The comprehensive strategy will play a key role as the organisation looks to achieve its goal of having canals act as catalysts for sustainable development in communities across Scotland.
It assesses Scottish Canals’ current performance in 10 key environmental areas and identifies ways in which existing achievements can be built on during the next decade.
The document is designed to provide Scottish Canals with a blueprint for responding to emerging environmental challenges while also identifying environmentally friendly ways, such as reducing electricity usage, to minimise costs.
It has been developed in partnership with organisations including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Fit for the Future Network, National Trust for Wales and Resource Efficient Scotland.
Operating the 137 miles of its network presents Scottish Canals with a number of unique environmental opportunities and challenges. The diverse range of the organisation’s work means it is potentially subject to more than 130 pieces of environmental legislation which apply not only to the canals and their towpaths, but also the 3,180 fixed assets it manages on the network.
This includes 251 bridges, 212 buildings, 256 locks, The Falkirk Wheel and 19 water supply reservoirs in locations across Scotland. The reservoirs cover an area equivalent to 7,494 football pitches and supply the canals with the, up to, 332 million litres of water which flow through them each day.
The canal system is inherently energy efficient with 95% of its water supply being gravity fed. Scottish Canals takes more than 10,500 measurements of water flows and levels each year to ensure the network operates smoothly and safely for the range of activities undertaken by the 22 million people who visit the canals annually.