Lichfield Canal Restoration: Next Stage Funding Secured

  • The LHCRT aims to preserve the historic Lichfield and Hatherton Canals.
  • Recently, the ‘European Regional Development Fund’ and ‘HS2’s Community and Environment Fund’ donated £116,200 to the Trust.
  • The Trust plans to create an ecology park at Darnford Moors using donations.

The Lichfield and Hatherton Canals flow across the United Kingdom. The Lichfield Canal branches from the Wolverhampton section of the Birmingham Canal to the Coventry Canal. Meanwhile the Hatherton Canal branches off from Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.

Both canals are separate waterways but are often referred to together. Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LHCRT) is a non-profit trust established by the locals to protect and reinstate historic canals across the UK.

In its most recent project, the Trust strives to re-create a waterway for both leisure and wildlife. According to the citizens, protecting the canals benefits the community in more than just one way. The restoration eases the everyday lives of walkers, cyclists, boaters, and tourists alike giving peace and tranquillity.

A serene scene
The canals are used by both walkers and boaters and are a popular tourist spot.

The new waterway will open a northern gateway to the West Midlands, promoting tourism and economic regeneration. In addition, according to LHCRT, the natural wildlife corridor will help young people understand their history, heritage, and the local environment. 

Donations of CEF and ERDF

The Community and Environment Fund (CEF) compensates for communities affected by construction. They have funded more than 200 projects within their jurisdiction so far.

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust
Christine Howles and Alfie Lee part of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust

Similarly, the CEF donated £75,000 to the LHCRT trust to restore the Darnford Moors section of the canal. The goal of the donation is to turn the area into a safe place for wildlife.

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Managed by the European Commission (EC), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funds all EU organizations to reduce poverty and social disparities. The ERDF donated £41,200 to the LHCRT in their mission.

Of the £121,200 required cost, the LHCRT has collected £116,200 for creating the ecology park at Darnford Moors.

The Independent Chair of the HS2 Funds, Cathy Elliot, expressed her goodwill in collaborating with LHCRT. She said, “We are happy that LHCRT has secured funding to transform a section of the canal into a new wildlife haven.”

“The construction of HS2 will cross many waterways between London, Birmingham, and Manchester. I would encourage community-led environmental organizations under HS2 to contact Groundwork UK to explore the tangible benefits available from the Funds.” 

The Lichfield Canal
Map of the Lichfield Canal showing its many locks and bridges.

A Word from the Chair of LHCRT

In recent years, the Trust has made considerable efforts and gained a good reputation across the United Kingdom. In collaboration with Bluetech Waterfront Solutions Ltd, the volunteers are now working to put the canal channel in water by February 2023.

Upon receiving the funds, Carole Mills, Chair of LHCRT, expressed her happiness in an interview, “This funding is fantastic news for the Trust. We will be able to create a wonderful space for wildlife and the enjoyment of walkers while also having another section of the canal in water.”

“I want to thank our hard-working volunteers who have spent so much time working on these successful bids. These ERDF and CEF grants are critical in enabling us to progress. We look forward to the ecology park’s completion early next year,” added Mills.