A meeting was held at the Aqueduct on Tuesday 17th May to decide the next step in its repair. Please the Waterway Recovery Group Facebook page for photos and a report.
Wednesday 25th May 10am at Tonna Workshop, weather permitting. Non Trust members are very welcome. If you would like to join in please contact Rabbie Coulter our work party organiser on 07394150325 so that he will some some idea of how many people will be there
The Information board is now securely in place. Tasks will be tidying and clearing the outside area
Inland Waterways Association Annual General Meeting
The South Wales Branch of the Inland Waterways Association will be holding their AGM at the Lock house Aberdulais (British Legion) on 14th May 2022. The AGM will start at 2 pm. It will be in person at the Lock house or members may join in via zoom.Members whose email addresses are on file have already been contacted but if you have not and wish to join in by zoom please contact Tony Pugh, branch chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to take a walk to look at the aqueduct please come by 1 pm when there will be a guided walk.
Press Release from the Inland Waterways Association
Aberdulais Aqueduct can be saved
In August 2021 IWA successfully applied for a CADW grant to cover the cost of a structural survey of the Aberdulais Aqueduct. In September Mann Williams, who specialise in creative conservation of historic buildings and structures, undertook the survey and produce a report at the end of January 2022.
The main conclusion of this investigation and report is that, despite appearances, the condition of the monument is relatively stable and in its current state repair is feasible. IWA believes urgent and immediate works should be as quickly as possible to mitigate further damage increasing the cost and complexity of repairs.
In early May IWA, Neath & Tennant Canals Trust and CADW are planning to jointly host a site visit with all the key stakeholders (Natural Resources Wales, Neath Port Talbot Council, The Owners of the Aqueduct and Network Rail) to discuss and agree the next steps for the project in order to conserve the structure, consolidating what is currently there, so that in the future it can be strengthening and relined and revert back to navigation.
At a local level there is a growing awareness of heritage and the important of project heritage assets in the area. We believe there is a real opportunity to save this heritage asset and will continue to lead on this campaign.
The current state of the Neath and Tennant Canals
The condition of both these canals gives cause for concern, They are both privately owned by Limited companies which have lost their income from the sale of water which means that there is little money to spend on maintenance, They are both very wary of any one who wishes to work on the canals because of insurance liabilities. The Trust has its own Public Liability insurance which covers work on their own property and activities which have been approved by the canal owners which is often limited to litter picking.
The Trust aims to work in cooperation with both companies and give positive support. The Tennant Canal has recently suffered with water problems, too much leading to flooding and too little leading to stagnant water. Some of this is partly due to to the damaged weir where the Dulais River meets the Neath River. There are ongoing discussions with Natural Resources Wales about abstraction from the river to the canal
The Trust believes that what is needed is a Masterplan for both canals which would extol the benefits of the canals; their role in Neath’s industrial heritage, as an educational resource, its ecology, a place for exercise and to promote well being and opportunities for tourism. Such a plan would need to be orchestrated by Neath Council with support from the waterways community who have expertise in drawing up such a document. With something like this in place there is the possibility of raising suitable funding.
The Trust has representatives on various bodies within Neath where this has been raised. Councillors have been made aware of the Trust’s ambition through these meetings. Senedd members Jeremy Miles and Altaf Hussain have been made aware of the need to have a cohesive plan in order ensure the future of both canals.
The report from Mann Williams advising on repairs to the Aqueduct and their costs has been received. At present it is under discussion by the commissioning body and will be put in the public domain in due course. The good news is that the Aqueduct is in better condition than was thought.
With the easing of restrictions work parties will be starting. Work will be focussed on the Tonna Workshop site which is owned by the Trust. We have a new working party organiser, a welcome addition to our membership. Non members are welcome at the work parties but even more welcome if they join the Trust. Application forms are elsewhere on the website