George Leslie has been appointed to undertake a £2 million project to re-naturalise the Garrell River, create new paths and conserve threatened habitats and species at Dumbreck Local Nature Reserve in Kilsyth.

Initially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the project is being managed by North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), through the Water Environment Fund, and is expected to be completed by October 2021.

The main aims of the project are to:

Conserve threatened habitats and species such as invertebrates, water voles and wetland birds;
re-naturalise the Garrell River to improve access for fish through two new fish passes, and improve and sustain the wetland habitat of the reserve; and improve and encourage access to the site through a network of new and improved paths with features of interests, a bridge across the river and visitor interpretation.

Action will be taken at two small weirs below the town to allow for the migration of wild fish such as salmon, sea trout and eels.

Some work has already been completed, including resurfacing of paths, replacement of the boardwalk and creation of a longer circular route around the pond. Within the next month, carved wooden sculptures will also be installed.

“The nature reserve is a wonderful facility for local people and children, and our Greenspace Development Team have been working with the Clyde River Foundation and local primary schools to organise visits and activities,” said Councillor Michael McPake, convener of the environment and transportation committee.

“Our plans for Dumbreck will bring substantial benefits for the neighbouring communities with an improved local environment and access to nature for all abilities, opportunities to learn about and see wildlife and local history, as well as improvements to active travel routes for walkers and cyclists.”

Francis Hayes, river restoration specialist at SEPA, said: “The Scottish Government’s Water Environment Fund (WEF), managed by SEPA, is enabling projects like this one along the Garrell Burn at Dumbreck Local Nature Reserve, repairing urban waterways, improving fish passage and enhancing the natural environment.

“Through close partnership working with North Lanarkshire Council, this project will not only deliver improved amenities for the local community, but help build in resilience to the impacts of climate change by managing river flows at the marsh.”

George Leslie MD David Ross said: “George Leslie Ltd are delighted to have been awarded the civil engineering works package for the Dumbreck Marsh and Garrell Burn Restoration Project. We at George Leslie are very aware of the importance of public access to green spaces and look forward to seeing the benefits of this project realised for the local communities surrounding the marshes, North Lanarkshire Council and SEPA.

“We also look forward to the opportunity to engage with local residents to offer employment opportunities and on the job training during the delivery of this important environmental project.”