East Ayrshire Council seeks to develop and enhance its partnership work to realise the CSGN and in particular sustainable economic development in East Ayrshire.

Key aims are to:

  • Assist the greening of key industrial/business sites and environs – both within and on the edge of existing communities, in particular where sites are to be redeveloped.
  • Support the restoration of open cast coal sites so that connections are made to surrounding green networks.
  • Help larger greenfield housing sites connect to existing and planned footpaths and cycleways creating better linkages to the wider countryside in rural communities – within the Irvine Valley, New Cumnock etc.
  • Encourage actions which support the Biosphere status for innovating and demonstrating approaches to sustainable development and climate change.

Progress since signing the Concordat has included:

Re-wetting of Dalmellington Moss Wildlife Reserve (SSSI)

Dalmellington Moss is a raised bog, which is a rain-fed peatland habitat, located just west of Dalmellington, East Ayrshire. The site is a Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) wildlife reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), notified as such for its lowland raised bog habitat. The bog is home to an array of specialist plants and animals, such as the carnivorous sundew and rare bog rosemary, but is currently in unfavourable condition due to past damage to the site that has caused it to dry out. The East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative (CEI) (a partnership between East Ayrshire Council and conservation bodies) carried out bog restoration work in early 2015 to protect and enhance an important habitat for peatland specialist plants and animals.

Dalmellington Moss is in easy reach of the town of Dalmellington, and provides an oasis of open habitat that can be enjoyed by nature enthusiasts or those simply craving the tranquillity of the countryside. The site’s visibility from the main road gives it a special place in the local landscape, keeping it in the public consciousness. By restoring the bog we are safeguarding it for future generations and inspiring people to conserve precious peatland habitats.

Dean Castle Country Park

A £4.7 million project is underway at Dean Castle Country Park supported by Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People Programme, East Ayrshire Renewable Energy Fund and East Ayrshire Council funding. Over 10 years, users will see the woodlands brought into management, biodiversity projects, community greenspace projects and upgrades and extension to the path network.

Dean Castle Country Park Lagoons Project

East Ayrshire Leisure Trust and Countryside Services team coordinated a team of volunteers to help construct ponds at Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock as part of the Lagoons Project to create a wetland area suitable for attracting a range of amphibian and wetland invertebrate species. The project covered pond creation, invasive species control and creation of wetland meadows. This project ran in partnership with the charity Froglife supported by volunteers from Dean Castle Conservation Volunteers, International Volunteers, Junior Ranger Club, Ayrshire College and SRUC countryside management students.

Active Travel and Access

The East Ayrshire Strategic Route Network Action Plan is in preparation. The plan sets out priority access project for delivery over the next 10 years. A number of key schemes are already in development including a planned 18 mile circular route around Kilmarnock linking through the town centre to residential areas, schools, places of interest and parks. Funding for a spinal route is in place and this should be delivered by 2017. Costed proposals for the circular aspect of the project will be developed ready to go to tender as further funding is identified. A consultant will also be appointed in 2016 to develop costed proposals for a scheme from Darvel to Muirkirk which will link the River Ayr Way to the Irvine Valley Path Network and Whitelee Windfarm. A feasibility study has been prepared for Irvine Valley Path Network, a network of 40 miles of paths. A project officer will be employed in early 2016 to implement the project.