With effect from 2nd July 2012, Scottish Canals has responsibilities under the Public Service Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 for reporting certain expenditure.

(in accordance with the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010)

  • Payments in excess of £25k – £19,653k
  • Public Relations/Marketing – £121k
  • Overseas Travel – £2k
  • External Consultancy – £67k


  • Advertising
  • Social media
  • Design work
  • Training
  • Subscriptions
  • Event management
  • In-house staff costs
  • Any other promotional activity
Members or employees who received remuneration of excess of £150k


Does not include receipt of pension, voluntary severance compromise agreements or redundancy payments

No. of individuals: none

Scottish Canals is committed to delivering increased value through improvements in the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of its functions. As part of the Efficient Government Programme, Scottish Canals had a cumulative target of achieving £396k of efficiency savings by the end of the 2018/19 financial year. By the end of this financial year, Scottish Canals had achieved savings of £441k through the implementation of projects which have reduced expenditure and increased efficiency across the organisation, delivered by cumulative efficiencies achieved across a range of projects, specifically contract savings through the use of collaborative contracts as well as bespoke contracts for planned and reactive property maintenance, diving services, and a number of engineering and construction works.

The canals of Scotland are part of a working, living waterway network, used for navigation, regeneration, tourism and general recreation. Scottish Canals is committed to integrating the needs of those who visit and use the network with the actions needed to protect and enhance the canal environment and while complying with legislation and regulation, Scottish Canals aims to consistently achieve good practice and continually improve its environmental performance.

Responding to emerging environmental challenges, reducing our impact and enhancing the environment in its widest sense is integral to what Scottish Canals does now and to our future success. Scottish Canals’ Environment Strategy sets out how we intend to deliver sustainable benefits across a range of environmental themes in the period 2015-25 for our customers, the canal network and the wider environment. The strategy seeks to deliver on the aspirations set out in the Scottish Government National Performance Framework.

Where judgments have to be made between competing resources and conflicting activities, Scottish Canals will take the long term and strategic view. In doing so, it is presumed that this will favour the conservation of the environment.

During 2018/19, there has been continued careful management of environmental impact, including reducing the use of non-renewable resources, minimising waste, conserving water resources, promoting biodiversity and the prevention of pollution.

In support of the ambition to be acknowledged as an expert in achieving the most sustainable integration of the competing needs and uses of the waterways, Scottish Canals’ policies, procedures and systems are under regular review to ensure that environmental practices and performance reflect any changes in business circumstances, relevant legal requirements and stakeholder expectation. Scottish Canals uses the principles of environmental management systems and measures environmental performance through the aims and targets included in the ten year Environment Strategy.

Further to this, Scottish Canals’ Corporate Plan 2017-2020 confirmed our ongoing commitment to the highly ambitious Scottish Government targets for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Further details of our progress were published in January 2019, in Scottish Canals’ third statutory Climate Change Duties Report. Highlights from the report were:

  • Scottish Canals is included in the Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme as a body responsible for the delivery of the objective ‘to understand the effects of climate change and their impacts on buildings and infrastructure networks’.
  • In the reporting year, Construction of Glasgow’s Smart Canal (The North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System), an innovative flood alleviation system funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention for the Canal and North Gateway site in Glasgow started and is due for completion in 2019/20. The project combines the 250-year-old Forth and Clyde Canal and 21st century technology to provide surface water drainage to support significant regeneration in the north of the city. The pioneering digital surface water drainage system is unlocking 110 hectares for investment, regeneration and development, paving the way for more than 3,000 new affordable homes. Officially named the North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System, the project to create a so-called ‘sponge city’ will see North Glasgow passively absorb, clean and use rainfall intelligently. Advanced warning of heavy rainfall will automatically trigger a lowering of the canal water level to create capacity for surface water run-off. Before periods of heavy rain, canal water will be moved safely through a network of newly created urban spaces – from sustainable urban drainage ponds to granite channels – that absorb and manage water in a controlled way, creating space for surface water run-off.
  • The project is being delivered by Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Scottish Water under the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership. It uses sensor and predictive weather technology to provide early warning of wet weather to proactively reduce water levels in the canal by up to 100mm, thereby creating 55,000m3 of storage before receiving runoff and excess rainfall from residential and business across a number of key regeneration sites. Preliminary estimates indicate that the project will deliver CO2 savings of ~500 tonnes per year by reducing the amount of wastewater requiring to be pumped and treated, through separating it and using the canal network for conveyance.
  • Scottish Canals continues to work closely with its contractors to increase the rate of recycling of our general waste. Scottish Canals was also on the steering group developing the new Code of Practice for Litter and Refuse published in May 2019. This code focuses on the value of education and prevention measures to reduce the level of littering across Scotland, including on and around our waterways.
  • Scottish Canals is grateful for the support from volunteers and partners to improve the value of the canal network for wildlife and to manage litter in the reporting year. Partnering with volunteers, Scottish Canals initiated its innovative Paddle Pick Up Programme in 2018 to collect water-borne litter on the Lowland Canals.
  • Scottish Canals is leading the development of innovative management techniques to control the spread of a pernicious non-native invasive amphibious plant New Zealand Pigmyweed (NZP) (Crassula helmsii) in and around the Caledonian Canal, Inverness. This is being supported by the Can Do Innovation Challenge Fund (CDIF), which is administered by Scottish Enterprise. NZP has been found growing on land and in the water in the canal system. It is a significant problem that threatens the native biodiversity and has the potential to clog waterways and impede navigation. This alien plant is able to spread from the smallest fragment of stem and has the potential to invade many other water bodies in Scotland.


Scottish Canals has plans to recruit four expert teams of Scotland based innovators from the marine engineering and environmental sectors to develop new management techniques to control the spread of, and where possible eradicate, NZP on their estate in 2019/20. The Proof of Concept phase of the project will run to March 2020.

There were no significant environmental pollution events on land, air or water in 2017/18 and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) assessed Scottish Canals’ water use licence compliance for 2016 as good or excellent for all five canals and our waste water treatment sites.

Sustainability criteria were applied to all relevant contracts. We sell local food and crafts at our retail outlets. Community Benefits are now being incorporated into new contracts where applicable to provide additional ways of benefitting the local area in terms of Social, Economic and Environmental improvements. Procurement recruited a Modern Apprentice to assist in the running of the department and to further the aims of developing opportunities for young people.