UK inland waterways popularity surges according to the Annual Lockage Report

The Annual Lockage Report has been published by the Canal & River Trust
The Annual Lockage Report has been published by the Canal & River Trust

The Canal & River Trust says that waterways activity in 2021 surged in popularity post lockdown. The Canal & River Trust’s Annual Lockage Report for 2021 shows that as Covid-19 restrictions lifted in the spring, most places recorded counts that were close to pre-pandemic levels and a boom in lock use.

“The last two years have been like no other, with the lifting of pandemic restrictions resulting in increases in lock use that are unprecedented in the 21 years of preparing this report,” said Adam Comerford, national hydrology manager at the Canal & River Trust.

The Annual Lockage Report, now in its 21st year, shows how many times locks were used across the charity’s 2,000 miles of waterways compared to the previous year.

Estimated total lockage across all the Trust’s locks was up from 2.65 million in 2020 to 3.70 million in 2021. This is slightly below the 2019 total, before the pandemic affected boating, when there were an estimated 3.96million total lockages.

However, this compares a full year with just eight months as 2021 saw little traffic before May due to the extended lockdown period in the first four months of last year.

In the peak summer months lockage was higher in 2021 than prior to the pandemic reflecting the surge in popularity once restrictions were lifted.

Hillmorton Locks 2&3 on the Oxford Canal saw 8,147 lockages, an increase of 37% remained the busiest locks on the English and Welsh canal system. New Marton on the Llangollen Canal was the second busiest, with a 77% increase to 7,457 lockages.

Download the full report: Annual Lockage Report 2021

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