Could 'Great Boris Canal' fix Britain's water woes?

Could ‘Great Boris Canal’ fix Britain’s water woes? Tories call to review plan to transport vast quantities hundreds of miles from North to South

  • Senior Tories say idea could help South and Midlands cope with future droughts
  • The PM endorsed it when he was London Mayor and was put forward in 1940s 
  • It would mean creating a network of canals, bringing water from north to south 

It will likely be dubbed the ‘Great Boris Canal’ – an extraordinarily ambitious plan to transport vast quantities of water hundreds of miles from the North to South.

But senior Tories say the idea – endorsed by Mr Johnson himself as London Mayor – could help the South and Midlands cope with future droughts. The plan, which was first put forward in the 1940s, involves creating a huge network of canals to bring water from the wetter North to drier regions further south.

It would be built along the 310-foot contour of land running from the giant Kielder Water reservoir in Northumberland down to the Midlands and the South. But it could also be extended northwards and westwards, taking water from North Wales and southern Scotland to create a giant ‘natural water grid’ across the UK.

It will likely be dubbed the ‘Great Boris Canal’ – an extraordinarily ambitious plan to transport vast quantities of water hundreds of miles from the North to South. Pictured: The PM at a factory in North Wales on Friday 

It would be built along the 310-foot contour of land running from the giant Kielder (the lake, pictured) Water reservoir in Northumberland down to the Midlands and the South

Some civil engineers say the water could be moved by gravity alone down a gentle natural gradient to avoid the need for expensive pumping operations. Transferring water between regions already accounts for about four per cent of the public water supply. But doubts over the feasibility and costs – estimated eight years ago at £14billion – have meant the so-called Great Contour Canal has never been built.

Senior Tories yesterday said the current droughts meant it was time to review the plan.

A spokesman for environment department Defra said water companies were investing £469 million on additional resources including inter-regional transfers and new reservoirs.

They added: ‘Inter-regional water transfers can play an important role in moving water from areas of the country with plentiful supplies to those with high demand.’

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