When the plans were put forward last December it was apparent that the idea of a safety fence on this Grade 1 Listed structure was unpopular and regarded by many as unnecessary. There are fences and warning signs at each end of the aqueduct.
The fence is to be erected along the off-side of the canal to protect people from falling 90 feet to the River Goyt below.
There was a public consultation period at the start of the year with a number of responses being submitted by organisations and individuals. 24 people responded to the consultation about the design of the fence.
CRT's David Baldacchino says that 69 people used the consultation process to express their concerns about installing a fence. He says that CRT thought very carefully about the objections presented. He says: "Taking full account of all factors involved the Trust has reluctantly decided that it is reasonable to install fencing to sensibly mitigate the risks that the Trust has to manage at this location."
Artist's impression of proposed safety fence
While CRT speaks of observations and anecdotes of people walking on the offside of the aqueduct we have only heard of one case of someone falling to their death in the aqueduct's 220 year history.
CRT's David Baldacchino says: "We’ve had to weigh up the risks to public safety whilst making sure any safety measures are sympathetic to the heritage of the structure. I understand that not everyone will be supportive of the installation of railings because of the important heritage aspects at the site. However, in addition to our public consultation, we have also sought expert advice from the Trust's navigation and heritage advisory groups, who both support action being taken, provided that we carefully develop a suitable design."
You can read more about the response to the consultation here.