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Issue 36 April 2015

posted 8 Apr 2015, 15:11 by Ian Holmes-Lewis   [ updated 10 Sep 2017, 12:08 ]

At the request of the Community Council, I recently attended a presentation by Ineos, who hold licences to extract shale gas from beneath Scotland. Ineos are attempting to win hearts and minds in the hope of quelling opposition to their plans, which include the drilling of horizontal wells under West Fife and elsewhere (I understand that the wells will originate south of the Forth). They are proposing to share a small percentage of the profits with land-owners and communities above the wells. Precise details of this scheme were not forthcoming, though it sounds like the sort of thing we've had from local coal mines.

Most attendees were concerned with harm to their environment. Ineos maintained that we'd hardly know they were there, and that they'd keep a close eye on any seismic activity that might result from their activities. They acknowledged that the geology into which they'd be drilling was 'very complex' and that they couldn't be absolutely sure about the results, but they didn't think there would be much, if any, pollution of drinking water, for instance.

The research I did before the meeting suggests that the fracking process is not the biggest problem-causer in shale-gas extraction. Leaking wells (leaks in around 10% of wells are an industry norm, which is a serious problem, given they could be drilling thousands of them); waste-water disposal and/or treatment; and orphaned wells are the three biggest sources of pollution associated with fracking. Waste-water disposal is also implicated in several instances of increased seismic activity.

Time was limited so I asked about orphaned wells, waste-water and the recent Sunday Herald article about Ineos's poor safety record at Grangemouth.

The Ineos guy assured me that British law was a cast-iron protection against orphaned wells, and that Ineos would be held responsible for any wells they drilled, even if they sold them on. I expressed my doubts, based on our recent open-cast mine experience; a few seconds of research when I got home suggested his response was misleading at best. There are more than 100 orphaned wells in the UK (drilled since 1902)* - these are uncapped wells that have been abandoned and nobody knows who is responsible for them in law. Current fracking proposals dwarf Britain’s onshore oil industry to date, so the risk of orphaned wells is considerable in my view.
         an orphaned well in the UK

Apart from the chemicals added to the water at the beginning of the fracking process, the waste water at the end usually contains large quantities of bromides, radium and other radioactive or otherwise highly toxic substances that commonly occur in shale layers. Bromides, when treated as part of the normal water-treatment process become highly carcinogenic compounds, therefore the industry has tried various other ways of disposing of the billions of gallons of poisoned water it creates. Ineos did not have any satisfactory answer to the waste-water disposal question, saying that they would '...have to see...'.

Ineos's spokesman was 'very angry' about the Sunday Herald piece, but could not deny that they had breached health & safety regulations 34 times in the last five years. These included 'failing to reduce the dangers of pipes degrading in 2011' which 'could have led to a major accident, according to the government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE)'**. A particularly damning revelation, since the fuel extracted as part of the fracking process is particularly volatile, and there have been several massive explosions in the USA as a result of problems with transportation.

Ineos intend to persevere with their campaign, and will be engaging with communities for some time.

Ian Holmes-Lewis 



The Editor reserves the right to refuse, edit or factually correct all items submitted for publication. All views expressed in this Bulletin are purely those of the author of the item concerned and are not necessarily those of the Editor or of the Communications Group as a whole. 


Come and try riding at Shieldbank Riding & Vaulting Club, North Road, Saline. We are situated just one mile outside the village at the top of the hill on the left hand side. At present we have nine horses and ponies stabled at Shieldbank so that we can cater for all ages from complete beginners right up to those wishing to compete. We also have a lovely Coffee Shop open to everyone, so even if you don’t wish to ride, you are very welcome to come for a delicious cup of tea, coffee, cake or savoury snack. 

We also have locally-made jams and crafts for sale. Call Marianne or Sue on 01383 852874 for riding, or call Vic on 01383 852621 to arrange birthday parties or other functions at the Coffee Shop. Or better still, just come up and see us Tuesday – Sunday 9.30am-6.00pm. We are closed on Mondays. We look forward to seeing you.


Saline Environmental Group will be holding a Glen clean up on Saturday 23 May at 10am; all those interested please meet at the Glen entrance. It is proposed to do this twice a year.


