Alert over fears for wildlife on ‘neglected’ Grantham Canal

Water bailiff Jim Wheeldon sent in this photo of Grantham Canal, which he believes needs cleaning up.
Water bailiff Jim Wheeldon sent in this photo of Grantham Canal, which he believes needs cleaning up.
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A district councillor has asked Lincolnshire Police to investigate South Kesteven District Council over its maintenance of a stretch of Grantham Canal.

Coun Charmaine Morgan believes the area between Trent Road and Swingbridge Road is being neglected, causing suffering to fish and other wildlife.

She said she has asked officers to consider whether any laws have been broken. She added: “The Wildlife and Countryside Act requires the council to maintain the waterway for wildlife. The council has been allowing thousands of fish to suffocate, by failing to do this.

“It’s a criminal act to disturb a nest in a hedgerow during nesting season, so failing to look after a mile-and-a-half of canal, causing harm to wildlife, could also be seen as contravening the Act.”

Coun Morgan’s concerns are echoed by water bailiff Jim Wheeldon, of the Grantham Angling Association, who fears a layer of algae left to accumulate on the surface of the water is causing fish to suffocate.

These fears were heightened this week when he discovered two dead fish in the water, and asked the Environment Agency to investigate.

Mr Wheeldon took this photo to illustrate the problem. He said: “As you can see, the canal is covered again in green algae and there are weeds on the edge of the bank.”

Mr Wheeldon said it seemed “silly” that the council had allowed the canal to get into this state again after it spent thousands of pounds last year on refurbishing the waterway.

Coun Morgan and Mr Wheeldon are founders of the Grantham and Earlesfield Canal Society, which was set up following the major clean-up launched by the council last year.

The society aims to keep the area clean and tidy so the whole community can enjoy it.

However, maintenance of the canal banks is the responsibility of the council, which works with grounds maintenance contractor Glendale.

SKDC’s property development manager Neil Cucksey said: “Last year SKDC spent a considerable figure maintaining the area using specialist contractors to remove large items, waste and litter from the canal and cut back much of the overgrowth.

“We continue to work with our grounds maintenance contractors to keep the area clean and tidy. Some areas where dredging took place have intentionally been left to grow for the benefits of the local habitat.”