Restoration of canal brings a £178m benefit

THE Millennium Link canal restoration has brought £178 million of investment and over 4000 jobs to central Scotland in the past five years, according to new research.

Speaking at British Waterways Scotland's annual meeting in Edinburgh, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said the findings were evidence of a "renaissance" of the nation's canals.

Consultants Roger Tym & Partners, which has monitored the project for the Scottish Government since 2003, also said more than 1000 new homes had been built along the route.

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The 84.5m Millennium Link reunited the Forth & Clyde and Union canals' historic link between Edinburgh and Glasgow after a break of 70 years.

The Edinburgh Quay regeneration has been one of the biggest highlights of the link, along with regeneration alongside the canal through West Lothian.

Mr Stevenson said: "It is great to see evidence of a renaissance of our canals and waterways. They are a key resource for Scotland. Underused for many years, there is now a fantastic opportunity to build on recent investment."

Steve Dunlop, director Scotland at British Waterways added: "We've had tremendous support from the Scottish Government and our other partners as we have sought to inject life back into the canals."