Lock, stock and new sets of gates

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A MASSIVE operation to replace a listed lock on the Calder and Hebble Navigation canal has taken place.

As part of its annual winter maintenance programme, British Waterways has undertaken the £125,000 lock gate replacement to the Grade II Listed Kirklees Top Lock on the Brighouse border.

With just five months to go until the Government puts the canals and rivers into trust for the nation through the creation of the new charity, the Canal and River Trust, many of Britain’s canals and rivers will be receiving a vital £50m makeover this winter to help keep the 200-year-old waterway working.

Both sets of gates were craned out and replaced with new ones. New balance beams and cills and repairs to the lock chamber wall will also be carried out as part of the project.

Experts were also drafted in to help relocate hundreds of fish from the 425 metre section of the navigation whilst work is carried out.

Jon Horsfall, British Waterways’ Waterway Manager for the North East said: “The waterways are a much-loved national asset and a tremendous example of our industrial heritage. These are all essential works to keep the waterways in the best possible condition we can for the benefit of the millions of customers who visit them each year. Next year the waterways in England and Wales will leave state control to become an exciting new charity – the Canal & River Trust. We’re hoping that this will attract new investment and give local people a greater role in how their waterways are run.”

British Waterways looks after 1,650 lock gates nationwide and over the next few months over 100 hand-crafted British oak gates will be replaced.