14 June 2012

(S4O-01136) Canals (Environmental Improvements)

Sarah Boyack (Lothian) (Lab): 8. To ask the Scottish Executive what work it is doing to improve the local environment around the canal network. (S4O-01136)

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change (Stewart Stevenson): We provide British Waterways Scotland with Scottish Government grant support of £10 million per year. British Waterways works closely with partners across Scotland to make a significant and positive impact. An example is the Helix Trust project, which attracted funding of £25 million from the Big Lottery Fund and transformed around 350 hectares of underused land into vibrant new parkland.

Sarah Boyack: I very much welcome the minister’s answer. In Edinburgh, the Fountainbridge canalside initiative has been formed by local enthusiasts to promote better environmental quality, an urban orchard, allotments and increased biodiversity. What support is available to help such groups to progress their plans and bring them to fruition?

Stewart Stevenson: I very much share Sarah Boyack’s interest in canals. In urban settings such as Fountainbridge there are big opportunities to improve the environment by using the canal as an anchor point. Partnership working with British Waterways Scotland, which is well used to working directly with a range of community bodies, is the most appropriate approach.

Stewart Stevenson
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