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Battling the backwash


GEOSYNTHETIC manufacturer and supplier Maccaferri has developed a system to repair eroded canal towpaths for British Waterways.

It involves forming a new permanent steep bank edge, backfilling with dredged canal material and planting native species and reeds.

Bank reinstatement is achieved by placing MacMat-R, a composite geomat combining a three-dimensional mat with Maccaferri's double twist hexagonal mesh, behind wooden stakes. The system is then lined by a layer of biodegradable coir matting which prevents soil fines washing out while vegetation is established.

As well as having a similar life span to sheet piling, the system is much cheaper and easier to install.

The technique was recently used on a 600m stretch of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal between Whittington Lock and Caunsall Bridge. Depending on the environmental conditions, the general life expectancy of the system is 60 years.

British Waterways supervisor Ian Derby, who is in charge of the repair work, said: 'Our remit is to make certain that waterways meet the requirements of various special interest groups, boating enthusiasts, anglers and walkers.

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