Press release

Cambridgeshire locks under manual operation this weekend

The Environment Agency is operating 2 locks on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire manually over the weekend to keep boaters moving.

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The lock at St Ives and the Old Papermills lock in St Neots are both awaiting permanent repairs, following mechanical break downs which closed each of them for a short period of time.

Low river levels between Godmanchester and Houghton are also causing concerns and boaters are advised to take extra care whilst navigating this stretch of the River Great Ouse. Underwater obstructions may become present whilst levels are low and there is a risk of larger craft coming into contact with the river bed in shallower areas.

The St Ives lock has been manned between the hours of 10am and 4pm for a number of days and will continue to be operated manually by trained Environment Agency staff between these hours until Monday (6 July) afternoon. The lock will then be closed on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 July 2015 whilst the mechanical failure is fixed. The lock should then be back in full operation.

The St Neots lock failed on Tuesday (30 June) afternoon and was closed to all boating traffic until Thursday (2 July) afternoon. Environment Agency staff have been operating the lock manually since yesterday to ensure boaters can continue on their journeys and will continue to man the lock through the weekend in order to ensure navigation remains open for the St Neots Regatta.

Paul Separovic, Environment Agency Waterways Operations Team Leader, said:

We apologise for any inconvenience these closures may have caused to our boaters but the use of the locks will need to be temporarily restricted until permanent repairs can be made. This is in the interests of safety for boaters. The gates and their component parts weigh many tonnes, and should not be operated by untrained staff. Please do not attempt to operate the lock or pass into the lock pen unless Environment Agency staff are present.

The St Neots lock will be subject to temporary closures over the coming weeks. The Environment Agency will operate the locks manually on a restricted timetable over the coming weeks. To find out more about the operating timetable contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506506 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm) or the Incident Communications Service (ICS) on 0800 80 70 60 and ask to speak to the River Great Ouse Waterways Duty Officer.

Published 3 July 2015