Saline & District Heritage Society will be holding a Tea Dance on Saturday 18 April 2-5pm at the Golf Club. If anyone would like a ticket for this, please contact Linda Moyes on 852817 or ask at the Golf Club. This event is free and will feature Inverkeithing Community Band who will be playing music from the Big Band era. A chance to dance and have tea and cakes!

The Heritage Society will be holding their AGM on Wednesday 27 May at 7.30pm in the Church Hall. A speaker has been invited and a vacancy has arisen for the post of secretary. Please speak to one of the very friendly committee if that is something you would like to do.


West Craighouse Farm Turbine

Many residents will be relieved to learn that the application for planning permission for a 77m high turbine at West Craighouse Farm has been refused. However, the applicants have lodged an appeal. Let's hope that the Reporter will support Fife Council's decision. The application attracted a considerable number of objections both on technical and environmental grounds. The Community Council argued that the vista from Saline along the Ochils towards Stirling, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike, is of special quality and a turbine in the proposed location was an unacceptable intrusion.

Kingdom Housing Association

The Community Council's persistence in demanding the inclusion of some mid-market rental (MMR) homes in KHA's Oakley Road development has paid off. KHA have confirmed that subject to there being sufficient interest they will include six MMR properties in their development which is scheduled to start on site later this year. Unlike social-rented properties, local families can apply for MMR homes and anyone interested should ensure they register with KHA/Fife Council as soon as possible.

Allanwater Development on Oakley Road

Contrary to the rumours circulating last month about Allanwater withdrawing from the development of the former LRD site on Oakley Road, the Community Council has established that this is not the case. However, a separate planning application to construct a SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) feature on adjacent land, to be shared with Kingdom Housing Association's proposed development, has been submitted. Kingdom Housing Association will be providing 20 affordable homes on the site, four of which will be mid-market rent, for which local people will be eligible. Allanwater have accepted the Community Council's invitation to attend an 'open forum' about the development at which they will explain their proposals and respond to residents' questions. The Community Council will also be inviting representatives from LRD, who initiated the project, and Kingdom Housing Association to attend.

Blair House Open Cast

The Community Council has learned that the operators of the Comrie pit, LES, are in discussions with Hargreaves about undertaking the restoration of the abandoned Blair House open cast mine. Blair House and six other former Scottish Coal open cast sites were taken over last August by the Scottish Mines Restoration Trust and Hargreaves are the main contractors appointed by SMRT for the work. The talks will focus on establishing the financial viability of the project. Work at Comrie will continue until the summer and people who have visited the site have been impressed with the responsible and professional way they have gone about the work, unlike Scottish Coal whose legacy at Blair House is a huge hole in the ground and a large and unsightly bing. If successful, LES are committed to working with local communities on the reinstatement plans.

Flood Risk

Widespread flooding is not an issue for our community but there are problems in particular places. Fife Council are participating in a national initiative to establish flood risk strategies. If you would like to contribute visit Citizen Space at

Planning Obligations

As some people will know, the basis on which developers 'compensate' communities when undertaking development, usually defined in planning conditions, vary considerably. Often they are inappropriate and sometimes ignored. This is of particular concern in Saline and Steelend as we are facing the prospect of several new large-scale housing developments. Consequently the Community Council is pleased to learn that Fife Council has brought three different financial frameworks together in a single 'Planning Obligations' guidance document. The primary purpose is to ensure that new development addresses any additional impacts on roads, schools and community facilities and to set out how these issues are to be addressed. This is especially important in our area as most people feel that the infrastructure and services are inadequate to meet the needs of several hundred new families. Details can be found on the Fife Council website.

Making Places

The Community Council has been sent details of the Fife Council's consultation on the draft 'Making Places' Supplementary Planning Guidance, which continues until 2 June, and will be making representations. The document aims to provide clear advice on design issues and is seen as a tool to guide designers, developers, decision-makers and communities towards higher standards of development. Details can be found at

All contributions for inclusion in the Bulletin are welcome and should be submitted to Jacquie Clapperton on 
or by telephoning 852367. 


Updated times as from Monday 20 April:

Monday:        5 - 7.30pm
Tuesday:       Closed
Wednesday: 11am – 2pm, 6 – 8pm
Thursday:     11am – 8pm
Friday:          11am – 5pm
Saturday:      11am – 5pm
Sunday:        11am – 4pm 


Recently the Group was invited to mount a display stand at Oakley School Campus during their parents' afternoon and evening. This proved very successful with many enquires about local Scouting resulting in several possible new members across all Sections.

