Canal in Burnley to be drained of fish ahead of repair project

Thousands of fish who live in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will this week be temporarily re-homed by the Canal and River Trust '“ ahead of a major project to repair the lining of the canal at Finsley Gate, Burnley.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 11:48 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd November 2018, 11:50 am
Finsley Gate bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal
Finsley Gate bridge on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

A team of fisheries experts will brave the cold water today and tomorrow to remove species such as roach, perch, eels, chub and bream.

The fish will then be safely rehomed in another section of the canal. Following this, millions of litres of water will be drained from the canal enabling the Trust to repair a section of the canal bed at Finsley Gate, between Manchester Road bridge 130b and Sandholme Aqueduct.

The project is costing approximately £1.2m. and will involve the re-lining of a 140-metre section of the canal bed which will protect the 200-year old canal from leaking. Other improvements to the wash wall and towpath will also be done at the same time. The work is expected to be completed by March 2019.

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Part of the canal

Linda Milton, project manager at the Canal and River Trust, said: “This work is really important as we will be repairing the canal bed and at the same stabilising the embankment. To enable us to do this we will need to transfer millions of litres of water from the canal, moving hundreds of fish to another section of the canal in the process.

“The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is unique built as the longest single waterway in Britain. Crossing over the Pennines it weaves it way through beautiful towns and villages. In Burnley, it provided a link to Liverpool that was to transform Burnley’s fortunes and by the turn of the twentieth century Burnley had become a global leader in cotton production with over 100,000 looms at work.

“Today the canal has reinvented itself as a leisure destination and a haven for wildlife. Modern canals offer an amazing, tranquil space, where everything slows down – a great place to escape the pressures of modern life. We know from research that people are happier and more relaxed when they’re by water, and activities such as walking, cycling, boating, fishing, canoeing and paddle boarding improve people’s mental and physical well-being.”

For more information on the works planned on the nation’s canals this winter visit

The Canal and River Trust is holding a free open day on March 3rd where members of the public will have the unique opportunity to get up close to the repairs, talk to engineers and enjoy other activities along the canal such as canoeing and fishing.

To find out more about the open days happening near you visit: