fazackerley and the Ribble Link Trust Ltd.