Second phase of works at Newport Canal to protect aquatic plants

The second and final phase of dredging at Newport Canal is taking place this month to protect rare aquatic plants.

The project is a partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England and has been funded by a Water Environment Grant of £98,000 from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Dredging increases the depth of the canal to help the unusual plants that are found there to flourish.

Newport Canal was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1986 and is an important habitat for some of the country’s rarest aquatic plant species.

Councillor Carolyn Healy, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for the Historic and Natural Environment, said: “This second phase of work will result in even further improved conditions in the canal for the flora and fauna to flourish.

“It will also mean a better experience for visitors to the picturesque canal and demonstrate a robust example of how we work in partnership to ensure communities get the most benefit from such projects.”

Pete Lambert, River Projects Manager for the Shropshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Newport Canal with its nationally important collection of rare aquatic plants, beautifully preserved canal features and adjacent parklands is a truly special place bringing pleasure to local people and a tranquil refuge for wildlife.

“It is very exciting to be at the start of the second phase of conservation dredging works to restore water depth and remove decades of accumulated silt.

“We have learnt a lot working with the many people involved in its care and have started the complex task of compiling a management plan that balances ecology, whether fish, plant or bird, industrial heritage, leisure and recreation.”

Councillor Peter Scott, the mayor of Newport, said: “All of us at Newport Town Council are delighted to have worked in partnership to help make significant improvements to such a valued environmental amenity.

“I would also like offer my personal thanks to all the local volunteers who have helped to look after the Site of Special Scientific Interest at the canal.”

CAPTION: Councillor Peter Scott and Councillor Carolyn Healy at Newport Canal.

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