Peel Ports ensures Manchester Ship Canal’s water management system holds during Storm Christoph

Manchester Ship Canal

During the heavy rainfall from Storm Christoph in January, Peel Ports, owner of Manchester Ship Canal, ensured the safety of vessels using the Canal, following a multi-million-pound investment in water management and maintenance.

Over the last six years, Peel Ports has optimised its water management systems, through a series of multi-million-pound investments to help ensure the safety of vessels navigating the Manchester Ship Canal.

This has included upgrades to the canal’s sluices, ensuring the sliding gates are capable of controlling varied and potentially dramatic increases in water flow during severe weather conditions.

Most recently this was tested during Storm Christoph, which caused huge disruption in the North West of England last month, with the equivalent of 40,000 Olympic swimming pools of water passed through the Weaver sluices in just 48 hours.

David Huck, Managing Director, Peel Ports Group, said: “We have accelerated further our planned investments, making significant improvements in our water management system along the Manchester Ship Canal, including optimising sluice gates and their control systems.

“In preparation for Storm Christoph, our teams were on the ground monitoring the water level and key infrastructure including sluices. Despite a huge amount of water passing through these gates, they continued to be capable of controlling the large increase in water levels which is testament to our ongoing investment and management.”

Part of this water management includes the response in the aftermath of heavy rainfall and storms.

During a storm, a huge amount of waste is washed into the canal, this waste is removed from the inland waterway for both navigational safety and operational reasons.

On average, 600 tonnes of waste a year is removed from Manchester Ship Canal. However, in the last week alone, it is estimated that 150 tonnes of waste will be removed following Storm Christoph.

David added: “In the areas of Manchester Ship Canal which we have responsibility for, we not only prepare for heavy rainfall but also remove navigational hazards in the aftermath of a storm. Along the banks of the canal, there is a huge amount of vegetation which can easily be washed into the water during adverse weather conditions.

“Any obstructions in the canal can prevent ships from freely navigating the inland waterway which is used to move goods between Manchester and Liverpool. It is therefore a priority to remove any large debris, as well as accumulation of general rubbish which we extract all year round to conserve the canal.”

Peel Ports has already committed to deliver further multi-million pound investments on the Manchester Ship Canal in 2021 and other mid to long term projects are currently being evaluated for future delivery, including upgrades to its control systems, locks, gates and sluices.

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