FIFE Council has commenced work on a three-year programme to bring improvements along the Lyne Burn in Dunfermline.
The local authority, in partnership with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), will complete the works in two stages beginning with the restoration of the Lyne Burn.
A contribution of £1.1 million From the water environment fund administered by SEPA will restore a 500m artificially straightened section of of the burn to a more natural condition, connecting to the recently built flood scheme extending the length of river with high quality habitat.
Alice Tree, river restoration specialist at SEPA, said, “Rivers such as this which have been straightened lack natural habitats for wildlife. Working with Fife Council and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust we look forward to beginning the work on Rex Park, where we will create a place in the centre of Dunfermline for people and waterside wildlife to enjoy.”
Further work will see improvements made to wildlife habitats, greenspaces and new seating installed. With a £150,000 transformation of the Touch Community Garden planned to follow in the autumn. Tripling in size, the garden will include a community food growing area and an orchard and will become the home of the charity Grow and Play who provide locals with volunteering opportunities as well as outdoor learning.
In the second year of the project, work will shift to the nearby Lyne Burn Park where £100,000 is set to be invested by Fife Council in greenspace improvements, upgraded pathways and landscaping. The area will also benefit from new seating and public art.
To round the project off, there will be improvements to play equipment at the Rex and Lyne Burn parks and a tree planting programme in Touch.
Jeremy Harris, CEO of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming the local community to take part in the various activities we have planned, connecting with nature, and learning about the river’s wildlife. We’ve already been able to welcome pupils from St Columbas High School to a river sampling session. The restoration works allow for the community to get involved in ‘before and after’ monitoring of the water quality and what lives there – a great example of citizen science in action.”
Councillor Judy Hamilton, convener of Fife Council’s community and housing services sub-committee, said, “I’m delighted to see the Lyne Burn project coming to life after some delays. This will improve and connect greenspaces for our communities to enjoy. We have declared a climate emergency in Fife. I would add that we have a climate and ecological emergency – and by creating greenspace, if managed well, it can attract biodiversity and some wildlife back to its habitat.
“We know that physical activity and being outdoors is so good for our health and wellbeing and the cycle path already in place ensures that people can walk or cycle safely and enjoy all that it has to offer.”