The objective of the Trust is to restore the waterway and to open it for navigation for leisure purposes. This involves the restoration of derelict canal in situ whenever possible, but it inevitably includes reconstruction and rerouting where the line of the canal has become obliterated by later development.
In addition to promoting and carrying out its own works the Trust also seeks to work with the owners and developers of land along the route to produce a canal that is well integrated into the environment, an example being the development of housing alongside the canal at Wichelstowe, Swindon. Here, the developer, in conjunction with the Trust, built a new stretch of canal, with benefits for the local community.
It is Trust policy to negotiate with landowners as we seek to secure discrete lengths of the waterway either by gift, lease or purchase. All restoration work therefore, takes place only after consultation with the landowner, the local community, interest groups and statutory bodies. On occasions formal planning permission is necessary and, if required, the application is accompanied by an environmental impact assessment scoping report for public consultation. An example of this will be the current application for the stretch of canal linking the Kennet and Avon Canal at Semington to the River Avon at Melksham; the Melksham Link. The environmental assessment will enable any mitigation that is required to be designed into the project.