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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Canal may be re-born
Manchester Bolton and Bury canal
The restoration could generate 6m a year
Up to 6,000 jobs could be created if ambitious plans to restore a canal in Greater Manchester are approved.

A report by British Waterways says bringing the Manchester, Bolton and Bury canal back into use will generate an extra 6m for the local economy.

The canal was abandoned in 1961 and the M60 was built across its route at Clifton.

Marcus Chaloner, who is managing the restoration project for British Waterways, says the reopening of other canals in the area has proved value for money.

Major breach

Before the building of the M60, the canal climbed for 11 miles from the River Irwell in Salford to Bolton, with a five mile length to Bury from Prestolee.

After it was completed at the turn of the 19th Century, there were 17 locks which accommodated narrowboats from all over the country.

But the canal suffered from subsidence due to heavy coal mining in the area and a major breach on the Bury stretch in 1936 washed the canal and 2 boats into the River Irwell.

During the Second World War further sections were closed for security reasons and the whole canal was officially closed in 1961.

Sections in Salford were filled in and the M62 (now M60) was built.

Restoration has been proposed for a number of years and there has been volunteer work on some stretches.

National network

A spokesman for DTZ Pieda Consulting, who have compiled an economic study, said the restored waterway could bringing vital new work, leisure and housing opportunities to the area.

George Greener, chairman of British Waterways, said: "Canals were catalysts for economic growth two centuries ago, and with our partners we're restoring and opening them as fast as they were originally built.

"Today, waterways are still catalysts and millions are benefiting in communities throughout the UK."

The restoration project already has the backing of the Waterways Trust, Salford, Bolton and Bury councils and the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Society.

British Waterways, which cares for a national network of more than 2,000 miles of UK canals and inland waterways, confirmed its commitment to restoring the canal at a national launch of nine new canal projects in March.


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See also:

30 Jan 02 | England
26 May 01 | Scotland
21 Jul 99 | Science/Nature
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