The Panel

The panel included Willie Rennie MSP, Rick Haynes (lead on flooding, harbours and coasts for Fife Council), Kate Maitland (NFUS), Adam Warner (Scottish Water), Roy Richardson (SEPA), David Summers (Tay Board), Iain Moss (Woodland Trust), Dallas Seawright (Fife Coast and Countryside Trust) and Mark Purmann-Charles (Scottish Invasive Species Initiative).

image of river eden and motray water catchment meeting

Purpose of the Meeting

The meeting was set up to open a discussion with landowners about the state of the river and listen to everyone’s views on how to improve it. RESP also wants to seek the consent of landowners to RESP’s plans to survey the river for invasive species and habitat.

A big turnout

120 landowners, land managers, a range of experts and interested residents packed Letham Village Hall to take part in the question and answer session. The large turnout was in part due to the awful flood event in Cupar which drew people to the meeting to discuss flooding.

image of river eden and landowners meeting

Michael Farrell, Chair, described the gathering as

“An essential first step in an ongoing dialogue needed to address the sustainability of the River Eden and the resilience of its communities in the light of climate change. With a pattern of summer drought/low flows and high temperatures, and more frequent / increasingly intense winter storms and the pollution events in 2018 and 2021. The disappearance of river weed from large stretches, the build-up of fine sediment, high levels of phosphates and nitrates and concern about sewage outfalls and the spread of invasive non-native species (INNS): all of these factors have led to the river being classified as poor, or at best moderate, by SEPA”.

A wide-ranging discussion ensued on the issues facing the river and its communities: flooding, summer drought, water quality, invasive species and how best to make a positive difference for people and the environment.

Quote from a local farmer:

“The meeting was a huge success. The turnout I think took everyone by surprise but lots of views were aired, the discussion was robust, and the panel of experts were certainly delivered plenty of good facts by the wide-ranging wealth of local knowledge from the broad spectrum of the Eden catchment community who came along… I do believe this group can deliver bigger and better outcomes for everyone in the Eden catchment than we all believed possible”.

What next?

After two and a half hours of debate and discussion, a detailed plan did not emerge from the meeting, but there was a strong sense of active engagement. Landowners were agreeable to RESP survey work as long as they were informed where and when these would be happening.

The RESP plan is to continue our conversation with landowners. Through surveys of land ownership, invasive species and habitat, we will endeavour to continue the dialogue and offer further opportunities to meet and discuss some of the key issues in more depth.