Restoring and enhancing habitats following surface mining in Scotland

Naturalised water treatment lagoon

Naturalised water treatment lagoon


Adam Fitchet

Adam Fitchet

Managing Consultant
T: +44 7876 594451
M: +44 7876 594451

Services we provided

Providing pragmatic and focused specialist environmental advice to Kier at their Greenburn Surface Mine site 

Plan to restore and enhance before mining begins

Ramboll has been involved with this site since before mining began in 1999. At that point the land was dominated by heavily grazed agricultural grasslands, with remnant patches of peatland. We helped the client prepare a conservation management plan (CMP) setting out the restoration objectives and protocols for the grassland and peatland habitats to inform the progressive restoration process on site. We have continually updated the CMP as it has developed with new initiatives and targets and have been monitoring and reporting on progress since.

Designing enhanced restoration areas with local schoolchildren

All habitats and watercourses have been restored and reinstated as far as possible within the requirements for the site to support farming in the future, always aiming to enhance them to a better state ecologically than they were prior to the mining. In combination with Kier, we used our extensive in-house flora and fauna knowledge to advise on the best species to use and features to create to maximise opportunities for biodiversity. This has resulted in the creation of an enhanced restoration area that was designed with input from local schoolchildren, which has a water feature, rock wall and artificial badger sett and far exceeds the planning requirements for restoration of that mining area.

Protected species successes

Ramboll has also assisted with the creation of a seasonal wetland near the diverted River Nith that has already attracted new species to the area, such as shelduck and snow goose, as well as abundant breeding lowland wading birds. Due to the diversity of habitats on the restored site and increased roosting opportunities, the site now supports seven of Scotland’s nine bat species. The density of barn owls breeding on site is now extremely high and conditions for salmon and other fish in the River Nith and its restored tributaries on site are excellent. All but those habitats that have returned to full-time grazing are considered to be more ecologically valuable than the habitats that were removed during mining operations.

Working with statutory stakeholders

Many of the actions and enhancement plans were developed with statutory bodies such as East Ayrshire Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Nith District Salmon Fishery Board. Such delicate conditions at the mine site are of interest to local people as well as interested organisations, and this project has shown how working together to enhance ecology and biodiversity benefits all parties. 

Sustainable Development Goals addressed

4 Quality education
12 Responsible consumption and production
15 Life on land

Project team

Adam Fitchet, Maeve Fryday, Nadine Little

Ramboll Group A/S

Ramboll Group A/S
Hannemanns Allé 53
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Tel:+45 5161 1000
Fax:+45 5161 1001

Danish CVR numbers

Danish CVR numbers

Ramboll Group

Rambøll Danmark

Ramboll Energy

Rambøll Management Consulting

Other sites

Other sites