Volunteers pull out all the stops to clear canal

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ENGINEERS swapped their usual daily routines to help out a nature reserve and clean up its canal.

Around 50 members of staff from Amey and RW Civil Engineering spent the day clearing detritus from the water and cutting back vegetation from the walkways at Titchfield Haven.

The project came about after county councillor Geoff Hockley met with staff from Amey, which is contracted to take care of the county’s roads, who told him about their community programme.

Amey’s community programme allows its staff to volunteer for a day to help good causes, and it got in touch with its partner RW and asked them to take part too.

Cllr Hockley said he was delighted to see so many people getting involved with the project. He said he hoped that by clearing the water way, it would improve access to the nature reserve and prevent flooding in the village.

He said: ‘We hope that this work will help to spread the water that much more quickly, this canal about 100 years ago used to be much wider, at one time you could take a sailing boat down it, now you can’t, hopefully this will make it a lot easier.’

Richard Levett, senior ranger at Titchfield Haven, was also delighted to see the project taking place.

Mr Levett said that clearing the canal would also be a boost to the reserve’s wildlife.

He said: ‘We are hoping that it will mean huge improvements for public access and for the habitats here. The canals are important for habitats and wildlife.

‘We had a huge water vole introduction here in the last couple of years and also the fish stocks in the river, as well as the recreational aspects. It’s not been done for some time, it’s long overdue.’

Account director David Ogden from Amey was with his team, getting his hands dirty.

He said he was only too happy to help.

Mr Ogden said: ‘We try and do at least 200 days in the community. This year it will have seen 75 per cent of our workforce get involved.

‘This is the first time we have done a day with RW which is great for us as we it will double the opportunity. We are always on the look out for things we can get involved in and for things that we can make a difference to.’