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April 20, 2011

A river runs through it

When separate communities come together and coordinate their efforts, it’s often in the face of a common threat of some kind – often arising out of a shared interest in protecting their natural environment. The 20 mile stretch of the River Carron runs through fifteen communities and has become somewhat neglected in recent years. That’s all about to change


In March 2010, the community volunteer group, Communities Along the Carron Association (CATCA) held a public meeting in Falkirk to adopt its constitution and got started with an abundance of energy.   This followed on a 9 month consultancy with C&M Community Consultants LLP, sponsored by the Scottish Government and the European Community, Forth Valley &    Lomond LEADER 2007-2013 Programme, and by Falkirk Council.          

High Priority Goals

To help identify potential projects, the CATCA management committee embarked on a River Carron Study Tour day along the 19.8 miles of the River Carron, starting from the Carron Reservoir and moving through Fankerton, Stoneywood, Dunipace, Denny, Larbert, Camelon, Carronshore, Carron, Steinhousemuir, Bainsford, Langlees, Grangemouth, Bothkennar, Mungal and Skinflats…in order to match up maps and visions with reality.   

Following that, the group held a “pow wow” with various funding agencies to discuss a list of 31 short and long term projects, 15 of them on “high priority” status.  CATCA has begun the process of applying for funding for a website, start up costs, clean ups, feasibility studies, community events and some of the bigger clean up projects along the river and its tributaries.  The long term goal is to ensure that the issues and desires expressed in the 16 community consultations in 2009 are answered in a way that has the long term best interests of the River Carron and its people at heart.  At this time a funded feasibility study is underway and we await final word on large funding to do a professional fly tip clean up along the Carron.  We are also part of the new Falkirk Invasive Species Forum which is seeking funding to clear up the big Japanese Knotweed problem along the river.

First We Clean Up the River…

In 2010, CATCA’s first big initiatives were the April Keep Scotland Beautiful clean ups along the Carron.  In partnership with KSB, Falkirk Council Litter Strategy Team, Community Green Initiative, River Carron  Fisheries Management Group (RCFMG), Church of Jesus Christ of  Latter Day Saints, The Carron Connect Partnership, Forth Estuary Forum, Upper Forth Wild Fowlers Ass’n, CGI, Glenwood TRO and the Criminal Justice Service, clean ups were held in Fankerton, Stoneywood, Dunipace, Denny, Larbert, Grangemouth, Carron, Langlees, Abbotshaugh Community Woodland, Bainsford and Skinflats.  An  estimated 500 bags of litter plus several truckloads of fly tipping metal, household rubbish and commercial rubbish were removed from the paths and from in the water by about 200 volunteers. 

In 2011 we are currently holding the 2nd annual clean up which began mid_march and will end mid-May.  The same groups are involved as last year and the clean ups are going very well, hundreds of bags so far and even the removal of an old bus which was in the Larbert area of the river for 30 years!

River Carron Expo Day

In the Autumn of 2010, CATCA sponsored, along with funding from Falkirk Council’s External Funding Unit (Community Grant Scheme), a “River Carron Expo Day” at the Grangemouth Town Hall.  The event included displays, international speakers and a chance for the public to meet with agencies, experts, knowledgeable volunteers and professionals on such topics as water quality, flood defence, hydro schemes, invasive species, fish ladders, litter and flytipping issues along the Carron.  With over 40 participating agencies and groups, and over 100 attendees, the day was a grand success, leading to many networking successes.

With funding from Awards for All, CATCA now has a website which just launched last week.  Many pages are still in progress but we invite the public to visit us and sign up for updates:

A full 38-page report with photos on the CAC project is available for viewing by link at the River Regeneration page of Community Green Initiative’s website:, and the Green Map of the project is also viewable at that site.