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Macclesfield Canal in Cheshire, managed by the Canal and River Trust, achieves the Green Flag Award.

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The 26 mile Macclesfield Canal in Cheshire, managed by the Canal & River Trust charity, has become the first stretch of their canal network to achieve the Green Flag Award.

The good news comes in the same month that the charity, the Canal & River Trust, celebrates its third anniversary of taking over responsibility for caring for the nation's 2,000 mile network of canals and navigable rivers from British Waterways.

In their feedback report on the Macclesfield Canal, the judges stated, "There are perceptible changes in culture within the Canal & River Trust compared with the British Waterways of a few years ago. There is a developing sense of a genuine joint effort between the Trust and the community in looking after the Macclesfield Canal. The importance of both the built and natural heritage of the waterways are now high on the Trust's agenda.

"The Trust is putting much effort into developing community engagement with the waterways. On the Macclesfield this includes 'Welcome' volunteers and a number of volunteer work groups and adoption schemes: Manchester & Pennine Waterways leads the field in developing formal adoption groups."

Richard Parry, Chief Executive of the Canal & River Trust, congratulated the local team from the Manchester and Pennine Waterway, who have broken new ground for the Trust.

He said: "This is a fantastic achievement for the Trust and the Manchester and Pennine Waterway Partnership, and helps to set new standards of excellence across our entire canal network. Our aim is to encourage other canals to take up the challenge now and to seek Green Flag status via the same rigorous assessment process. 

"The Green Flag award embodies our belief that living waterways transform places and enrich lives. I'm delighted this independent external validation has confirmed our success in realising this goal."

For those not familiar with its work, the Canal & River Trust is the guardian of 2,000 miles of historic waterways across England and Wales, caring for the nation's third largest collection of listed structures, as well as museums, archives, and hundreds of important wildlife sites. Find out more at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk

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