While we were at Watford Locks I had a chat with Pete Gray who was doing an inspection of the flight. When using the locks last year we were held up while the workmen replaced an Oak gate paddle with a black plastic recycled one. So i asked Pete if they were more durable than the wooden ones. To my surprise he said they have been fitting them for sometime but didn’t know if they were better. However he did say that as the locks are historic structures the Canal and River Trust had to apply for permission from English Heritage before this work was carried out. We wondered why permission was needed for something that is never seen. Methinks that there is so much red tape these days which causes delays!