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High river levels cost boat firm tens of thousands

Boats tied up in Stratford-upon-Avon
The river Avon is currently unsafe for inexperienced boaters, the company says [BBC]

A boating company says its forced closure over Easter due to high river levels could cost it "tens of thousands" of pounds.

The River Avon in Stratford-upon-Avon is running 50cm (19.6in) above expected levels and flowing faster than usual.

Avon Boating, which was due to reopen from 23 March, said heavy rains meant the water was "unsafe" for inexperienced boaters.

"[Also] our larger passenger vessels... have to pass through two very narrow bridges and they can’t get under the bridge,” said managing director Nick Birch.

A man speaking by a river with boats in the background
Nick Birch, from Avon Boating, says the enforced closure could cost his firm "tens of thousands" [BBC]

“Not only is it unsafe for inexperienced people to go out on the river in a rowing boat or a little motor boat, they just drift off down river," he added.

The company, which dates back to 1898, would normally hope for a busy start to the season over the Easter holidays.

Long-term roadworks in the town have been temporarily lifted to entice tourists.

However, Mr Birch said the the loss of trade from its fleet of self-drive boats and river cruisers would cost the firm dearly.

"It’s tens of thousands of pounds over the holidays," he added.

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