HALTON Borough Council have confirmed that pumping water into Sankey Canal will continue until about July and then will become sporadic until eventually there will be no pumping at all.

A spokesperson for the council explained that owner SSE have said at the end of the decommissioning of Fiddler's Ferry there will be no power station and therefore the water supply that has been relied upon for decades will cease to exist.

"Since the restoration of the Sankey Canal was carried out between Spike Island (Widnes) and Bewsey (Warrington) in the early 1980s it has been kept in water by a supply that has come from Fiddlers Ferry Power Station.

"The original sources of supply had come from the St Helens area - Carr Mill Dam being one of the main contributors of water, but those supplies became isolated as sections of the canal were demolished and infilled in the 1970s.

"Fiddlers Ferry Power Station closed at the end of March and it is now in the process of being decommissioned."

The spokesperson for the council added: "For the past 10 years Halton Borough Council, working in partnership with Warrington Borough Council, has been working to address this situation.

"The most realistic and sustainable solution that has been identified is to use the Sankey Brook as a feed for the canal. This will require some major engineering and Warrington, supported by Halton BC, is currently working this up.

"The reality though is that it will take a couple of years to bring this about. This means that the current water levels within the canal cannot be guaranteed.

"The council remains committed to the historic Sankey Canal and we would still like to restore it to navigation between Spike Island and Fiddlers Ferry.

"To that end we will be installing a swing bridge at Spike Island on the site of the iron swing bridge that had first been installed in 1833."

They said they were hoping for work to commence on this project this year and were also currently working up a project to restore the river slipway at Spike Island so that boats could be directly launched into the river.

A disheartened visitor to the canal said: "Spike Island is a great place to go for a walk and picnic.

"If Halton Borough Council let the canal run dry then the vast amount of wildlife will be lost and Spike Island become little more than a dumping ground."