Funding boost keeps Scotland’s canals flowing into the future

The Scottish Government has announced an additional £8.2 million in funding for Scottish Canals for 2020-2021.

The news, which sees an increase in total grant funding from £15m to £23.2m, will support the conservation of Scotland’s network of inland waterways and ensure that regeneration and sustainability work continues at pace.

Scottish Canals has undertaken various large-scale projects to support Scotland’s canals in the previous year. These include a £3 million investment in lock gate replacement works in the Highlands, £1.1 million to fully re-open the Union Canal at Linlithgow and an £820,000 investment in upgrades to The Falkirk Wheel. A new three-year Corporate Plan is due to be published in time for the new financial year, which will outline Scottish Canals strategic priorities and vision for the future.

‘I’m delighted that the Scottish Government has expressed its continued dedication to the work we do to maintain these living monuments. From the majestic Caledonian Canal and the beautiful Crinan to the popular boating and tourist destinations along the Lowland Canals, these 250-year old heritage assets have a lot to offer the people of Scotland. We are very aware that we operate in a climate of restrained economic activity. We will work to demonstrate the many social and economic benefits that continued investment in our canals bring to everyone who lives and visits here, and are keen to work in partnership to ensure that we deliver maximum impact’.

‘Looking to the future and the uncertainty of climate change, our canals have an important role to play in supporting sustainable travel, flood management, and access to green space for our urban communities. This additional funding demonstrates continued confidence in Scottish Canals’ ability to create innovative solutions for the future. I’m excited to be at the helm of what is sure to be a period of continued transformation and success’.

Catherine Topley, Chief Executive at Scottish Canals

Regeneration work in areas as diverse as North Glasgow, Bowling Harbour and Ardrishaig has also brought new opportunities and services to canal-side communities, while tourist destination development and canal maintenance operations have ensured the waterways remain a vibrant place of activity for all and boosted the Scottish economy.

‘It’s been an incredibly busy year for Scottish Canals and we’re immensely proud to see our hard work recognised, particularly at a time of limited resources. A priority for us will continue to be building on the partnerships we have across the public, private and third sectors. We want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to get involved in what we do. These canals benefit everyone – from the towpath users and boaters who enjoy health and wellbeing benefits from being close to nature, to the thriving businesses that contribute to and benefit from the vibrancy of the waterways. It’s only by working together and sharing our ideas about the future of the canals that they will continue to be cherished and protected for generations to come’.

Andrew Thin, Scottish Canals Chairman

Notes to Editors

Scottish Canals

Scottish Canals is the custodian of Scotland’s 250-year-old public canal network. They work to conserve the canals and their surrounding areas as part of Scotland’s national heritage, and transform them to play a vital role in Scotland today.

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of the Forth & Clyde, Union, Monlands, Caledonian and Crinan Canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

For further information, please contact:

Media contact:

Lisa Clark
Tel:   01413547555
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Josie Saunders
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