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Canals and towpaths fly the Green Flag for quality

Ray T

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15th October 2021  




The Canal & River Trust is announcing that 40 new miles of waterway, including the iconic locks at Foxton and urban canals in Coventry, Manchester and Stoke, have been awarded prestigious Green Flag status by Keep Britain Tidy. 


The past year has seen the waterway and wellbeing charity’s plans and volunteering activity impacted by the pandemic. Despite this, the Trust was able to add new stretches across England and Wales to the 400 miles which already hold the quality mark.


Julie Sharman, chief operating officer at Canal & River Trust, comments: “Our efforts to win Green Flags are founded on the principle of local community action. Canals offer amazing green and blue spaces on our doorsteps teeming with nature and wildlife, but we do need the community to act now to help look after these 200-year-old special places.


“I’d like to thank and congratulate everyone who works or volunteers with the Trust, including those in the community who do their ‘little bit’ to help look after their local canal. The Green Flags are thanks to those efforts. Every action makes a difference, from picking up the odd piece of litter on a towpath walk, getting involved in adopting a stretch of canal, or making a donation to help fund the repairs and maintenance that keeps the canals open and available for people to use. We welcome everyone who wants to come along and make positive changes in their local community.”


A stretch of the Rochdale Canal in the heart of Manchester between Dukes Lock on Castle Street and the Aytoun Street Bridge has been added to the existing award, with twelve and a half miles of the city’s canal now holding Green Flag status. This is an astonishing transformation in an area that has previously suffered from antisocial behaviour. In Saddleworth in Greater Manchester, a stretch of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal also gained a Green Flag.


2021’s City of Culture, Coventry, has another reason to celebrate, with five and half miles of the Coventry Canal receiving a Green Flag, while the Trent & Mersey Canal is bringing quality blue-green space into Stoke, with just over seven and a half miles awarded a Green Flag.


Other waterways achieving Green Flag status include Foxton Locks on the Grand Union Canal, Wigan Lock Flight on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Red Bull to Harding’s Wood on the Trent & Mersey Canal, and a further stretch of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.


Commenting on the Canal & River Trust’s success, Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making the canals worthy of a Green Flag Award.


“To meet the requirements demanded by the scheme is testament to the hard work of the staff and volunteers who do so much to ensure that these waterways have high standards of horticulture, safety and environmental management and is a place that supports people to live healthy lives.”


The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world.  The status recognizes that canals and their towpaths meet these criteria and play an important role in the local community, offering great places to relax, exercise, escape for a while, and get close to nature. 


To find out more about how to Act Now For Canals and make your area blue, green and better, please visit: canalrivertrust.org.uk/actnowforcanals-and-look-after-the-blue-and-green-space-on-your-doorstep


For more general information about the Trust visit: canalrivertrust.org.uk 




For further media requests please contact:

Fran Read, Canal & River Trust

m 07796 610 427 e fran.read@canalrivertrust.org.uk 

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6 minutes ago, Mad Harold said:

Propaganda worthy of Soviet Russia and the Chinese Communist Party!😞


Not sure I'd go that far!


It does seem rather sad though, that CRT is reduced to thinking an award from "Keep Britain Tidy" is a big deal worthy of a press release.


Noting CRT's proud statement that they have over 400 miles of towpath that carries KBT's "Green Flag" status, prompts me to note they therefore have over 1.500 miles of towpath that doesn't. 

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16 minutes ago, Idle Days said:

Perhaps if they hacked down the vegetation restricting our canals we could see how clean they are.

But then they wouldn't be green any more. Come to think of it, the water in the canals isn't blue either. When there is water in the canals.

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13 minutes ago, Dave Payne said:

I wonder if the person who checked the five and half actually walked it with eyes open!

If so, thank the Lord they kept them shut when they walked along the Cov through Nuneaton.

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25 minutes ago, Athy said:

If so, thank the Lord they kept them shut when they walked along the Cov through Nuneaton.


To be fair this year the Nuneaton stretch has been cleaner than previous years, i passed through early Saturday morning.


The usual spots around cock and bear winding hole and back of Judkins were not great though.

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21 minutes ago, Dave Payne said:

There is a boat that that cleans up on the cov, Panther i think its called.



Panther is run by the Coventry Canal Society.

Give them their due both them, CRT and Coventry City Council have worked hard recently to tidy up the Five and a half.

Unfortunately some of the residents where the canal passes through still use the canal and the towpath for rubbish disposal.

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