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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK
Canal freight plan takes to water
Freight being lowered onto a barge
Electronic and electrical waste will be transported by barge
Freight could make a return to Scotland's waterways if a new six-week trial proves a success.

East Dunbartonshire Council is leading the project using commercial barges on the Forth and Clyde Canal.

It forms part of a larger study to examine the possibility of creating an electrical goods recycling and training facility near Kirkintilloch.

Canals are viewed as an environmentally sound means to deliver materials like waste and timber.

If widely adopted it could reduce the number of heavy vehicles on the roads.

During the trial, which also involves the Lowland Canals Steering Group, several tonnes of electronic and electrical waste will be shipped from Glasgow and Bishopbriggs to Twechar.

Freight container on a barge
Waste white goods were part of one of the first trial cargoes

The group claims each boat journey represents the equivalent of 12 lorry journeys.

British Waterways business development manager Richard Millar said: "The economics of it stack up quite well for moving certain types of material, and certainly waste is one of those.

"If you're moving large bulk materials that isn't time sensitive then we can make the economic case and encourage freight onto the canal."

Councillor Julia Southcott said different types of freight would be loaded on and off at different locations to study the feasibility of the system in practice.

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