A HERITAGE strategy for Scotland's canals has been launched as part of a 25-year improvement scheme for the country's waterways.

The plan has four aims, conservation and management; participation and learning; access and interpretation; and sustainability.

The ambitions include finding a new use for the oldest canal related building in Scotland, the Applecross Workshops at Hamiltonhill Basin on the Forth and Clyde Canal.

A volunteering project to record the history of the Forth and Clyde Canal will also be developed after a similar scheme was carried out for the Caledonian Canal in the north of Scotland.

Last month, the Evening Times reported Scottish Canals was developing a 25-year strategy to safeguard the future of the canals and planned for more housing and businesses in new canalside communities.

Steve Dunlop, chief executive of Scottish Canals, said: "As custodians of Scotland's canals, our rich 250 year-old heritage is vitally important, not just to those who live next to or use the inland waterways, but to Scotland as a whole.

"However, it is not just the physical infrastructure of the canals that is important, but the wealth of material in our archives and the staggering knowledge of our staff – some of whom are fourth generation canal men and women.

"If we are to safeguard the canals for future generations, we need to preserve this rich heritage."

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk