Big 'socks' to be placed in Lancashire's canals - here's what they're for

Don't worry if you see some strange, big socks floating in the water on your next canal walk.
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The socks are actually pollution booms, and 800m of them have been donated, free-of-charge to the Canal and River trust by Birkenhead-based Darcy Spillcare, to help improve water quality and wildlife biodiversity on North West canals.

How do they work?

The booms float on the water surface to contain oil and diesel spills, helping the Trust to clean up water in the event of a pollution incident.

Booms donated to the Trust, Louie Ramsden and Lauren GowerBooms donated to the Trust, Louie Ramsden and Lauren Gower
Booms donated to the Trust, Louie Ramsden and Lauren Gower

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Louie Ramsden, Trust environmental scientist, said he was grateful for the gift. He said: “The main threat is pollution from discharges, particularly in urban areas, and fuel leaks from boats using the waterways. When spillages occur, it’s very important for us to try to contain the pollution before it can spread further, reducing the damage it can cause to the ecology of the canal.

"Responding to pollution incidents costs the Trust tens of thousands of pounds every year in staff time and equipment. So this donation will give us a significant boost over the coming year and allow more resources to be invested in beneficial activities, like enhancing the biodiversity of our wonderful blue/green corridors.”

Lauren Gower, Darcy Spillcare procurement director, said: “We are really pleased to be able to help the Canal & River Trust protect their waterways and hope this will raise further awareness with the public to prevent and report incidents as soon as possible.”

What to do if you see a spillage

A quick response to spillages can often stop pollution incidents from spreading and causing wider damage. Suspected serious incidents can be reported to the Environment Agency hotline (0800 807060) and the Trust on 0800 4799947, or 03030 404040 for more minor problems.