THE Anderton Boat Lift is set to receive an award for ‘engineering heritage’ in recognition of being the oldest operational boat lift in the world.

The prestigious boat lift provides an essential link between the Trent and Mersey Canal and the River Weaver in Northwich, which runs 50ft below it.

The Engineering Heritage Awards recognise artefacts of special engineering significance, with previous winners including Mallard locomotive, Tower Bridge and the Jaguar E-type.

Richard Parry, executive of the Canal and River Trust, who is receiving the award, said: “I am delighted to receive this award on behalf of the trust.

“I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the skills and efforts of the engineers who designed and built the boat lift, and the work of all those who played such a vital role in its restoration and re-opening.

“I would also like to thank our team of staff and volunteers who look after it today and welcome the 100,000 plus visitors to Anderton every year.”

The award will be presented by John Wood, chairman of the Institution’s Engineering Heritage Committee.

Mr Wood said: “The engineers who originally conceived the idea of the Boat Lift were tackling a difficult problem with an ambitious solution.

“The lift is just as impressive today as it would have been in the 19th century.

“This award recognises the work of both the original designers and engineers as well as their modern day colleagues who have re-engineered this Boat Lift and restored it to such impressive working order.”

The Anderton Boat Lift is one of only two operational boat lifts in the UK.

The other boat lift, the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, received an Engineering Heritage Award in July 2012.

The lift, which is a scheduled monument protected by unauthorised change, was closed in 1983 due to corrosion and was reopened again in 2002.