Restoration of Oakley Opencast sites

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When Scottish Coal went into liquidation, in April 2013, Blair House site and Comrie Bing on the former Comrie Colliery site were left derelict. A legacy of coal mining. Scars on the landscape of south and west Fife. Members of the South & West Fife Area Committee have been hearing about the restoration, removal and reinstatement work being carried out in Oakley.

Thanks in no small part to a £3.1M Bond fund secured before mining began, the Blair House site is now at the stage where all the landform works have been complete. Trees are being planted and Fife Council are ready to take ownership of the site. Public footpaths and bridleways lost when the site was a working quarry have now been reinstated and local access to the site has been greatly improved, including the provision of a new wooden footbridge.

A lochan created on site has barrier planting and other passive measures in place to ensure public safety. The lochan of ground water will regulate itself in response to rainfall and overflow into the local network of burns.

Also on site is a memorial to the nine miners who lost their lives in an underground fire in the Jersey Seam, Number 2 Pit at the Kinneddar Colliery on 31st May 1895. A dedication ceremony for the memorial is planned, as timing and Covid-19 restrictions allow.

Comrie Colliery Bing represents a different mining legacy issue. It adversely affects the landscape of West Fife. With no remediation fund for the Comrie site it is a more challenging task to achieve the complete removal of the bing and see the site restored. Originally the site covered in excess of 400 Ha. and while there has been significant movement in the past, the site is now in new ownership.

Councillor Alice McGarry, Convener of the South and West Fife Area Committee, said “It’s heartening to hear that the Blair House site is now being opened up. I hope it becomes a great natural asset to the people of Oakley.

“Fife Council, will continue to work closely with the new owners of the Comrie Bing site. We need to ensure that restoration of the site continues to progress while protecting local residents during the restoration process.”

The Video below shows the task Fife Council faced to reclaim the three sites at: Blair House; St Ninians; and Muir Dean,