RADICAL plans to open Loch Lomond to the sea are certain to have a ‘devastating affect’ on angling, it is being been claimed.
The Scottish Executive has approved plans to end the loch’s landlocked status by transforming the River Leven into a canal, linking
Loch Lomond
with the River Clyde.
However, furious anglers fear the changes will cause an invasion of alien species into the water, possibly destroying one of the best salmon and sea trout rivers in
The Scottish Anglers National Association say they are “very concerned” and will take action to try and block the plans.
A spokesman said: “This could be potentially disastrous for the Leven and
Loch Lomond
. There is a very real risk of a number of species entering the waters, which could have very damaging long- term effects.
“We will consult our members with a view to challenging these proposals,” he added.
Under the plans, sailors would be able to travel from the
into the loch for the first time in decades.
In recent times, a barrage used by water authorities at Balloch has separated the two waterways. That barrage would be replaced by a series of locks and seven miles of the Leven would have to be dredged.
lain Gray, Transport Minister, said he wanted to create a ‘Scottish canal culture’ similar to that in many European countries.
In the Executive’s first canal policy document, he said: “
Scotland has some of the most historic canals in Britain
. We must make more of these historic assets and use them to encourage economic regeneration.”
But Professor Peter Maitland, a leading fishery biologist, warned: “By opening up
Loch Lomond to the canal, it would be inevitable that invasive species would enter the loch. There would be very substantial consequences from disturbing the Leven.”