Whitesands Quarry project moves to the next stage

Mark Mitchell at Whitesands Quarry.
Mark Mitchell at Whitesands Quarry.

Mark Mitchell has been appointed restoration project officer for RSPB Scotland, working alongside Lafarge Tarmac on the Whitesands Quarry project.

Mark’s new role will see him leading delivery of the next phase of the restoration project at the quarry at Oxwellmains near Dunbar. His role will see him writing and implementing a management plan for the site, which will include enhancing and managing the variety of habitats found on the site. He will also be monitoring and reporting on the site’s wildlife to find out more about what is living in and using Whitesands Quarry.

Mark, who lives in Glasgow, previously worked for the RSPB at its wetland nature reserve in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire for two and a half years. Before that, he worked on the Lake District Osprey Project, a partnership project run by the RSPB, Forestry Commission and the Lake District National Park Authority at Bassenthwaite, Cumbria.

David Hurcombe, Lafarge Tarmac’s quarry manager, said: “We have worked with RSPB Scotland for the past four years to restore the quarry in a way that enhances and encourages biodiversity, as well as creating a great amenity for the local community in the future. We are pleased to welcome Mark to the project and look forward to working with him to further develop Whitesands Quarry as one of the most important wetland habitats in this area.”

Mark Mitchell, project officer for RSPB Scotland, said: “I’m very much looking forward to working on this project, and getting to know both the site and the local community over the next few months. There are some fantastic opportunities here for making the quarry a better home for nature, as well as creating a place that people can visit and enjoy.”

Just 12 months ago, Lafarge Tarmac and RSPB Scotland launched a new nesting raft to encourage bird life, such as Terns to rear their young here. This followed research that showed that many secure nesting habitats on the East Coast of Scotland had suffered from loss and nest predation.

The raft, which is 16m2 and covered in gravel, is moored on the water body near the public viewing area that was built in 2012. There are plans to increase the size of this structure later this year to make it more attractive to nesting birds.