A multi-purpose canal stretching from the Scottish border to the outskirts of London could provide a number of sustainability services right along its length. The main one would be transporting water from the north to the south. The south east of England is both one of the driest and the most populous region in the UK, while eastern England is even drier and its agriculture sector requires lots of water for irrigation. By 2030, the UK needs to produce 50% more food than it does today, according to the government, and we will need 30% more fresh water. In the longer term, the canal could be extended north of the border to give access to Scottish water as well.
The UK government is cautiously encouraging of the plan. A spokesperson for the Environment Agency warned: “Water is heavy and costly to move across long distances, and transferring water through canals and rivers can cause damage to the environment so proposals for new transfers need careful consideration.”