The Beavers are continuing to observe the growth of the plants that were sown during February. In the meantime all Beavers have completed the Air Activity badge having made model aircraft, discussed their favourite aeroplane and had a talk with someone who has flown an aircraft.

The Cubs have now completed their Fitness Challenge and are looking forward to embarking on their next Challenge. For Mothers' Day they planted up pots of primroses as a surprise present.

The Scouts are continuing to practice for the District Camping Competition to be held at the end of May.

The Explorers are continuing to practise their golf swings as they try to master a new sport.

Several members of the Cub and Scout Sections attended the annual District Swimming Gala where they did themselves proud.

Peter Philp, Group Scout Leader 
01383 852612 


We will be holding a fun day on 12 September; for this to happen we will be holding various fundraising events which we are hoping will be supported well by everyone.

Prize Bingo at Saline Community Centre on 22 April at 7.30pm. Donations of prizes most welcome and can be given to Joanna Jackson or call 850934 for collection.

Rag Bag The collection for this will take place on 28 May. Bags will be put through the doors the week before; please keep any old clothes, shoes, bedding etc for us.

Hypnotist/Disco This will be held at Steelend Club on Friday 19 June at 8.30pm; tickets are £10 per person. Come and have a great night watching or perhaps you will be lucky enough to be part of the show! 

Tickets available from Joanna Jackson 850934 and prizes for a raffle would be most welcome. 


Monday 27 April: Solicitors’ drop-in, 10am till 4pm

Wednesday 13 May: Prize Bingo for Gala funds, 7.30pm

Friday 15 May: Ladies’ Night, 8pm

Saturday 23 May: Curry Night for Gala funds, 7.30pm

Sunday 31May: Car Boot Sale/Table Sale, BBQ 


Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday services with special events on Easter Sunday were held in one or all of the three places of worship and the Rev Tom Johnson (Locum Minister) took part on services at the Primary Schools in Saline, Carnock and Oakley.

Family Beetle Drive: Friday 24 April, 6.30pm

This will be held in Saline Church Hall. Tickets are 50p from Anne Easton or Ada Cooper.

Christian Aid Week 10 -16 May

Nationally, Christian Aid started 70 years ago in response to the need of vast numbers of refugees resulting from the events of the Second World War. Today it still responds to emergency situations and long-term development needs worldwide. This year, while there will be an ongoing response to many situations in the world, there is a special emphasis on the needs of people in Ethiopia.

Christian Aid Day: Wednesday 13 May, 10am-2pm

Over many years the folk in Saline have responded generously to Christian Aid fundraising efforts during Christian Aid week and again we plan to have a Christian Aid Day in the Church Hall on Wednesday 13 May from 10.00 am till 2.00pm. There will be tea, coffee and home baking with soup and rolls from 12 noon, with a variety of items for sale. Donations of all kinds will be very welcome; envelopes for cash donations which can be 'gift aided' are also available.

Don’t forget – if you have things you want to promote on the community website, 
contact Ian Holmes-Lewis on 


Community Involvement

Saturday 21 March saw the last of the three community action days on the site. Thanks again to all of you who came along. We managed to clear the remaining willows from the western end of the site, so that the area is now completely clear of standing timber. It was a significant moment for us all as Joe sliced through the last trunk! We also raked up some of the dead vegetation and installed 2 blocks in the ditches at the West end, to stabilise the loss of water from these locations. I have said this before, but the project really would not have succeeded without the support given by local people and it is great to see the interest that the project has generated.

Peat Probing

The final job is to record the depths of peat held within the bog. Half a dozen locations will be selected over the site and a probe sunk into the ground, to record the level of peat. This will be repeated at intervals over the years ahead to determine whether (hopefully), the depth of peat increases as the bog becomes dynamic once again.

What Now?

After so much work across this sensitive habitat, it is time now to let the site recover. There’s already a mass of frogspawn, snipe are working through the reeds, and the first leaves of marsh marigold are starting to appear. Best to let nature rediscover the site and let the breeding season get on uninterrupted. Come the latter part of 2015, however, there is a plan to (if everything comes into place), remove the remaining brash off the bog, together with possibly getting some grazing animals in on a short-term basis, as we need them to nibble the regenerating shoots that doubtless will appear.

