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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have no idea where I expect this thread to go, if it can start a debate on calnals as a major transport option as suggested in the title, or whether it can inspire other ideas... or become a list of other eco frauds that are propounded as a way to save the world but hold no truth when actually examined.. so just let me raise this issue... I have no way of quantifying whther it is a relevent stat, but;

The eco nerds always go on about saving water, like turning the tap off when brushing your teeth and putting a brick in the systern etc. They also promote canals as an eco alternative for moving heavy good around the country. I found out the other day though that the smallest locks on the system need a feed of 25 tousand gallons every time one is used..... multiply that by the tens of millions of lock movements over a year.. and make adjustments for most of the locks, that are actually much larger and.... er, is it an issue?

How much more water would be needed if the use of canals was intensified to a level where substantial levels of goods where indeed being freighted around on the canal system?
 

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What happened to the proposed new canal they were planning in Newham, the 'arc of opportunity' canal?

From Canning town to Stratford I recall. Probably been quietly dropped. That's a shame as it really appealled to me.
 

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Perhaps i'm just an idiot but, won't it be moving about 1 metre per year?

Across oceans there isn't much other option but across the street - seems a bit uneconomic.
 

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Theonly canals I can imagine this having any chance of working on are the broad canals, (such as the Bridgewater, Leeds & Liverpool, Rochdale) which take 14ft wide boats. ("Narrow canals" only take a 7ft wide boat - Trent & Mersey, Droitwich) which do not have many locks. As locks take a lot of time.

Even last summer which was hardly tropical weather the Leeds & Liverpool was 1 week away from closing in parts due to water shortages and that is with minimal commercial traffic.

The other problem is speed, whilst not everything needs to be delivered immediately, an example of how slow canals realistically are is that last time I was on the Leeds & Liverpool we travelled from Bingley to Leeds. The train from Bingley to Leeds takes 17 minutes. The journey took us, a day and a half and even if we had pushed the boat and ourselves harder, we would not have made the journey to the top of the Bingley 5 rise in a day. (By good fortune most of the locks were set for us as well)

The only canal I can see having a genuine commercial future, is the Bridgewater as that is lock fee (which takes a lot of time) and is broad. However this would be for short movements around Greater Manchester/Cheshire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys... I haven't been able to find this thread since I started it!

There are systems for pumping water around these systems and resevoir stores etc.. it was just the fact that so much water is lost that I thought it could raise some 'environmental' issues that the eco community have not liked to address.. any thoughts?
 

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Hi, first post here after a while lurking...

I believe they're now using the Grand Union Canal in west London to transport waste to and from a new recycling facility in North Acton - it's very visible from the Silverlink in between Willesden Junction and Acton Central.

I think Ken was bigging himself up for it a while back...
 

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The amount of water used in a canal is pretty minimal when compared to the amount that flows down rivers. Since they use rivers to feed the canal systems i'd doubt very much that the rivers are going to get drained.
Just think of how much a canal flows to how much a river flows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
but he amount we use in the home is minimal when compared to that also? The water sources for both water to our homes and water for the canal system are the same. I do not hear calls for us to cut water consumption to save the world etc, as only being about treated water.. it is simply about the amount we use. The basic mantra is about 'use' of it, so whether it ends up in the seas via treatment plants or canal locks does not seem to matter.. am I missing something?
 

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I think it's about the cost in financial and energy terms involved in cleaning water so it can be drunk and then cleaning it again so that it can be released back into rivers/the sea.

Water conservation in times out drought (hosepipie bans etc) is presumably about conserving the water that our treatment systems are connected to (as not every lake feeds a resevoir) because if they become empty they'll still be a lot of watersplashing about, but no good way of getting it into taps.
 

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Apparently Sainsburys have announced that they're going to trial delivering stock to some of their stores in London by barge.

I would assume that's just the stores that are actually next to a canal like the one at Camden Lock.
 

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Supermarket to 'float' its stock

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/7050444.stm

Crates of wine will be delivered to a container terminal at Irlam
A supermarket chain is to become the first major retailer in England to start transporting goods by canal.
Tesco will use the Manchester Ship Canal to move crates of wine from South America from the Port of Liverpool and a container terminal at Irlam.

The retailer says the move will mean hundreds of lorries can be taken off the roads, reducing congestion and cutting carbon emissions.

It already has plans to use other canal links across Britain.

The move has been made possible by the collaboration of Tesco, Peel Holdings who run the canal and the Port of Liverpool and importer Kingsland Wines.

The new cargo service involves three journeys a week, delivering an estimated 600,000 litres of wine on each journey along the 40-mile stretch of the canal.


This is a step forward in helping to address today's important environmental issues
Laurie McIlwee, Tesco

The containers of wine from Australia, California, Chile and Argentina are then transported to a bottling site less than half a mile away where they are packed for Tesco supermarkets across the country.

Until now the wine shipments have arrived in the UK at various southern ports by ship before being driven to the Manchester bottling depot.

Tesco distribution director Laurie McIlwee said: "This move will be like taking a step back to the pre-car days of the late Victorian era when a lot of cargo was still transported by canal, and is a step forward in helping to address today's important environmental issues.

"We are already looking at other areas where we can move freight on waterways."

Frank Robotham from Peel Holdings said: "This is something we've been working on for 12 months.

"It has already got a lot of interest from other retailers. We believe it has a definite sustainable future as not only is it environmentally friendly but is also cost effective."
 
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