MP welcomes moves to keep canal clear in Stalybridge MP Jonathan Reynolds has welcomed plans by British Waterways and Tesco to launch regular clean-ups of the canal in Stalybridge – as part of a drive to breathe new life into Stalybridge town centre.
Attracting boaters and visitors to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal – which passes through the town centre – is seen as a crucial part of the plans drawn up by the newly formed Stalybridge Town Team.
But there have been fears that debris in the canal – particularly discarded trolleys – would continue to be a real deterrent for boaters and that the potential offered by the canal would be lost.
In the past three years more than 200 trolleys have been retrieved from the stretch of the canal taking British Waterways resources away from other projects. And even additional security measures implemented by supermarket chain Tesco have failed to eradicate the problem.
Working in partnership with Tesco, British Waterways have agreed to make regular visits to the stretch of the canal to keep it clear of trolleys and other debris – with the clean-up costs being met by Tesco.
And the move has been welcomed by Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who has been talking to British Waterways and Tesco about the issue.
"Given its picturesque location next to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, Stalybridge should be attractive to tourists and to shoppers, as well as being an ideal place to spend a day out," said Mr Reynolds.
"But far from being an attraction, debris in the canal can make it an eyesore and discarded shopping trolleys can make it hazardous for boaters.
"I have been talking to Tesco and British Waterways about this issue for a number of weeks and I am delighted that they are now taking such an active role to clear up the canal.
"Taking action to ensure the water is clear of debris will help to make it a much more attractive destination for boaters, as well as those looking for a stroll along the towpath.
"Supermarkets are clearly not responsible for the anti-social behaviour of those who think it is acceptable to dump litter and trolleys in this way. But the canal-side location of this particular store makes it a particular problem in Stalybridge, so I am pleased that British Waterways and Tesco are taking this pro-active approach."
David Baldacchino, Waterway Manager, Manchester & Pennine waterways said: "Litter is a huge problem for the waterways, especially when people are using the canal as a dumping ground for litter and - at this particular location - shopping trolleys.
"We have been working closely with Tesco to try and reach a solution to this on-going problem which is spoiling the environment and causing damage to boats. I am pleased that we have agreed to carry out regular clean-ups with the help of Tesco.
"In the next few months the guardianship of the nation’s 2,000 miles of canals and rivers will be transferred from British Waterways to become the Canal & River Trust. The new Trust will be calling on the help and support of the local community in Stalybridge to get involved with their local waterway by volunteering and helping care for their canal."
Anna Wisnoiwski, manager of Tesco’s Stalybridge store, said: "We work hard to ensure that our trolleys are collected and secured every night. We are always looking for new ways to prevent trolleys being stolen and we're grateful to customers who make us aware of abandoned trolleys, as it enables us to collect them quickly. We are pleased to join British Waterways in this new initiative to help keep Stalybridge canal clean and safe for everyone to enjoy."
Published 11 May, 2012.