Esk River Improvement Group Meeting Minutes of Meeting – 10am, Monday 17th July 2023, Microsoft Teams
Attendance: Douglas Lyons, Colin Beattie MSP, Jenny Gray, Moira Cartwright (Midlothian Council), Scott Fraser (Scottish Water), Ann Stewart-Kmicha (Dalkeith & District Community Council), Claire Tochel (Fisherrow Harbour & Seafront Association), Pauline Crear (Fisherrow Harbour & Seafront Association), John Batty (Coal Authority), Ross Hughes (Forth Rivers Trust), Rebecca Lewis (Riverfly on the Esk/Buglife), Paul Butler (SEPA), Peter Finnie (SEPA), Joy Godfrey (ENCC), Rachel Warrington (Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme), Rachael Elliott (Nature Scotland), Joy Godfrey (ENCC), Anne Hyatt (Roslin and Bilston Community Council)
Apologies: Anna Griffin (SEPA), Audrey Murray (EnjoyLeisure), Rachael Langfield (Coal Authority), Steven Boon (Scottish Water), Rob Mitchell (SEPA), Shona Grant (East Lothian Council), Conor Price (Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme)
CB welcomed everyone to the meeting and the previous minutes were approved.
ASK Have Scottish Water presented to ENCC about this?
SF Happy to provide an update to them and to local schools and happy to provide more details on the project for the next meeting.
JG Commented on the positive impact of the changes and difference that the work that is going to take place will make to the Mary Burn.
CB asked to what extent do you liaise with Midlothian Council on these sort of projects
SF On land, road and service access. If they need planning. Added that they work with a lot of different departments in the Council and in this instance other organisations such as Newbattle Abbey College.
ASK There are other areas of concerns. On the South Esk there was a smell of sewage and spillage onto grassland at Newbattle Abbey Crescent.
SF Will check if Newbattle Abbey Abby Crescent has been reported recently and encourages anyone to report incidents as they will do clean ups of incidents.
CB asked about Fisherrow pumping station and if works are currently on track?
SF answered that he believes so, but he will report back on this after making enquiries.
CT commented that there are still no signs on sight at the Esk Pumping station that advise about the disruption and how long it will remain like this. Enquiries have already been made asking about this matter.
SF will look into this and report back on the status of the work.
2. SEPA – Peter Finnie PF provided an update
PF did not know about this. He will ask the local team and report back.
CT Welcomed the designation at Fisherrow if it reflected better water quality. Questioned how this decision had been made as it had previously been suggested that it would take several years of better water quality testing before a decision was reversed. They had no prior communication. Had something happened that they were not updated on?
PF It was required to wait for the Ministers approval of the redesignation before they could communicate. They will continue with monitoring of this site.
CT will the monitoring of the Burnstane burn continue?
PF does not know this level of detail.
ASK if there was any update on weirs fish passages.
PF offered to provide a short written update to ASK. An update will be given in the September meeting.
ASK highlighted an issue with a flood risk map for Midlothian that had a misplaced name
PF took a note of this issue
3. Coal Authority – John Batty (JB) JB provided an update to the ERIG on the Dalkeith Water Treatment Plant.
CB Asked that the Coal Authority have requested a Letter of Support in the past and if they need another in this occasion.
JB added that they had used these Letters of Support and that they do not need another. Adding that if they do require a Letter of Support he will come back to CB. Adding that it is a very factual approval.
RH Asked if a visual could be provided illustrating why a water treatment plant is being installed. Explaining that a lot of people do not know what the outflow from this area looks like and do not understand why such a large piece of infrastructure is being installed.
JB commented that they have recently been taking drone footage of the conditions of the river. Adding that this might serve a purpose for what RH asked for.
JG Asked if the waste will be sold. Is it still going to be sold if you are testing it for its quality.
JB Answered that this is the intention. To sell it they need an estimate of the quality.
ASK Asked what the process have been undertaken to provide alternative energy from the mine water or from solar panels.
JB Answered that an external team is looking at heat capture from the minewater.
4. East Lothian Council
Shona Grant was unable to attend, but passed on that the Newhailles water discharge report was now complete and that they are waiting for internal approval.
5. Midlothian Council MC
The environmental crime team are now operating implementing Midlothian’s Environmental Crime strategy and will be out in the community issuing fixed fine penalties for dog fouling (£80), fly tipping (£200) and littering (£80). They will also be undertaking proactive work in the community and working with businesses in relation to their waste contracts and the presentation of their bins.
CB added that this is a positive development.
CB mentioned that he asked about other areas in Midlothian that had potential to be at risk from flooding and that MC was going to get a response from planning about this.
MC has asked planning, but not heard anything back on this, but will get back on this matter.
ASK added that there is information on the Midlothian Council website that mentions that they are preparing new information for the Midlothian Local Development Plan and local communities are looking at this when they are doing their Local Place Plan. Also adding that the SEPA maps have flood risk data.
6. Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme
–Rachael Warrington RW provided an update on the MFPS
7. Forth Rivers Trust
Ross Hughes RH provided an update to the ERIG
8. Riverfly on the Esk/Buglife - Rebecca Lewis (RLe)RLe provided an update to the group.
None, Meeting ends 1130am
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