RESTORATION work is set to resume at Montgomery Canal following an enforced break during the pandemic.

The Shropshire Union Canal Society has confirmed it will re-commence works with strict measures in place to ensure the safety of volunteers.

High-risk volunteers are not allowed on site until clearance is given by the government, while medium-risk volunteers have been advised to attend later in the year.

Fred Barrett, publicity officer of the society, says work on the dry section of channel has been seriously affected.

He said: “The fact that the Covid-19 situation followed an incredibly wet winter has seriously affected our desire to complete the remaining dry section of channel, to link the national network with the newly constructed winding hole terminus at Crickheath in 2021.

“However planning is taking place to resume activities, in August, albeit with a much more regimented and selective approach than before.

“Detailed, specific tasks will be calendared, and only the essential volunteers needed, will be attending these dedicated work parties which will now take place twice a month between August and December, so that the revised target of a 2021 completion date will be achieved.”

The group hopes to return to complete tasks such as installing a land drain, as well as lining and shaping.

Contractors who start work in July will conduct the complex remedial work needed in two specific, sunken areas, to catch up with the amount of lost time.

Fred insists the will of the volunteers will help get things back up to speed with the restoration work sooner rather than later.

He added: “The number of volunteers will be kept to a minimum and a strict code of working practice will be observed, including face masks, appropriate personal protective equipment and rigorous regime of disinfection.

“There is obviously a deep sense of frustration regarding the enforced lay-off, but the contingency measures being devised, plus the incredible will, and enthusiasm, of our volunteers will see the project through to completion.”