Timber Stacks

There are a series of timber stacks currently drying out adjacent to the North of the bog. As I originally indicated, it would be great to offer the wood to local people. To this extent, the most sensible option is to leave the timber to season this summer in situ and then arrange a day next autumn whereby we co-ordinate a move of the wood from its current location, to a roadside pickup point. More on this nearer the time.

What Has The Project Taught Us?

The work has been physically challenging, many pairs of boots and trousers have gone home soaking, and whilst a nice idea, timber extraction by a horse proved impossible. Ultimately, the employment of a mechanical grabber proved critical to being able to clear as much of the material as we have. The project has shown however, that with sufficient effort, a long-lost habitat can be rediscovered. Now we need to ensure that in the longer-term, elements are put in place to sustain the work achieved so far.

Summer Walk About?

If there is interest, I would like to come back in early summer and have a walk over the site, to look at the plants and animals that may be there. If you are interested, please let me know via email at my address below and I’ll add your name to the list. I’ll advertise the event nearer the time as well.

Thanks To…

Finally, to reiterate, a huge thanks to all of you who broke sweat or went home soggy after helping out on site. I would like to thank Mr J Cousar for being so helpful during the project, to Gavin Johnson at SNH for always remaining positive and to Mr J Baxter, for letting us go ahead with this project on his land in the first place!

Duncan Priddle 
Project Manager 
The Farm Environment Ltd 

From Our Community 

Traffic Issues

I have noted with interest the efforts to 'manage' traffic issues on the Oakley Road (adj to the Primary School) and most recently the concerns raised (as published in the Dunfermline Press 12/03/15 edition, Communities section) about the B914 Upper Steelend speeding and overtaking problems.

Can I please ask if there is any attentions being given to the more significant issue of vehicles speeding and overtaking within the 40mph and 30mph zones within the villages of both Steelend and Saline respectively. These areas are obviously more densely populated and the risks are in my opinion far greater.

As both a motorist and pedestrian I have to say I am appalled at what I witness on a daily basis. My observations show that most people choose to ignore the speed limits whatever the times of day or night and regardless of what direction they are travelling in.

The SID boxes are located 'inappropriately' well within the posted speed limit signs and only then does the occasional motorist regulate his/her speed, most don't bother and choose to ignore completely.

I would welcome your advise/assistance on how best to take this matter forward.

Derek Robertson 
12 Oaklea, Saline 

Steelend Bus Service

I am more than aware of the weather conditions this morning and that there was a bit of a jam at the corner down towards Oakley this morning at the corner where the primary school is. One of the three or four school buses got stuck.

The issue is, however, that although the 6.40am Falkirk bus (as I am reliably informed) was on time, the 7.30am service but was, yet again, a no-show. Also the aforesaid queue of school buses all managed to get their way to Saline.

Am I right in thinking that there is more than one school bus that serves Saline? If so, that would have been useful to know as myself/my neighbour could have walked down to Saline rather than again standing for almost an hour before the St Columba's bus pitched up. We did manage, after a discussion with the driver, to get on this bus but the driver abandoned ship in Saline. Pretty much I was getting on that bus.

As I say, my issue is that contract buses managed the journey but the service bus did not - would be interested to hear why, possibly there was an issue with a school bus? If the 7.30am bus had been on time it could have possibly avoided the jam at 8.30/8.40ish.

This is not a complaint about the weather/or that a bus got stuck - but that the service bus did not appear however, magically, contract buses did. Wonder why?

Aileen Fletcher 



The Exhibition Committee met again on 31 March to review the preparations for the event that will be held over the weekend of 9 and 10 May. This will the ninth time that Saline has hosted this unique exhibition that has, in the past, attracted more than 400 visitors.

Anyone can exhibit paintings, drawings or photographs. Just bring them along to Saline Community Centre between 2 pm and 8 pm on Friday 8 May. There are no forms to fill out and no charges. If you require any further details, please ring Marylla, the Exhibition Manager, on 851868.

The Exhibition will be open to the public from 10am till 4.30pm on the Saturday and Sunday. Entry is free and light refreshments and lunches will be available, courtesy of the ladies of the Church Guild. As you are probably aware, there are good car parking facilities at the Community Centre and there is good access for wheelchairs.

