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Charity will work with local communities to improve UK canals

A new nationwide appeal is encouraging communities to #ActNowforCanals by participating in a survey. 

The Canal & River Trust, the charity which looks after the UK’s 2,000 miles of canals and rivers is asking the 8.8 million people who live with a canal on their doorstep to collect valuable conservation data by noting the nature they can see, hear, smell and feel.

The charity has highlighted that with many people discovering their local canal during the pandemic, the nation’s former industrial canals have a vital role to play as the back garden for millions of people. 

The insight from the survey will help the Trust to establish the ecological value of each stretch of canal across the country as well as the wellbeing benefit to the surrounding communities using them. 

green and orange boat on river during daytime

The charity will use the data to identify low-scoring sites where they will then work with communities to make environmental interventions, for example, targeting litter clearance or planting new habitats. 

Previous research by the Trust revealed that after a visit to a canal 63% noticed a positive improvement in mood, 67% felt calm, 62% said they felt happy and 41% felt more energetic.

Paul Wilkinson, a senior ecologist at the Canal & River Trust, said: ‘The nature deficit in many urban areas has become even more pressing during the pandemic, where access to quality local outdoor space has been vital for helping to improve people’s wellbeing.

‘Canals are uniquely placed to be the much needed ‘back garden’ for millions of people, and by completing the survey we are asking them to take notice of the flowers, the insects, birds or the mammals and help record where nature is thriving.

‘With the UK on a staycation this summer, enjoy a walk, picnic or boat trip by the canal and take part in the survey whilst you are there. We have a unique opportunity to create canals that are cared for and where nature and wildlife is looked after.’

To take part in the Canal & River Trust ‘Sense in Nature Survey’ click here. 

Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak

 

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