Scottish Canals ‘net zero by 2030’ amid Falkirk Wheel project

The public body will put £250k into installing 85 new solar panels at the landmark.

Scottish Canals ‘net zero by 2030’ amid Falkirk Wheel project iStock

Scottish Canals has announced plans to reach net zero by 2030 with a green investment in one of the country’s landmark attractions.

The public body will put £250,000 into The Falkirk Wheel to install 85 new solar panels and generate up to 18,000kWh per annum.

It would save the equivalent of 5.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year at the world’s only rotating boatlift.

New air source heat pumps will be also be installed with sub-metering to track renewable energy generation in real time and display it in a newly-refurbished visitor centre.

Transport minister Graeme Dey said: “I am pleased to join Scottish Canals in announcing its plans to reach net zero for direct carbon emissions by 2030 – which continue with the latest green investments at the Falkirk Wheel.

“Over 500,000 visitors a year to the Falkirk Wheel will be able to see the live effect of renewable energy generation at the site.

“Scottish Canals continues to invest in zero emission vehicles, working collaboratively on climate adaptation infrastructure and the promotion of sustainable tourism and active travel.

“It is this collaborative approach which will support Scotland in meeting its world leading target of net zero emissions by 2045.”

The investment comes after the Scottish Government’s Switched On Fleets grant enabled Scottish Canals to procure 19 electric vans, which are used by operational staff daily and were estimated to save 15 tonnes of carbon in the first year alone.

The non-departmental body will also open a new low carbon canal centre of excellence in Falkirk in 2023.

Catherine Topley, Scottish Canals CEO, said: “Our canals were once the lifeline of the industrial revolution transporting coal and other materials to power factories and industries in cities.

“Now Scottish Canals are at the forefront of the green revolution. Our ambition is matched only by our determination to deliver a cleaner, greener future than that which we inherited.

“Our canals were one of the very first sustainable transport networks in the country, using only 20% of the energy required to travel on land.

“250 years on from their creation they remain a beacon for sustainable transport, tourism and economic growth on land and water.

“Our journey to Net Zero is practical and collaborative, we are working with our partners to create change within communities where carbon reduction, nature-based solutions and health benefits are at the forefront of our plans and not in hindsight.”

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