Whaley Bridge dam: Repairs 'may take three years'

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Media captionWhaley Bridge dam work 'could last three years'

Repairs to the Whaley Bridge dam could take up to three years to complete, the Canal and River Trust has said.

The dam wall at Toddbrook Reservoir was damaged during heavy rain at the start of August, prompting the evacuation of about 1,500 people.

Emergency repairs, assisted by the RAF, have secured the dam and the water level is being kept low by pumps.

An investigation into what caused the partial collapse of the auxiliary spillway is now under way.

Canal and River Trust regional director Sean McGinley said it is not known whether the dam wall will require "a large-scale repair or a complete rebuild".

"I would imagine we'd be here anywhere between 18 months and three years, but it's needed. We need to get this reservoir back up and working," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The partially collapsed dam wall has been shored up using hundreds of tonnes of aggregate

Water from Toddbrook Reservoir is used to supply the Peak Forest Canal, which is also supplied by three other reservoirs.

"It's not an ideal situation not to have water in this reservoir, but we can manage in those situations, and canal boating can carry on," Mr McGinley added.

"The details of what we find out are going to be shared amongst many reservoir engineers around the country."

Project manager Rob Jowitt said the repair to the Toddbrook Reservoir spillway would cost millions, and may require government assistance.

"The scale of the cost could vary massively, so until we get the designs back we don't know if we can self-fund it or ask the government for input," he said.

He said the Canal and River Trust was happy with how the 200-year-old earth embankment dam was built and called the damage an "anomaly".

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption After lowering the water level, engineers will begin investigating the damage to the dam wall

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