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Ecological forum to advise on Montgomery Canal restoration

Montgomery Canal

An ecological forum is to be set up to review and give advice on plans for the restoration of the Montgomery Canal.

It will support the development of a long-term monitoring plan to maximise ecological gains in advance of full restoration, building on previous work completed on doing this in a sustainable way.

The forum will also be used by Glandŵr Cymru (Canal and River Trust in Wales) and Powys County Council to share progress and seek advice during the spending of the nearly £14 million in Levelling Up funding, secured by both organisations, for the Montgomery Canal Restoration Project, over the next two years.

It will contribute towards reconnecting the Welsh section of the waterway to the wider UK canal network, and includes the repair of a 4.4-mile section between Llanymynech and Arddleen, which is currently unnavigable, the rebuilding of Walls Bridge and Williams Bridge to enable future navigation, the creation of off-line water-based nature reserves alongside the canal in Powys, critical repairs and improvements to Aberbechan Aqueduct and improvements to the Y Lanfa building and two cottages at Welshpool Wharf.

The entire length of the canal, within Wales, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to it being home to rare plant, insect and bird life and, because of its international importance as a home for aquatic plants, it is also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the highest nature conservation designation in Europe.

“The forum will act as a sounding board on scientific, ecological and technical issues relevant to the Montgomery Canal,” said Cllr David Selby, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for a More Prosperous Powys. “It will also help to develop and maintain links with the external research community and sector experts.

“The Montgomery Canal Restoration Project aims to provide long-term economic, cultural and wellbeing benefits for local communities, as part of our plans to make Powys a stronger, fairer and greener place to live, and we want that to come as a result of having a wildlife rich and well managed waterway.”

Jason Leach, Head of External Programme Delivery at Glandŵr Cymru said: “We know that the Montgomery Canal is a place where wildlife thrives, and we want to make sure that it stays like this in the future.

“Doing nothing is not an option. Securing a sustainable future for the canal and its wildlife is our priority, and we are confident with our plans and this forum we will deliver the ambitions of the partnership.”