In all, 8 lock sites will have a total of more than £1m spent on them. The seven-figure investment will ensure the locks and associated structures remain in good working order for years to come, enabling boaters to carry on cruising throughout the 135 miles of navigable waterway from Cricklade in Wiltshire, near the river’s source, to Teddington in Middlesex where the river becomes tidal.
Work will start in November and continue through to March next year, avoiding the peak boating months to minimise disruption to river users. Included in the programme are iconic locks on some of the most tranquil and beautiful stretches of the river.
Most locks will be closed to boating throughout this period as lock chambers will need to be drained of water or lock gates completely removed for work to be carried out.
The investment programme is subject to change – the most up-to-date information is available at www.gov.uk/river-thames-conditions-closures-restrictions-and-lock-closures.
Barrie Douglass, the Environment Agency’s Waterways Engineer for the River Thames, explained:
“We’re proud to be the custodians of the navigation infrastructure on the non-tidal Thames, and we take the responsibility that comes with it very seriously.
“Maintaining critical navigation assets in safe working order is our number one priority. It has to be, because if we allow them to fall into disrepair and become unfit for use, then boating on the Thames as we’ve known it for the last hundred years or so would just not be possible.
“The income we get from boater’s registration fees isn’t enough to cover the cost of all the work we need to do each year, however. Fortunately, we receive a significant top-up from Government, which we invest very carefully to ensure maximum value-for-money for the taxpayer.”