Landward ho!: Beltie Burn on the BBC

November 03, 2020

The Beltie Burn restoration project, for which RSK company cbec eco-engineering acted as designers, has featured on the BBC show Landward.

In episode 17, first aired on 15 October, presenter Anne Lundon investigates the need to adapt our landscape as extreme weather events become more frequent amid climate change. She visits the Beltie Burn in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, a tributary to the River Dee, where restoration works are underway to return the tributary to its former meandering, wetland state. From around 1750 the water course was straightened in an attempt to improve land drainage and make the land more viable for agriculture. However, this caused significant problems, not least to downstream flooding. Under spate conditions, flows could not spill out onto the adjacent floodplain and, instead, were passed downstream to present a risk to property and infrastructure.

Returning the river to a more natural wetland environment will not only aid in flood protection but also provide a new habitat where nature can thrive.

“cbec was enthusiastic to lead the design of this project that aimed to provide climate change resilience for both ecological and flood risk objectives,” says Dr Hamish Moir, the project’s designer at cbec eco-engineering.

Dr Susan Cooksely, of The James Hutton Institute, is managing the project and explains that this one stretch is just the beginning of wider improvement works. To see a lasting result and to have a significant effect on climate change, she comments, it will be necessary to replicate this in more river systems.

“Whether it’s roads, railways or rivers, now is the time to act on the reality of climate change”, concludes Anne.

You can watch the episode in full on BBC iPlayer until September 2021. The Beltie Burn project features at approximately 1min 40s to 6min 30s. For more information on cbec eco-engineering and its design services, please contact cbec.