The system of waterways in Maidenhead, England known as The Maidenhead Waterways (MW) is currently disused but plans are underway to upgrade and restore them to be navigable by small craft and eventually by narrow boats. As early as this winter, the York Stream channel looks set to become part of the Maidenhead Waterways project. To avoid unnecessary disturbance to wildlife, the team behind the multi-million pound scheme is planning to start clearing trees around the channel to widen it and be finished before the spring nesting season begins.
Richard Davenport, chairperson for the MW understands concerns about they removal of trees. “Clearly we are not wanting to remove any trees we don’t have to. Some parts are already wide enough and we just need to dig it deeper. In other parts, it’s very narrow. We will begin to see the opening up of the channel,” he explains. Many sections of the waterway are unmaintained and overgrown; they are in “very poor condition,” Davenport says. None of the trees are subject to protection orders, he determined after a survey was completed.
In preparation for work to start in earnest, a large amount of groundwork is going on behind the scenes. Surveys have been carried out and detailed designs are being drawn up on the first, £2.1m stage of the scheme. The drainage channels and ground beneath the waterways are also being investigated and by the spring of next year, it is hoped work will begin in earnest. As part of the plans concerns about wildlife in the area, particularly badgers, are being taken into consideration. “We have done an up-to-date badger survey and there’s no badgers actually in the areas we are planning to work on in the coming year,” said Davenport.
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