Artist’s appeal over development plans for Burntisland dockland

Scottish landscape and nature painter, Leo du Feu
Scottish landscape and nature painter, Leo du Feu

A Burntisland-based artist is appealing to developers in the town to give consideration to the area’s diverse and important wildlife when building in the east docks area.

Leo du Feu, who moved to the town at the beginning of the year because of its scenic location and wildlife, which he includes in many of his paintings, expressed his concern for the birds, animals and other species which inhabit the dockland environs.

He said: “I read with mixed feelings of the development now under way around Burntisland East Dock. While I applaud the creation of new jobs and continued regeneration of the town, I have real concerns for wildlife in the area.

“I love the variety of coastal beaches and mudflats, the rolling farmland above Binn Hill, the area of waste land around the harbour. I am saddened to see such a large area of the waste ground fenced off and being cleared, including a long row of scrub and shrub by the sea wall which will almost certainly already have had birds nesting in it when the works began.

“I keep note of wildlife that I see and have so far counted more than 20 bird species using this waste ground. Highlights have been kestrel hovering over the grasses, linnets singing beautifully, tree sparrows chirping, and willow warblers and chiffchaffs freshly arrived from Africa. It is an important area for lots of wildlife and I ask that this is taken into consideration and consulted on in all future plans.”

Mr du Feu has written voicing his concerns to Forth Ports, Fife Council and Burntisland Community Council as well as to the ‘Burgh Buzz’ community magazine and local councillors.

And he appealed: “Society should do all that it can to encourage people to spend time outdoors, and to preserve and improve habitat for wildlife. The East Dock waste ground does both. Please do not destroy all of it.”

Alison Wood, planner with Fife Council, said: “As set out in our development plan, any proposals to develop this area must take account of the nearby Firth of Forth, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Area and Ramsar sites – internationally important wetlands.”

And a spokesman from Forth Ports, which owns the land, said: “We have been granted planning permission by Fife Council for a development on a vacant site at the port of Burntisland. As part of the planning process, the council consulted with SNH, which confirmed it holds no issues with the plans for the site.

“We will be redeveloping an existing building and will only use a proportion of the open space at the east side of the port.

‘‘We have consulted with the Burntisland community council and we understand the importance of maintaining access to the port for the local community.”