Re-greening derelict land set to have big impact
Two land reclamation projects on former coalfield sites are set to create woodland, lock up carbon and improve the environment for the benefit of wildlife and local communities.
Forestry and Land Scotland has been working with a number of partners since 2016 to restore vacant and derelict land sites to a state fit for woodland creation.
The two latest sites - Mainshill, (nr Douglas) South Lanarkshire and Blairhouse, (north of Oakley) Fife and both formerly Scottish Coal sites - are being restored by Forestry and Land Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust and the associated local planning authorities.
Robin Waddell, for FLS, said;
“These ambitious projects will contribute towards new woodland creation targets, lock up carbon, improve the environment and create greenspace for communities blighted by the legacy of opencast mining.
“At both of these sites the landforms and soils have been restored by Scottish Mines Restoration Trust working to our specification and now that that work has been completed and we have taken ownership of the sites we will start planting about 300,000 trees over the winter and into the spring of 2021 (depend on COVID-19 restrictions)
“As well as the new woodland, which will attract a wide range of wildlife, we’ll also be putting in place extensive walking and bridleway routes which will help to make both sites a valued recreation resource for local communities.”
The approved Land Management Plans for the sites includes a mix of new woodland with additional work to restore existing woodland.
Elements of these new woodlands will be registered to the Woodland Carbon Code, to independently verify the carbon captured by the trees as they grow.
Professor Russel Griggs, OBE, Chairman of Scottish Mines Restoration Trust said:
"When we first began this process, these sites were derelict, but they've now been completely transformed.
"We've ensured the local communities have been involved throughout the restoration process, and following this redevelopment, the sites will bring real value to those in the areas they are situated in.
"This transformation has been achieved thanks to all the parties involved who have worked together along the way to reach this positive outcome."
From 2021, FLS will look to work with partners seeking to invest in the carbon capture and broader social and environmental benefits of innovative woodland creation projects.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.