Highland canals receive £1m dredging funding

The Scottish Government has awarded £1m of additional funding to Scottish Canals to undertake vital dredging works in the Highlands this winter.

Dredging will take place across the Caledonian and Crinan Canals from January 2021, ensuring these working heritage structures remain vibrant and busy and continuing to support local jobs and businesses.

Some 20,000 tonnes of material are expected to be removed from the canal channel which will make the canals easier to navigate and better able to welcome boating customers from around the world.

“This funding is part of the Scottish Government’s £230m Return to Work Package, which was announced in June, to mitigate some of the economic impacts of Covid-19 on the Scottish economy,” says Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport.

“This investment will encourage greater use of the canals – and with that greater use, brings various benefits to the West Coast and Highland economies.”

Dredging will be carried out between Laggan Spout and Kytra throughout February and March 2021, ahead of the season which welcomes an average of 4,300 transits per year from countries across Europe, America and even Asia.

“As home of the Great Glen and Loch Ness, the Caledonian Canal is one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions, generating millions of pounds for the local economy each year and helping to sustain jobs and businesses along the waterway,” says Andrew Thin, chair of Scottish Canals.

“To allow us to keep the canal in a fully operable condition, and continue delivering benefits to the local economy, the Scottish Government is providing us with the necessary funds to deliver much needed dredging works at Laggan over the coming months. This means we can continue to offer safe passage to vessels travelling coast to coast, whether they are transporting cargo or providing leisure and business travel for passengers.”

Works will commence at Ardrishaig Harbour on the Crinan Canal in January 2021 and will take place at locations along the length of the canal until March 2021.

This spend on dredging is part of a much wider investment in the Crinan Canal this winter, which also sees the replacement of lock gates one to four as well as improvements to existing bridge infrastructure at Cairnbaan, Oakfield and Crinan Ferry Bridge.

Caledonian Canal. Image courtesy of Scottish Canals.

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