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Greener future for Yorkshire waterways and rivers

There could be a reemergence for Yorkshire’s waterways and rivers as freight companies look for different ways to combat growing road congestion and traffic pollution.

The waterways network is already being used to carry bio-mass fuel to “green” power stations but the new development could see millions of tonnes of goods transported by water. The new plan will dramatically reduce the amount of pollution that the lorry journeys currently create.

Dalkia, an energy services company, is already using the Aire and Calder Navigation to transport 360,000 tonnes of wood to Pollington.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has said that there is great potential in the waterways system which was the main form of goods transportation during the Industrial Revolution.

A paper from his office states: “Evidence given to the House of Commons Environment, Transport and Rural Affairs Committee suggested that there is significant traffic potential. One barge company claimed that ‘without trying at all’ half a million tonnes of freight could be transferred from road transport and that the Aire and Calder Navigation could quite easily take 2,000 lorries a day off local roads.”

The Aire and Calder Navigation has been placed third in a list of British waterways with the greatest potential. It was placed behind London, and the Mersey and Manchester networks.

Britain’s waterways are currently used mainly for leisure purposes but a small level of freight usage has remained. Gas oil is still transported to Leeds from docks in Immingham and non-urgent bulk items are often carried by canal.


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