Chesterfield Canal to close once again for activities after new ‘hands off flow’ is issued
Tripboat cruises and other activities along Chesterfield Canal are to stop once again – as the Environment Agency warns that water levels in the area have ‘quickly dropped’.
Tapton Lock Visitor Centre shared the news on Thursday, August 4, after a ‘hands off flow’ notice for the River Rother was reissued by the Environment Agency.
It comes just a week after a previous notice – which had caused water levels along Chesterfield Canal to deplete – was lifted.
The ‘hands off flow’ will prevent water being taken at St Helena’s flood gate, where the Chesterfield waterway starts, affecting activities through Staveley Town Basin and beyond.
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A post on the Tapton Lock Visitor Centre Facebook page said: “We have been informed by the Environment Agency that water levels in the catchment are low and a 'Hands Off Flow' notice has been issued.
"This means that we must close the paddle allowing water into the Chesterfield Canal at St Helena’s, Tapton Mill Bridge, where the River Rother feeds the canal.
“From tomorrow morning, no boating activity or paddlesports are permitted across all sections of Chesterfield Canal, from St Helena’s Floodgate to the most northerly restored point beyond and including Staveley Town Basin.
"It is expected that water levels north of Hollingwood lock may remain stable. If so requests to use the canal between Hollingwood lock and Staveley Town Lock will be considered by email request only. Requests should be forwarded to [email protected]
“Please take particular care with children and dogs around locks and make sure to keep them away from the edge. If you have a boat trip booked, the Chesterfield Canal Trust will be in touch to rearrange.”
Water levels along the catchment for the River Rother have been ‘very low’ for a long time, according to the Environment Agency.
A spokesperson for the public body said: “The Rother catchment has been subject to very low river levels for a long period of time.
"Low groundwater levels and dry upland moorland mean that the base amount of water in this river is low and any increased levels created by rainfall do not last long.
"Rainfall at the end of July led to temporarily high amounts of water but these have quickly dropped, so the ‘hands off’ notices have been reissued.
"We are working with abstractors, who take water from the river, to continually monitor the situation and manage activity.
"We are doing this alongside Derbyshire County Council and we are both working hard to protect the river under challenging circumstances, where there have been some of the lowest amounts of water anywhere in the Humber Basin.”
Prolonged dry weather this year has led to exceptionally low river flows across much of England, with recent high temperatures adding additional pressures on the water environment and wildlife.
The Environment Agency said it already has a range of measures to handle drought-risk across England, many of which are already in action, such as managing abstraction licences to balance need; ensuring water companies implement their drought plans where necessary; working with farmers to manages resources; and rescuing fish in areas where river levels are extremely low.