Memorandum submitted by British Waterways
Scotland (FCS 6)
1. British Waterways is a public corporation
sponsored by the Scottish Executive in Scotland and by the Department
of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England and Wales. Scotland's
220 km canal network includes the Forth and Clyde, Union , Monkland,
Crinan and Caledonian Canals.
2. More detail of our activities and our
plans is in the documents that form Appendix 1.
British Waterways' role is:
to promote the sustainable development
of the waterways;
to take a commercial approach;
to manage the waterways holistically,
balancing economic, social and environmental interests and impacts.
We work in partnership with the public, private
and voluntary sectors to fulfil this role.
3. With partners we made a proposal in 1994
to restore coast to coast navigation by reopening the Forth &
Clyde and Union Canals from Edinburgh to Glasgow. This was intended
to create a vibrant and vital waterspace and so create a "corridor
of opportunity". The canals would act as a catalyst and focus
for regeneration. What was essential to long term sustainability
was a secure and well managed infrastructure and the realisation
of the economic goals. This will provide a firm basis for environmental
and community enhancements.
4. The proposal aimed to:
create development and jobs;
conserve heritage and enhance the
capture the spirit of the age; and
provide enduring landmarks.
More details of the anticipated job creation
outputs from the project are in Appendix 2.
5. It is important to note that the proposal
was not just about urban renewal and revitalising urban communities.
The canals pass through fragile rural communities whose unique
and complex challenges can also benefit from regeneration effects.
6. Partnership between a number of organisations
was essential to make and deliver the proposal. Details of the
partner organisations and their funding contribution at the inception
of the project appear as Appendix 3.
7. British Waterways Scotland has delivered
the first phase of the proposal. The innovative and high risk
civil engineering works are nearing completion to time and cost.
We have built 5.2km of new canal, constructed 28 new road bridges,
removed 300,000 tonnes of dredgings and upgraded 83km of towpath.
More detailed facts and figures are in Appendix 4. Providing the
secure infrastructure is the start of the journey to unlock the
full potential of Scotland's Lowland Canals.
8. British Waterways has a high commitment
to see the project delivered to provide the foundation for jobs
and growth in the central belt. To ensure the success of the project
British Waterways has utilised its wide expertise and technical
and staff resources from around the UK. We have the extent of
our commitment exemplified by the fact that our actual financial
contribution has been far in excess of that shown in Appendix
9. The project supported over 700 construction
jobs at its peak and has safeguarded 40 jobs within BW. This is
in line with the anticipated targets.
10. In addition to the original scope of
the project we have also invested in the construction of a dedicated,
custom designed visitor centre at Falkirk. This centre will act
as a magnet for new tourism activities at the wheel site and for
the canals in general. It will employ about 30 full time equivalent
11. In addition to the civil engineering
works we have also worked with partners to continually develop
the ways to help get people involved with the project. This work
establishing and supporting the Lowland
Canals Steering Committee and Advisory Group;
developing new networks in sport,
leisure and international tourism;
12. An example of a successful PublicPrivate
Partnership is British Waterways' joint initiative with Miller
Construction. This will see new life breathed into a neglected
inner city area of Edinburgh by a new £60 million mixed use
development. These partnerships are essential to ensure BW is
able to continue to operate and reinvest in the canals and the
13. The project has also seen greater activity
since the opening of the Forth and Clyde Canal in May 2001 when
a flotilla of 40 boats navigated the canal. Since then, over 100
boats have travelled through the Forth and Clyde Canal. Many of
these boats returned following completion of the first coast-to-coast
transit of the canal for four decades.
14. The effects are not just about boats.
Boats are essential because they are one way of bringing life
to the waterspaceand so attract more people. The reopening
of the Forth and Clyde Canal illustrated the attractiveness of
the water with over 50,000 people attending. Early indications
are that towpath useage has already increased in certain areas
In Wester Hailes, residents now talk of "our swans"
when referring to the increased numbers of these birds that have
settled there following our work. Also, through our work with
voluntary groups and others we are providing increased access
for people with disabilities.
15. British Waterways Scotland benefits
from British Waterways long and successful involvement in urban
and rural regeneration projects in the UK and internationally
creating over 20,000 jobs in the last 10 years. This experience
shows that in the context of the reopened Forth and Clyde and
Union Canals the following factors are likely to be relevant.
16. All the partners need to have a shared
vision of what can be delivered overall, which of their desired
outcomes this will help them achieve and how they will make this
happen. To do this each partner needs to include the development
of the canals within their own strategic planning process. They
also need to be clear about the optimum level of commitment of
time and money to see the outcomes delivered. Of particular importance
is the view and involvement of the Scottish Executive, Local Authorities
and Scottish Enterprise.
17. All potential stakeholders should be
made aware of the opportunities that now exist for them and how
they can get involved. A co-ordinated communication campaign is
essential to deliver this. Those who become involved need to work
to the common vision. Other agencies need to take the lead to
ensure that development activities are developed in areas of the
18. All agencies need to manage their marketing
and communications in a co-ordinated way to attract new visitors
and customers to the canal corridor.
19. Public sector agencies need to have
a willingness to facilitate commercial activities by the private
sector that are viable and sustainable.
20. British Waterways Scotland needs to
engage with all sectorspublic, private and voluntary. We
will use our partnership team to maximise community benefits.
In addition The Waterways Trust has a valuable role to play in
its charitable role to engage the voluntary sector. We welcome,
support and develop sustainable commercial activities to generate
the necessary funding to supplement government support. These
will be in, for example: property, leisure and tourism developments
and the sustainable use of natural resources.
21. British Waterways Scotland can only
guarantee the future of the canals if other partners play their
full part to realise the benefits of regeneration. Scotland will
only gain full value from all our and our partners' hard work
and investment if this happens.
22. British Waterways Scotland and our partners
must work together to maximise the growth potential of the canals'
corridor of opportunity in line with the vision and our values.
We wish to see ourselves transform from the lead partner on the
project to being a lead partner in the realisation of the vision.
Appendix 1 Annual Report and Accounts
Our Plan for the Future 2001-2005
Appendix 2 Millennium Link ProjectAnticipated
Appendix 3 Millennium Link Project
Funders and funding commitments at project inception
Appendix 4 Forth and Clyde Canal and
Re-opening project statistics
1 Not published. Back