Working together to protect Water of Leith basin

A new agreement on the day-to-day management of the Water of Leith basin is to be established amongst key partners.

Plans for the agreement, which will involve the City of Edinburgh Council, Water of Leith Conservation Trust, Water of Leith 2000, Forth Ports, and Friends of the Water of Leith Basin, build on the Water of Leith Management Plan 2010-20, approved in 2010.

It has been acknowledged that an updated agreement should address, in particular, the accumulation of litter, detritus and vegetation and its removal, and that the maintenance of the basin is key to the wider management of the Water of Leith.

These moves follow issues experienced at The Shore in Leith during the summer, when periods of heavy rainfall saw a build-up of debris in the area.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “I am pleased that we are moving forward with an agreement to manage the Water of Leith basin. Our blue space is hugely important to the local community and environmentally significant to the variety of wildlife living and nesting there. 

“As we saw over the summer, it’s essential that all relevant parties pull together to ensure the safety and amenity of this area, and I’m confident that this agreement will ensure we each take responsibility for its care, as part of the wider management of the Water of Leith. The partnership approach we’re agreeing will ensure that our blue space in Leith is protected and maintained, whatever the weather throws at us.”

It is intended that each of the key parties will play a role in the management of the basin. One of the Water of Leith basins is jointly owned by Water of Leith 2000 Ltd, Forth Ports and Ocean Mist Group while another two of the basins are owned by Bluefield 1502 LLP. Responsibilities will be specified in detail in the new agreement, also taking into account the involvement of additional voluntary groups and private land owners.

Work to draw up a new agreement is now under way and will be concluded as soon as possible, with a report on the matter expected at the Transport and Environment Committee in December 2019. Once established, the agreement will be monitored and amended if necessary.

Charles Hammond, Chief Executive of Forth Ports, said: “The Water of Leith is a shared community asset and Forth Ports is pleased to play our role, along with others, in this partnership.”

Helen Brown, Trust Manager of the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, said: “The Water of Leith Conservation Trust is happy to work with local stakeholders to ensure this part of the river is kept clean, green and beautiful. The removal of rubbish, especially plastics, is very important to prevent the litter washed downstream ending up in the oceans, and this is what we will be focusing on with our volunteers.”

Don Giles, Secretary of the Friends of the Water of Leith Basin (FOWLB), said: "FOWLB is very, very pleased that Water of Leith 2000, Forth Ports and CEC have recognised the urgent need for reintroducing the management plan that ensures proper care of the Basins. FOWLB will will work with the other parties to develop a procedure for the care and maintenance of the basins so that they are a feature of Leith that the community can be proud of.”

Find out more about the management of the Water of Leith.

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