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Leeds-Liverpool Canal to reopen after rains
THE canal through East Lancashire is to re-open on Friday after more than six weeks of closure.
The waterway was shut at the beginning of August after drought conditions left reservoirs at record low levels.
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal will be re-opened between Barrowford and Wigan.
The following week the rest of the stretch that was closed, towards Gargrave near Skipton in North Yorkshire, will be re-opened.
But restrictions will remain in place and it will only be open between 9am and 4pm until reservoir levels improve further.
British Waterways has also had to issue warnings this summer to people to avoid contact with the canal water after highly toxic blue-green algae blooms were spotted on large stretches in East Lancashire.
Those warnings remain in place.
Vince Moran, operations director for British Waterways, said: “The significant increase in rainfall over the last few weeks has made it possible for us to introduce a phased reopening to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
"Water is at a premium so we will continue to monitor the reservoirs on a daily basis and work with our customers to conserve as much water as possible in the canal so we aren’t forced to introduce further restrictions.
"We would like to express our sincere thanks to all of our customers, boating businesses and members of the public for their patience and understanding during this demanding time.
“While the canal has been closed we have been able to bring forward a number of projects which would otherwise have been carried out during the Winter, including lock gate replacements and repairs and leak prevention works.
"By completing the stoppages within the water restriction we hope to only require much shorter stoppage periods during our annual winter maintenance."
The closure had been in place since August 2.
A hosepipe ban was also put in place this summer after the driest start to the year for more than 70 years.