MSP Stephen Kerr has pledged to support Scottish Canals at the Scottish Parliament, following a meeting held at the Falkirk Wheel this week.
Scottish Canals, who are looking to move their HQ to Falkirk, are responsible for looking after all 137 miles of canals across Scotland, including iconic locations such as The Kelpies, The Falkirk Wheel and Loch Ness in the highlands. Canals are rising in importance, as the utilities they offer are still as pertinent as they once were. More people are looking to live on houseboats, and plans are underway for the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands to be used to transport freight again.
1.5 million people in Scotland live within 3 miles of a canal, which means the towpaths can be incorporated into many urban areas’ active travel networks, providing cycle routes and walkways.
Stephen Kerr MSP said:
“Scottish Canals needs to have the freedom to make the decisions that will fully utilise Scotland’s canal network, including the vital Forth & Clyde and Union canals in Falkirk. This includes usage of land that could be used to build new homes, finding new ways to attract more people to the canals, and improving education so the next generation can find out more about the history of the canal network.
Scottish Canals have my full support and I’ll do what I can in the Scottish Parliament to support them.”
Catherine Topley, CEO of Scottish Canals, said: “I was delighted to welcome Stephen to The Falkirk Wheel. It is vital that the successes of the nation’s inland waterways are shared with elected members across the length and breadth of Scotland.
Scotland’s canal network is undergoing a modern renaissance and at its heart is Falkirk. With the world’s only rotating boatlift, The Falkirk Wheel, and the largest pair of equine structures on the planet, The Kelpies, both in Falkirk there has led to a dramatic change in the landscape over the last 20 years. These iconic steel structures not only shape the local skyline but are two of the largest contributors in Forth Valley’s £110m tourism economy supporting over 2,000 local jobs.”