August 15th 2020

Board Takes Weed Samples

Wednesfield North Labour Party through its Local Councillors Phil Bateman and Dave Jones have been keeping in touch with the British Waterways Board following enquiries from anglers who were upset at seeing a 'water weed' choke the canal at certain times of the year.
Councillor Dave Jones explains. The canal system here in Wednesfield is very much cherished by all manner of people. Sport anglers, ramblers, and people who just like a wander alongside this quite water side retreat. Residents know how important this waterway is and they are very concerned when the water gets choked with the weed. There are concerns what it is doing to native wildlife and at times the weed is so thick it fools dogs who think that it is a 'carpet' that they can walk on only to find that there is a watery shock waiting for them when the weed ultimately gives way!

Councillor Phil Bateman further commenting said "The azola weed is a foreign import from North America that has made the jump from garden pools to our canal. It is still an on going issue amongst anglers here in Wednesfield three years after we first raised our concerns.

Azola is a problem that is quite severe in the Great Wyrley-Essington Canal at certain times of the year, and is continuing to cause problems not only for anglers but also for the British Waterways Board who explain that the weed is causing problems with regard to navigation also.

Sadly they tell me that the weed in this canal is not of a high priority and that where there is a high priority failure like a lock gate or bridge that is where their financial resource will be aimed.

They say that they are still involved on the research side, and they have recently carried out a survey to ascertain the need for dredging and taken samples of silt so they can find out what the likely level of costs needed for dredging would be.

If dredging took place this would potentially make the canal more attractive to boaters and hence help keep the weed growth under control to some extent.

I will keep in touch with my contact at the Board and will continue to bring you information as to our long term campaign to bring this canal back to its previous standards.

At the moment the weed seems to be regressing during its annual cycle, but later in the summer we will see it at its most aggressive."

Author: Phil Bateman

Article Date: 17th February 2007