Drought-hit sections of canal reopen

THE phased reopening of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will begin tomorrow after the "worst drought conditions for 100 years" caused its closure last month.

British Waterways said the recent downpours of rain experienced across the north of England mean a 40-mile stretch of the canal in Lancashire can be reopened tomorrow morning, allowing boaters to travel between Barrowford and Liverpool once more.

The remaining 20-mile section between Barrowford and Gargrave, in the Yorkshire Dales, will reopen next Wednesday.

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Vince Moran, operations director for British Waterways, said: "The significant increase in rainfall over the last few weeks has made it possible for us to introduce a phased reopening to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Water is at a premium, so we will continue to monitor the reservoirs on a daily basis and work with our customers to conserve as much water as possible in the canal."

The agency said restrictions on passages will remain on all lock flights between 9am and 4pm, with single passage on the Wigan lock flight in each direction.

The closure of the canal between Wigan and Gargrave has been in place since August 2, following what British Waterways called "the worst drought conditions for 100 years."