£2.8m transformation of Barrhead’s Levern Water now complete

£2.8m transformation of Barrhead's Levern Water now complete

A £2.8 million investment has transformed the Levern Water and the surrounding area which had previously been derelict for decades.

Now complete - a wider, more natural river channel has been restored to the river, which runs through Barrhead, with the ability to better absorb flooding and encourage more fish and wildlife. An attractive riverside greenspace and path network has been created for locals to enjoy in Carlibar Park, close to the shops and amenities in Barrhead town centre.

Led by East Renfrewshire Council, the project was funded through £1.6m from the Scottish Government’s Water Environment Fund, administered by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and £1.1m from the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme, with a further £0.1m contribution from Sustrans.

Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, Joe FitzPatrick joined elected members and representatives from East Renfrewshire Council, SEPA, contractors AmcoGiffen and Aecom and pupils from Carlibar Primary to see the results of the work carried out.

Carlibar Primary School has been involved in monitoring the health and biodiversity of the Levern Water’s with support from the Clyde River Foundation. Pupils will soon be helping to rear thousands of trout in their classrooms to release into the river next spring. It is hoped that they will record the first salmon to return to the river in 170 years next year.

Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning Joe FitzPatrick, said: “We know high quality green spaces are vital for communities to flourish so I’m pleased the Scottish Government was able to provide £1.1m from the Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme to help transform this site into an area people can enjoy after laying derelict for decades.

£2.8m transformation of Barrhead's Levern Water now complete

“Reusing our land in this way is good for the climate and reflects our place based regeneration aims to support ambitious local approaches to tackling persistent vacant and derelict land. It also has positive benefits for peoples’ mental and physical wellbeing, aids our net zero ambitions, and makes eyesore areas more attractive to live, play and do business in.”

East Renfrewshire council leader, Owen O’Donnell, added: “It has been fantastic to see what the Levern Water revival project has achieved in terms of regenerating derelict land and helping to future proof against flooding and the impact of climate change. Attractive greenspace is so important to our communities and I’m delighted that this project has been able to provide over a hectare of wildflower meadows, woodlands and a riverside path network - connecting schools, shops and the train station.

“It’s been fascinating to hear about the work Carlibar Primary have been doing to help monitor the fish and wildlife, and to see pupils enjoying the fresh air by the river on the way to school. A huge thank you to our funding partners at the Scottish Government, SEPA and Sustrans for making this possible.”

Lucie Stewart, restoration specialist at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), commented: “As Scotland’s climate changes, it’s more important than ever that we protect and improve our rivers. In the last ten years, more than £25m has been invested into the re-naturalisation of rivers across Scotland through the Water Environment Fund (WEF), and the Levern Water in Barrhead is the latest success story.

“As well as creating an attractive blue-green space for the local community and improved floodplain, the project also makes the river more accessible to migratory fish such as sea trout and eel, and we look forward to their return.”

Work at the one-hectare site was carried out by contractor AmcoGiffen Ltd.

Jim Double, regional managing director at AmcoGiffen Ltd, concluded: “During the project we engaged with local trades and suppliers, developing relationships with a long term view of working alongside in the future. We are proud to have played our part in providing the residents of Barrhead and wider community with an aesthetic public realm area that future generations can now utilise.”

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