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The canal between Aintree and Liverpool is classified as “Remainder”. That is, it is neither Cruiseway nor Commercial navigation. As such, British Waterways, and its successor, The Canal and River Trust, have only to maintain it’s structural integrity.  However, with the realisation that the canal can provide many benefits, British Waterways and the local councils joined together to implement a program of Canal Corridor Improvements.  As a result, and with the further efforts of the Canal and River Trust and its volunteer workforce, the canal between Aintree and Liverpool has surprisingly well maintained towpaths, relatively clean and tidy banks, and the water is often crystal clear, encouraging natural plant life and attracting wildlife. As a wildlife superhighway, the canal is classed as Green Infrastructure.

Natural Economy Northwest identified 11 economic benefits which stem from green infrastructure, and this page discusses those benefits and how the Leeds and Liverpool Canal can contribute to them. Note: All canals (and rivers) are categorised as Level 2 natural environments.

Economic Benefit

How Can the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Provide this Within the Urban Area of Merseyside?



The NEN report says: Businesses attract and retain more motivated staff in greener settings.

SAFE Productions seems to be offering an ideal model with its proposals for development of the area next to coffee house bridge. The provision of picnic spots next to the workplace, with good vision of the canal, is an obvious boon.



The NEN report says:Views of natural landscapes can add up to 18% to property values.

Les Sez Properties along the canal, especially in Bootle and Liverpool, are able to take advantage of the green space and so command higher prices. A balcony overlooking a green space is one thing, but a wharf or deck from which you can launch your own boat is quite another.



The NEN report says:Green spaces near workplaces reduce sickness absence, increasing productivity

Les Sez Whistl (TNT) has recently begun postal delivery on Merseyside. On any weekday, you can see TNT delivery personnel cycling on the towpath (and other green cycle routes). I am prepared to bet that TNT has one of the best attendance records in the area. Teaching staff at Queen of Peace School, which borders the canal opposite Rimrose valley park, take their lunch break on the bench beside the bridge on the towpath. etc



The NEN report says:Rural tourism supports 37,500 jobs in the Northwest

Les Sez Many of those jobs will be related to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. A journey along the canal from Maghull to Wigan will take you past a number of businesses directly linked to the canal, including tourism centres at Scarisbrick, The Rufford branch junction and Parbold, along with a number of pubs such as the Ship Inn, Scarisbrick Arms etc.

According to Prunella Scales and Timothy Wset (Great Canal Journeys) The Kennet and Avon Canal supports over 7,000 jobs. That density is achievable for the much older and much more interesting Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Increasing tourist engagement is largely a matter of signposting (both physical and virtual). For example: A mobile phone app could spin off from this resource; A physical sign at the Field view bridge, proclaiming the old MMBC site, and pointing out the Jubilee Inn to the left and Another Place to the right, captures the interest of passers by.

The canal is also a water course and therefore suitable for development of leisure activities.



The NEN report says:40,000 people work in agriculture in the Northwest.

Les Sez The West Lancashire agricultural area was kick started by the canal poo trade. There is little agriculture along the controlled stretch of the canal, except for the Ford Lane Community Vegetable Garden, and SAFE Productions. 



The NEN report says: Green infrastructure reduces pollution which leads to asthma and heart disease

The GINW report states: There is an extensive body of evidence to support green infrastructure interventions as a way of helping to improve health and wellbeing. The evidence points to five main areas of health benefit that can be achieved through green infrastructure planning, management and delivery.

  • Increased physical activity
  • Improving air quality
  • Improving mental health [including depression]
  • Reducing health inequalities
  • Social cohesion

LES SEZ The campaign for real time is right on the money. At one level, this evidence could be used to persuade businesses and planners of the importance of the canal which is categorised as a Level 2 natural environment, and is within 2Km of nearly everyone in the original Atlantic Gateway SIA. At the same time, the "Level 2" link provides much more evidence which can be used to persuade ordinary people of the value of the Canal, and perhaps to donate time or money.



The NEN report says: Footpaths, cycle paths and bridleways enable healthy, low-cost recreation.

LES SEZ Although the towpath was originally intended for horses, I don't think it works as a bridleway. So, the towpath just functions as a footpath and cycle track (NCN 62 and 810). Oh, and a fishing ground, and a geo-caching trail, and a picnic spot, and a great place for observing wildlife.

Of course, the canal itself is the place for a range of water based activities. We've all seen canal boats, and the FordTAT witnessed a chap canoeing from Liverpool to Leeds, and this Guardian reporter was inspired to canoe to work by the campaign for real time.. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal is currently being developed as a coast to coast canoe trail.



The NEN report says: Community-owned green spaces can create jobs and local pride.

LES SEZ If a job is an occupation that provides financial recompense, then we have the following locally created jobs bordering the canal within the controlled stretch:

  • Aintree Racecource,
  • Blue Anchor Pub, Cookson's Bridge, Red Lion
  • B&Q,
  • New Business replacing Paradox?,
  • Aintree Industrial Estate, Bakery,
  • New Silos at Browns lane?,
  • L30, NAC,
  • Holy Spirit Social Club, Queen of Peace Social Club, St Elizabeth's Social Club
  • Tesco,
  • Arriva Buses,
  • Spotmix,
  • Gasworks,
  • Delta Taxis,
  • Strand Shopping Centre,
  • Mecca Bingo,
  • SAFE Productions
  • Skinner's Cooperage,
  • Gateway Marine,
  • Recycling Centre,
  • Unknown Industry (Bankhall) Staff take smoke breaks on towpath
  • Kirkdale Business Development Centre,
  • Riverside Housing,
  • Eldonian Community Hall.

And you thought it was run down!

Note: Many of these businesses do not yet take advantage of the green corridor, staff at others do so in an informal way. 



The NEN report says: Green infrastructure provides vital habitats and jobs managing the land.

Les Sez The canal is largely maintained by volunteers, but does keep a number of CRT paid personnel occupied.  See the link to the left for habitats information.



TheNEN report says: Urban green spaces reduce pressure on drainage and flood defences.

LES SEZ in this area the canal accidentally acts as both a detention basin and a Sustainable [Urban] Drainage System. 

As a contour follower, the canal intercepts water flowing downhill and buffers (detains) and redirects it to Stanley Dock or the River Alt. Some underground storm drains may actually overflow into the canal. In any case, flood water which can't get into a full storm drain uphill of the canal will flow into the canal (I've seen this happen). Therefore, the canal traps and redirects flood water, reducing stress on lower ground drainage.

The towpath and canal banks are designed to drain into the canal. Surface water from canal bridges is directed into the canal. Somewhere between 2and 3% of the urban area drains naturally into the canal. The canal is also aesthetically pleasing and includes reed beds and other aquatic plants. It therefore meets the criteria for a sustainable urban drainage system.



The NEN report says: Green infrastructure can counter soaring summer temperatures in cities.

LES SEZ The mechanism is evaporation. Trees and plants keep themselves cool by evaporating water (as you do). Evaporation removes heat from the air (about 2MJ per litre of water evaporated). The controlled stretch of canal is 13Km and an average width > 10m. So it has a surface area of at least 1.3km2. Together with its towpath and natural offside bank, it probably covers about 3 square kilometres (My estimates). From Church Road in Litherland to Eldonian Village in Liverpool, the canal and wasteland beside the canal, lanscaped or otherwise, is the only significant green space.

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