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Waterways charity braced for huge clean-up after storms

Floodwater at Naburn Locks on the outskirts of York (Danny Lawson/PA)
Floodwater at Naburn Locks on the outskirts of York (Danny Lawson/PA)

The charity that maintains more than 2,000 miles of canals and navigable rivers in the UK says it is counting the cost of the recent barrage of storms on the nation’s waterways.

The Canal & River Trust said it is braced for a mammoth clear-up operation as floodwater levels begin to recede.

At Naburn Locks, near York, the entire complex has been submerged for weeks.

Winter weather Jan 23rd 2024
Floodwater at Naburn Locks on the outskirts of York (Danny Lawson/PA)

A Canal & River Trust spokeswoman said: “Extreme weather has battered the country, including the nation’s 250-year-old canal network.

“As water levels recede, and another clear-up under way, the Canal & River Trust is counting the cost to our nation’s unique waterways heritage.

“Today, Naburn Locks is facing one of its greatest challenges in its 267-year history as sustained heavy rainfall has left the site under water for weeks.

“As water levels recede, the Canal & River Trust waterways charity has been out checking water levels and signs of damage.”

A Canal & River Trust worker walks through floodwater at Naburn Lock on the outskirts of York
A Canal & River Trust worker walks through floodwater at Naburn Locks (Danny Lawson/PA)

Naburn Locks, which is part of the River Ouse navigation, forms the barrier between the tidal and non-tidal river and the area is no stranger to flooding.

The first lock at Naburn was built in 1757 and remains one of the UK’s earliest examples of canal engineering, the charity said.

On Tuesday afternoon, a flood warning remained in place for the River Ouse at Naburn Locks and also for riverside properties in the centre of York.

Winter weather Jan 23rd 2024
Flooding in York (Danny Lawson/PA)

City of York Council said it had closed a number of car parks in the city centre due to rising river levels, as well as Rowntree Park.

The council said: “York is open for business but if you are planning on visiting please think about using buses, including park and ride.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation with our partners. Pumps and defences are also in place if needed.”