New lease of life for Bathgate Burn
A project to enhance the environment around the Bog Burn has been approved by West Lothian Council.
The project will restore the Burn - which flows through the heart of Bathgate and has been heavily degraded over the years. Large sections are also hidden from view and inaccessible to the community.
The project is located between the 144 hectare Wester Inch housing development and the town centre, and between Blackburn Road and Glasgow Road. The area has been impacted over the years by industries that have come and gone; from mining and ironworks, and finally truck manufacturing.
The Bathgate Water Partnership has also been formed consisting of officers from SEPA, Sustrans, Forth River Trust, Green Action Trust and West Lothian Council. The council will take the lead on the project with partners providing financial support and expert knowledge.
The vision for the project is to work with local people to create a large, high quality, accessible and wildlife rich nature park on former industrial land, regenerating the rivers that run through the town, creating new direct connections between Blackburn, Wester Inch and the historic town centre and its transport hubs.
It is hoped that this will inject new life into the town centre and provide natural space where wildlife can prosper and people can enjoy.
The funding via the Scottish Government's Water Environment Fund administered by SEPA and the Places for Everyone fund through Sustrans Scotland is in place to progress the design. These funds support the aim of the project; to create a better environment for wildlife and people by restoring damaged river corridors, enhance the ecological value of the river, improve public amenity and encourage active travel.
Community engagement was carried out by consultants in the early stages of the project. Further engagement with the community will take place throughout the development of the project.
West Lothian Council's Executive councillor for the Environment, Tom Conn said: "Restoring the Bog Burn will ensure that it becomes a functional part of the landscape once more. It will make it accessible to the local community and improve its ability to support a range of functions from helping manage surface water run off to supporting wildlife. Improving the local environment is one of the council's main priorities and this is a project we are proud to take part in and lead on."