An inventor who believes he may have unlocked the secret to speeding up traffic on Britain’s canal network has received backing for his idea from the Environment Secretary.
Meriden MP Caroline Spelman was among the guests who attended an exhibition showcasing Solihull inventor Terry Fogarty’s diagonal lock system.
Mr Fogarty’s invention offers an alternative to the traditional canal lock, enabling boats to transfer to different water levels far quicker than at present.
The invention has also been endorsed by British Waterways, though the first one has yet to be built.
Mr Fogarty, aged 74, feels the diagonal lock could help alleviate many of Britain’s transport problems, with a more efficient canal network enabling more freight to be transported on the waterways.
Earlier this year his invention took a step closer to fruition when it received a vote of confidence from the head of engineering at British Waterways, George Ballinger, over the possibility of one being built at Camp Hill in Birmingham.
Birmingham City Council has also indicated its backing for using the canals as part of its Big City Plan blueprint for the development of the city centre.
Mr Fogarty is now pinning his hopes on investors coming forward to plough money into the scheme.
Mrs Spelman said: “I was delighted to meet up again with Terry who has patented the technology for the diagonal lock, which is designed as an alternative to a traditional flight of locks, connecting the canal at the summit of an incline to the canal at the base.
“Terry brought his latest models to the exhibition to show how his system operates. The concept is based on the construction of a watertight, concrete tube built on the incline - allowing boats to float securely inside the tube as the water level is varied via a system of pumps.
“Terry formed the Diagonal Lock Advisory Group and continues to manage its strategic evolution. This would offer considerable improvements to British Waterways. I have been pleased to join his advisory group.”