Edinburgh Canal Strategy Success

Last month the Edinburgh Union Canal Strategy was recognised at the Waterways Renaissance Awards.

The strategy, a partnership project between the City of Edinburgh Council and Scottish Canals, came top in the strategy and masterplanning category

It aims to ensure the maximum use of the 200-year-old Union Canal by locals and visitors to Edinburgh by promoting a  wide range of activities like boating, rowing, walking, cycling and fishing.

The strategy hopes to create hubs along the waterway where recreational, business and community uses can come together to develop a ‘canal culture’ .

Issues such as access, lighting, moorings, developments, public art and renewable energy will also be looked at across the length of the 16km canal which are in Edinburgh.

Historically canals were the backbone of the industrial revolution, allowing for mass transport of raw materials and finished goods.  However, the emergence of the railway and improvements in road infrastructure heralded a decline in the canals’ fortune.

As the Scottish Parliament’s first transport minister it was my task to kick off the process of revitalising Scotland’s canals, restoring them from their derelict state and making them places that people want to visit.

The sorts of initiative explored in the strategy, and through groups such as the Fountainbridge Canalside Initiative, show the community and economic benefits that regeneration can deliver.

I have lodged a motion in Parliament congratulating the Edinburgh strategy on its success and I hope to see its plans come to fruition in the years ahead.