Caution after Flooding

Inland paddling
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BC Waterways Env
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Caution after Flooding

Post by BC Waterways Env » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:19 am

Hi all

We had a call from the Environment Agency recently. They were concerned to see paddlers starting to reuse the weirs and other infrastructure while waters were still so high. The EA does a check of all it's facilities after flooding events to check their integrity, and just wanted to flag the risks after such an extreme event.

We asked them to produce a statement on it we could share, which is copied below.
The Environment Agency (EA) have been made aware that a number of canoeists who have started using the rivers again after the recent extensive floods in Cumbria and Lancashire. The EA would like to inform all river users that there could well be health and safety concerns around structures owned by the EA and other parties. At the present time the EA have moved into a recovery period following on from the incident phase and assessments are being made on the structures to establish the level of the damage caused by the floods. Repairs will take some time so therefore the EA would like to highlight the increased risks to canoeists in Cumbria and Lancashire. Please be vigilant and avoid such structures.
The message is passed on to share concerns regarding the structures themselves after the extreme events we've seen up in Cumbria and other areas.

If you have any questions our contact for Northern England is Richard Atkinson, Head of Waterways & Environment @ richard.atkinson@britishcanoeing.org.uk

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chicklechives
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Re: Caution after Flooding

Post by chicklechives » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:39 pm

That's good of the EA, perhaps people would like to tell them of any weirs which are routinely dangerous for canoeists so they can look to sort them out too.
The one in Settle on the Ribble is pretty unpleasant and dangerous.
There's a nasty one on the Kent too.
Perhaps some ramps like in Germany would make them less dangerous.

BC Waterways Env
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Re: Caution after Flooding

Post by BC Waterways Env » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:31 am

chicklechives wrote:That's good of the EA, perhaps people would like to tell them of any weirs which are routinely dangerous for canoeists so they can look to sort them out too.
The one in Settle on the Ribble is pretty unpleasant and dangerous.
There's a nasty one on the Kent too.
Perhaps some ramps like in Germany would make them less dangerous.
Thanks for this - anyone can certainly let us know about any particular infrastructure on rivers that is a concern. We work with EA and others on these. The realities are that making changes to such structures often carries huge costs - but we can and will keep pushing for changes to be made where possible.

We are trying to ensure that wherever possible new fish passes are constructed in a way that allows them to be used as canoe shoots too. This should be win/win - a safer place for paddlers, and extra benefits for EA/others to use to help justify the spend on the project. On the Medway most weirs now have joint canoe shoots / fish passes, opening up greater lengths of the river to hassle free paddling.

I know our team in the north of England has been doing a lot of work with the EA on weirs, which will be ongoing.

Best wishes

Chris (W&E Manager, Central - chris.page@britishcanoeing.org.uk)

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Adrian Cooper
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Re: Caution after Flooding

Post by Adrian Cooper » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:51 am

The repair works to Holne Weir don't seem to have made this any safer than before. The work would have been an ideal opportunity to improve this at little cost.

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chicklechives
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Re: Caution after Flooding

Post by chicklechives » Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:54 am

In which case, BC and EA are to be applauded. Keep up the good work. I'd encourage everyone who comes across or knows of a weir dangerous to canoeists or other river users to identify it to BC so they can feed the info to EA when consulted on changes to weirs.

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Re: Caution after Flooding

Post by heybaz » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:39 pm

Hi all

I'm in regular contact with the EA Hydrometry and Telemetry team up here in Cumbria in my voluntary role as British Canoeing's Cumbria Regional Waterways Adviser. We have, over the past couple of years developed a good relationship, visiting several of their structures and held very open discussions on the subject of paddler safety around their weirs and during flow-gauging operations. The EA are definitely listening to some of our concerns and I believe that by working with them we will see advances as time and - crucially - budgets permit. Despite the fact that we don't exactly help ourselves sometimes - recently paddlers climbing on and jumping from the mid-river walls at the EA flow gauging Brickchute weir on the Leven led to complaints to the EA from residents at Newby Bridge for example - the EA are being pro-active and had invited me to a further meeting in December but this has had to be put back as priorities changed following the recent extreme weather.

Please - if anybody has any concerns or suggestions regarding EA assets or any other worries around Cumbrian rivers and other waterways don't hesitate to contact me and I will forward them to and follow up with the EA on behalf of all paddlers.

Barry Curley

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Re: Caution after Flooding

Post by garya » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:18 pm

chicklechives wrote:That's good of the EA, perhaps people would like to tell them of any weirs which are routinely dangerous for canoeists so they can look to sort them out too.
The one in Settle on the Ribble is pretty unpleasant and dangerous.
There's a nasty one on the Kent too.
Perhaps some ramps like in Germany would make them less dangerous.
Another vote for the weir ramps which are good for both high and low water there is a lovely one at the end of the Ammer. They make things much safer. I suppose once you have something like that the thinking is it encourages kayakers to the weir when they are trying to keep people away from them. On well know kayaking rivers it would make sense, at least it will direct boats to the safe line and drop them back into to water clear of any stopper or tow back.

Gary A

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