Major canal dredging project begins at Preston’s Ribble Link

Preston Ribble Link Canal is to be dredged in a £3.4million investment by the Canal and River Trust charity.

The Ribble Link, which opened in 2002, connects the Lancaster Canal to the national waterway network and will have 15,000 tonnes of silt dredged from the canal.

The Link circles the outskirts of Preston and flows into the River Ribble, before connecting with Leeds and Liverpool Canal’s Rufford Branch.

The canal is a very popular waterway, allowing navigation by 10ft 6in beam boats due to its channel widening, and all boats are assisted when making their way through the Link.

It also contains nine locks, including seven canal locks, one river and one sea lock.

Read more: Preston Western Distributor work due to begin in 2018

The improvements are being made to ensure the Link is suitable for boats to continue passing through, with £750,000 of the project being spent on improving the canal for the benefit of everyone using it, making it easier for boaters to navigate and improve the habitat for fishermen and wildlife.

Mark Weatherall, senior project manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Lancaster Canal and Ribble Link are extremely popular with thousands of boaters, fishermen and walkers visiting the waterways every year.

“The dredging work is much needed and will open up the canal channel and improve water quality which will benefit all canal users, wildlife and the environment.

“We plan to recycle as much of the silt as possible to agricultural land which has the benefit of being both environmentally friendly and more cost effective than landfill, this enables the Trust to do more dredging for the same money.”

Mike Macklin, chairman of The Lancaster Canal Focus Group, said: “This is marvellous news for all users of the Canal. The group are working tirelessly to improve the infrastructure of the canal and we’re delighted that the Canal & River Trust have listened and are carrying out these improvements to the canal.”

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