David Jamieson MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, has written to Michael Fabricant stating that work on the aqueduct for the Lichfield-Hatherton Canal across the Birmingham Northern Relief Road (BNRR) west of Muckley Corner can now start almost immediately.
This announcement follows representations made to Michael Fabricant by the Lichfield-Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust that if construction to the aqueduct is delayed until after the opening of the BNRR, the cost of its construction could increase so much, it could delay the project for decades. Mr Fabricant told Government Ministers that it is imperative that work on the aqueduct begins soon and before the opening of the BNRR. In his letter, David Jamieson announces "The Highways Agency is planning to enter into an agreement with the Restoration Trust which will provide for the Trust to pay for as much of the crossing to be constructed now as they can afford…….. All parties are very much aware of the need to reach a conclusion on this extra construction work as quickly as possible".
Michael Fabricant says "While the Trust may not be able to complete the aqueduct before the BNRR is opened, this announcement means that much of the work can be completed in the immediate future. More money still needs to be raised by Trust to complete the project, but this major aqueduct will be near completion when the BNRR is opened. This breakthrough is a welcome U-turn by the Department of Transport which, when under John Prescott, showed no interest in assisting the development of the Canal and resolving the problem of the BNRR bisecting the Canal’s route. When open, the Lichfield Hatherton Canal will bring additional tourism to Lichfield and an attractive amenity to our already beautiful City. I now hope that landowners along the route of the canal will speedily reach agreement with the Canal Restoration Trust for the sale of land so that the project can be completed successfully over the next few years".