Historic Broads lock back in action

Mutford Lock testing Mutford Lock, which enables thousands of boats to pass between the Broads and the North Sea each year, is operating again after the replacement of control systems which were irreparably damaged by the December floods.

The Broads Authority has overseen £80,000 worth of repairs to the Victorian lock which have been funded from emergency flood funds allocated to the National Parks by Defra.

A new hydraulic and electrical system which will be less vulnerable to future flooding has been specially designed and installed  by local contractor LEC Marine (Klyne) Ltd, to suit the layout and appearance of the lock.

The tidal surge damaged the hydraulic control and lock gate winding mechanisms and increased the build-up of sediment and debris behind the gates.

While components were being manufactured divers and mechanical contractors were brought in to clear the lock gates, cills and sluices of debris, remove and replace a cable duct and repair winding mechanisms.

Tom Hunter, Broads Authority engineer, said: “The time taken to fabricate and install a well-designed system to withstand future flooding was essential to provide good long term value and minimise future costs and down time.

“The old system has been troublesome for several years. Some of the parts were obsolete and not designed for easy maintenance.

“The maintenance of this important structure is expensive and we were extremely pleased that the bid to Defra for funding this damage by the flood was successful and met the full cost of the repair.”

John Packman, Chief Executive of the Broads Authority, said:  “I am delighted that this important gateway to the Broads is fully operational again for the thousands of boats which go through it every year.

“The repair and upkeep of the lock is not only good news for boat users but is also a boost for the local businesses which benefit from their passage.

“The Broads Authority appreciates the patience of boaters awaiting the repairs and I particularly want to thank the staff at Oulton Broad Yacht Station and Holman Marine who have operated the lock manually while the system has been out of action.”

When allocating the money from the flood fund Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said: “The Broads are the jewel in the crown of our precious natural environment – this investment will ensure they remain so. Given each pound spent by National Parks on recreation provides £4 of wider benefit, it is essential to get our Parks back to the highest standards ahead of the busy tourism period.”

Boaters wishing to use the lock should book in advance with Oulton Broad Yacht Station on 01502 574946 or VHF channel 73.

Monday 1 September 2014