A transformation occurred in Barrhead’s Levern Water and its surrounding area with an investment of £2.8 million. This site had been abandoned for many years, neglected and unused.

The completion of the work has resulted in a wider, naturally restored river channel running through the heart of the town. Its improved design helps absorb potential flooding and encourages the return of varied fish species and wildlife.

A beautiful riverside greenspace accompanied by a path network has been established for local residents to relish in Carlibar Park, which is conveniently close to the amenities and shops of Barrhead town centre.

This initiative was spearheaded by the East Renfrewshire Council with funding contributions from the Scottish Government’s water environment fund (amounting to £1.6m) managed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and additionally, £1.1m from Scottish Government’s idle and barren land investment programme. Supplementally, Sustrans contributed £100,000 towards the project.

Joe FitzPatrick, the Minister for local government empowerment and planning, visited the site along with elected council members, representatives from East Renfrewshire Council, SEPA, contractors AmcoGiffen and Aecom, and pupils from Carlibar Primary to review the outcome of the work.

FitzPatrick commented, “Highly dependable green spaces are vital for thriving communities. Hence, I am pleased that the Scottish Government was able to extend £1.1m from the vacant and derelict land investment programme to facilitate the transformation of this site into an area that the people can enjoy, which has been derelict for many decades.

“Utilising our land in such a manner is beneficial for climate and aligns with our place-based regeneration strategy supporting ambitious local approaches to dealing with persistent vacant and derelict land.

Moreover, such projects also offer positive effects on people’s mental and physical wellbeing, facilitates our net zero ambitions, and converts displeasing areas into more appealing places to live, conduct business, and play.”

Carlibar Primary has actively participated in measuring the health and biodiversity of the Levern Water with the help of Clyde River Foundation. Pupils will soon assist in nurturing thousands of trout in their classrooms, scheduled to be released into the river in the upcoming spring.

Anticipation is high, as they hope to record the first salmon’s return to the river in 170 years next year.

Carlibar Primary pupils and project officials.
Carlibar Primary School pupils have actively participated in assessing the health and biodiversity of Levern Water.
(Image: Jeff Holmes)

Owen O’Donnell, leader of the East Renfrewshire Council, said, “The achievements of the Levern Water revitalisation project has been remarkable in regenerating derelict lands and aiding in planning against potential flooding and climate change impacts.

Having appealing greenspace is invaluable to our communities. I am thrilled that this project has been able to provide over a hectare of wildflower meadows, woodlands, and a riverside path network, offering increased connectivity to schools, shops, and the train station in Glasgow.

“It has been intriguing to learn about Carlibar Primary’s efforts to monitor the fish species and wildlife. Watching pupils enjoy the fresh riverside air on their school journey is a joyous sight.

“I express my immense gratitude to our funding partners at the Scottish Government, SEPA, and Sustrans for making this endeavor possible.”