Canal custodians call on drivers to take their litter home

Scottish Canals join forces with Keep Scotland Beautiful to launch anti-littering initiative

Scottish Canals has joined forces with Keep Scotland Beautiful to launch a new anti-littering initiative at The Falkirk Wheel, following a growing issue with the amount of rubbish being dropped on roadsides and in car parks around the site. The campaign will encourage visitors to dispose of their litter appropriately or take it home with them.

The project supports Keep Scotland Beautiful’s roadside litter campaign Give your litter a lift, take it home, which is working to tackle the growing problem of litter on Scotland’s main roads and iconic routes. The campaign brings together government, industry, charities and the public sector in partnership to drive forward innovative Scotland-wide interventions. These raise awareness of the impacts of roadside litter – testing out new solutions which change behaviours to help solve the ever-increasing problem.

Scottish Canals joined Keep Scotland Beautiful at The Falkirk Wheel to launch the project. Campaign posters will be prominent throughout the area and bins will be branded with attention grabbing stickers – reminding visitors to do the right thing with their litter. Images of the campaign posters and the launch can be found here.

Scottish Canals staff will be monitoring litter levels on site throughout the summer and hope to see a reduction as a result of this initiative. With millions of visitors to Scotland’s canals each year, the team works really hard keeping the areas around the canals clean – protecting the environment and preserving the experience for new sightseers.

So far, baseline monitoring at a selection of car parks recorded 166 items of litter over two days, including 52 items of recyclable plastic. Over half of the litter observed came from people eating and drinking on the go. It is estimated that, on average, upwards of 50 littering offences take place each day at visitor car parks alone.

“We’re extremely pleased to be working with Keep Scotland Beautiful once again to raise awareness of littering on our waterways and to encourage our visitors to dispose of their litter in the right way.

“Littering and fly tipping of waste unfortunately can be a problem on the Lowland Canals, particularly in urban areas.  Already, in the first six months of the year, our staff and hundreds of volunteers have collected over a tonne (1300kg) of litter from The Forth & Clyde and Union canals.

“Not only is this litter unsightly, but it can also harm the wide array of wildlife that call our canals home.

“We’re launching this campaign today at The Falkirk Wheel, one of our busiest tourist attractions, in hope that we can raise awareness so that we can really make a difference to this important global environmental issue.”

Dr Olivia Lassiere, Scottish Canals’ Environment Manager

With 80% of marine litter deriving from land-based sources, this latest campaign will help to keep litter out of Scotland’s canals and support Scottish Canals and Keep Scotland Beautiful in their roles of conserving and protecting the environment and heritage for all to enjoy.

“We are delighted to be working with Scottish Canals on this new anti-littering initiative. It is a straightforward problem with a straightforward solution - if people do the right thing.

“’Give your litter a lift, take it home’ is about everyone being considerate and responsible when it comes to their litter. Littering anywhere is never acceptable. Scotland is a beautiful country and deserves better. We need to learn that, even if there is no bin, we hold onto our litter until we find one - or otherwise take it home! .”

Georgina Massouraki, Roadside Litter Campaign Officer with Keep Scotland Beautiful

Materials are now on display at all of the Scottish Canals’ visitors centres. Further information can be found at

Notes to Editors

1. Keep Scotland Beautiful is the charity that campaigns, acts and educates on a range of local, national and global environmental issues to change behaviour and improve the quality of people’s lives and the places they care for. We are committed to making Scotland clean, green and sustainable.

2. The Keep Scotland Beautiful roadside litter campaign has been made possible with investment from industry, including members of the British Soft Drinks Association and McDonald’s and working in partnership with, Transport Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, VisitScotland, road operating companies and local authorities.

3. The national campaign is urging road users to take personal responsibility for their litter, encouraging them to “give their litter a lift, and take it home.

4. Keep Scotland Beautiful is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO): Number SC030332.

5. Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See or follow @ScottishCanals for more information

6. The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 140 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness

7. Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles

8. Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas

9. The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22 million visits per year. See for more information

10. Media enquiries to Peter Duncan 07740 469949 / or Kirsty Leiper 07908 781 331/

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