Memorandum submitted by the Millennium
Commission (FCS 2)
Thank you for your letter of 26 October regarding
the planned Scottish Committee inquiry. I will be happy to attend
the oral evidence session on 3 December.
I was asked to produce a written memorandum
on the job creation potential of the canal. This is not something
on which the Commission can comment with authority and I have
restricted my comments, in the attached note, to a short account
of the Millennium Project and an outline of the background the
decisions of the Millennium Commission to fund it. You will note
that while the potential regenerative benefits of the project
were clearly grasped by the Commissioners, they were not the sole
reason for the Commission's decision to offer funding.
The project reflects, in this respect, the Commission's
wider grant portfolio. We are not a regeneration agencythe
statutory purpose of the Millennium Commission is to fund, or
assist in the funding, of projects to mark the passing of the
second millennium and the arrival of the third. Job creation and
economic regeneration are not therefore our primary purpose. Nonetheless,
we have identified significant economic impacts deriving from
our funding programmes, which were outlined in our recent Economic
Impact Assessment, a copy of which I also attach. The Millennium
Link is cited as a case study on page 40.
|Total Project cost:
|Millennium Commission Grant awarded||£32,214,310
A project to re-open to navigation 110 kms of the Forth &
Clyde and Union Canals, thus linking not only Scotland's major
east and west coast rivers but also the cities of Glasgow and
Edinburgh. This is being achieved by removing obstacles such as
in filled sections and low headroom bridges, refurbishing locks
and building a transfer mechanismthe Falkirk Wheelto
allow boats to pass between the two canals. The canals traverse
the most heavily populated areas of Scotland stretching between
Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The Project was offered grant in February 1997, having originally
been identified as a suitable project in June 1996. The route
of the canal was amended in late 1996 to cover a shortfall in
co-funding, caused by a reduction in the level of support from
The Commission noted in considering the application in June
1996 that it was estimated that approximately 4,000 jobs could
be created over 4-5 years in the development along the canal corridor.
Commissioners were attracted by the prospect of the derelict and
disconnected canals being reopened. They were obviously supportive
of the potential regeneration and the creation of new jobs, but
were particularly interested in supporting the creation of a significant
millennial feature in the Falkirk Wheel.
Identified Economic Impacts
The project was examined as part of the Commission's Economic
Impact Assessment of its Programmes, published in 2001. The study
identified the project as having had an impact on the regeneration
of surrounding areas, in some cases having acted as a catalyst
for surrounding regeneration, and noted that it had redeveloped
disused and contaminated land. It stated that the project had
the potential to generate significant follow-on investment, although
added that only time would tell whether this potential was realised.
The Study also stated that the millennium project had enabled
the linking together of several discrete development sites which
were unlikely to have attracted the same level of interest if
considered separately. The project was felt to have the potential
to create a line of regeneration, along the length of the canal,
on discrete sites.
Mike O'Connor CBE
13 November 2001
Available from Millennium Commission. Back