One last thing, If you are prepared to give us some help with the preparations for the Exhibition, please contact Marylla, as above. Tasks will include erecting the display boards, hanging exhibits, including the work being submitted by all of the West Fife village primary schools and general monitoring duties during the times that the Exhibition is open. 


Most local folk will be aware of the reclamation process that is taking place just east of Steelend village on the south side of the main road. (See separate article, Steelend Bog, in this edition) This is a raised bog site of special scientific interest (an SSSI) that is being damaged by the rapid growth of willow and birch. The Farm Environment Ltd, assisted by our local Saline Environmental Group, are clearing out the trees in order to protect the rare vegetation that is unique to this type of habitat.

During a recent clearance of timber, an extremely unusual object was discovered. This appeared to be an organic object that resembled a bird of some kind. The item concerned was immediately referred to the Edinburgh Zoological Society who have identified the object as a sub-fossilised dodo. Dr. April Fuller of the Society has stated that this is a most amazing discovery that has been extremely well preserved by the waterlogged oxygen-free conditions in the bog. The remains have been forwarded to Heriot-Watt University for carbon-14 dating. The dodo was a flightless bird that was discovered on the island of Madagascar in the 15th century by the Portuguese. In fact, the name dodo comes from the Portuguese word doido, meaning fool. The reasons why the bird became extinct were twofold. First, the bird was extremely easy to catch as it had no fear of man and secondly, they were delicious to eat.

The local history of the area tells us that this site was once a part of the Bandrum estate; and in the early eighteenth century the land was owned by Archibald Hogg who was a captain in the East India Company. His travels would have taken him to Madagascar and it is possible that he brought a few dodos back to Saline in order to breed them.

Together with the dodo, scraps of a parchment-like material were found together with some vegetable matter that resembled potato. Is it therefore possible that the chip shop that once operated in North Road was selling dodo and chips to the folk of Saline in years gone by? 

Forthcoming Meetings & Events: 

Steelend Miners’ Club

Zumba: Mondays, 7.00pm-8.00pm
Zumba Toning: Wednesdays, 7.00pm-7.45pm
Sambangra Drumming Group: Tuesdays, 7.00pm-8.30pm, £2

Saline Golf Club

First Saturday of each month: Family Night, 5-7pm
Tuesdays: Bingo Night, 7.30pm
Thursdays: Quiz Night, 8.30pm, entry £1/person
Sky TV and free wi-fi. Associate membership £10 per annum, £4 concessions
Q’zine Catering: also available for all functions.


Every Thursday 6.00pm-7.30pm
Saline Church Hall

116th Fife Scout Group

Beaver Colony
Every Friday, 6.00pm-7.30pm
Cub Pack
Every Thursday, 6.30pm-8.00pm
Scout Troop
Every Thursday, 7.30pm-9.00pm
Explorer Unit
Every Thursday, 7.30pm-9.00pm
Carnock Community Centre, Camps Road, Carnock. Open to both boys & girls

Highland Dancing Classes

Tuesdays 4.00pm-5.00pm
Thursdays 6.30pm-8.00pm
Saline Church Session Room

Adult Badminton

Mondays 7.45pm
Wednesday 1.30pm and 7.30pm
Saline Community Centre

Saline Smilers (Toddler Group)

Tuesdays 9.30am-11.30am during school terms
Saline Community Centre

Craft and Chatter

Thursdays 10.00am-12.00noon
Last Friday of month 7.00pm-9.00pm
Shieldbank Coffee Shop

Sambangra Drumming Group

Tuesdays, 7.00pm-8.30pm, £2
Steelend Club

Line Dance Classes

Monday 10.00am - 11.00am
Friday 10.00am - 11.00am
Saline Community Centre

Afternoon Craft Group

Every second Tuesday from 17 February
2pm-4pm, Saline Church Hall

Scottish Country Dancing

Every second Monday from 16 February
7.30pm-9pm Saline Community Centre 

Saline & District Heritage Society

‘The Coming of Christianity to our area of Fife’
Rev David Simpson
Wednesday 29 April
7.00 for 7.30pm, Saline Church Hall

This Community Bulletin is produced by Saline and Steelend Communications Group