The Canal & River Trust has announced plans to increase investment in the inland waterways, after beating its fundraising target by £5million

The Canal & River Trust has announced an increase in spending on the inland waterways, following of a successful first full year of fundraising.

Speaking at the charity’s annual meeting in Birmingham, chief executive Richard Parry explained that the CRT had beating its fundraising target for 2013/14 by £5million.

“Continued good financial performance means that we will be able to spend more than planned. We have put aside funds for additional vegetation work this autumn, as well as further dredging and maintenance.”

The meeting also heard how over the past year the trust has spent £120m on improving and renovating the inland waterways, including 68 miles of dredging.

What’s more, a total of 142 lock gates have been replaced or refurbished in the first full financial year since the charity was set up in July 2012. Major repair projects included £2million to fix the breach of the Trent & Mersey Canal at Dutton.

The Trust also reported a 76% increase in volunteering, with 51,000 volunteer days contributing to the CRT’s efforts in the past 12 months.

Tony Hales, chairman of Canal & River Trust, suggested that the adverse weather in the winter of 2013/14 helped to remind the public of the need to look after our waterways:

“The weather has thrown everything at us this year as we’ve had to contend with both water shortage and deluge, reminding us just how much care and attention our historic and fragile infrastructure needs.

“Despite this we have been able to hold our own and I am so proud of the way our staff and growing band of volunteers have responded,” he added.

Mr Parry also flagged up the series of summer open days that the CRT is set to host later this summer.

These will take place at the London Impounding Station on the Isle of Dogs (12 July), Tees Barrage in Thornaby (30 August), and Newark Dry Dock (31 August).