A £1.1million contribution from the Water Environment Fund, which is administered by SEPA, restored a 500m artificially straightened section of the burn to a more natural condition, connecting to the recently built flood alleviation works on the burn. This extends the length of river habitat for wildlife.
Work has now begun on the second phase of the project which will see Touch’s community garden get a refurbishment, create an orchard wildflower meadow and trees being planted around Touch. A new seating area will be installed and the entrances at the Lyne Burn and Rex Parks will be improved too. The work is expected to be completed in April.
In the third phase of improvements, there will be a new allotment, as well as an orchard and garden at Lyne Burn Park. The Touch Community Garden will be extended to include a community food growing area. This phase, which is subject to planning permission, is expected to be completed by March 2023.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust will continue with their community engagement programme, offering adult learning courses exploring the outdoors with sessions taking place in Touch. They’ll also work with local volunteers and schools to plant trees and willow stakes along the restored burn. The programme is planned to run until 2024.
Not for profit enterprise Play and Grow are now based at Touch community garden and are planning activities during the year including litter picks, a children’s activity programme and planting days, where volunteers can get involved in community gardening. They’ll maintain the new wildflower meadow with local Scouts.
Cllr Judy Hamilton, Convener of Community & Housing Services Sub-Committee said: “I’m delighted to see the Lyne Burn project moving into the next phase. There’s lots for the local community to look forward to and get involved in as the work progresses. Play and Grow will bring exciting opportunities for everyone in the community to be part of this amazing project.
“Fife Council has declared that we have a climate emergency. I would argue that we have a climate and an ecological emergency and by creating greenspace we can attract biodiversity and some wildlife back to its habitat. The pandemic has demonstrated that people have really come to appreciate our outdoor spaces and their contribution to the health and wellbeing of our community cannot be underestimated. By improving and connecting this greenspace for the local community, I hope it will be somewhere people will be proud to have on their doorsteps and will continue to be enjoyed for years to come”
Jeremy Harris, Chief Executive of Fife Coast and Countryside Trust said: “I’m thrilled that FCCT has been able to support this community and encourage engagement with this important piece of work. The benefits – from health and wellbeing to biodiversity and climate resilience – are clear. Encouraging community support and a sense of local ownership in the area is essential to the long-term sustainability of the project.”
River Restoration Specialist at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Alice Tree, said: “SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment by helping communities thrive within the resources of our planet – we call this One Planet Prosperity. Our urban rivers are a vital part of our landscape and the heart of many communities, providing wildlife corridors and opportunities for recreation and wellbeing. However, like many of our natural resources, our rivers are under pressure and are even damaged in places due to the impacts of climate change.
“We are delighted to work with our partners on this project at Lyne burn to make it a thriving river again for nature and an enhanced green space for the communities of Dunfermline. Over the past few months, we have seen a straightened section of Lyne burn transformed. We look forward to this work continuing and are excited by the opportunities for the local community to be involved in the next two phases of the project.”