In this first of a kind collaboration between Scottish Canals and Historic Environment Scotland (HES), a significant amount of works carried out on Scotland’s canals to maintain and preserve the 200 year old assets will now fall under a pre-agreed list of works under Section 17 of the Ancient Monuments & Archaeological Areas Act 1979.
The streamlining of the process will allow Scottish Canals to focus on more complex pieces of work in partnership with HES, and will see time previously spent on multiple Scheduled Monument Consent applications directed to other projects.
This will allow Scottish Canals to continue working on their Asset Management Strategy; managing investments and directing resources to assets in the interest of public value and safety. A majority of the projects under the Asset Management Strategy will now be pre-approved with the signing of the new agreement.
Barbara Cummins, Director of Heritage at HES said: “We are delighted to have worked with Scottish Canals to produce this agreement which acts in a similar manner to a pre-agreed Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC). This will enable Scottish Canals to carry out essential work without applying for a new SMC each time, saving time and resource.
“This collaboration highlights the importance of partnership working to protect and manage our historic environment, and we hope that it will enhance the benefit of these features of our industrial past for the many people who use, live on, work on or beside, and enjoy the canals.”
Chris O’Connell Scottish Canals Heritage Manager said: “The agreement is a recognition of Scottish Canals and Historic Environment Scotland’s commitment to the nation’s heritage, and will enhance the operation and maintenance of Scotland’s Historic Canals.”
The signing of the agreement was recognised by a virtual meeting held online and attended by both parties on the 23rd of March 2021.
An example of ongoing works which will now fall under the newly signed Section 17 Agreement is the replacement of the Lock Gates on the Caledonian Canal.
The gates are over 30 years old and therefore based on age, condition and risk, are considered a priority for replacement. You can find out more about the type of work which will fall under the new agreement on the Scottish Canals website.
While the Heritage Directorate currently has a Section 17 Agreement with the HES Conservation Directorate, the signing of the agreement will be the first of its kind in Scotland to see an external organisation granted with these permissions. You can find out more about the work that HES do on their website.