West Lothian coal mine is welcome home to colony of sand martins

Sand martinA West Lothian surface coal mine has become an unexpected haven for wildlife.

Banks Mining has revealed its Rusha surface mine has recently supported a vast array of wildlife making home in features such as the mine’s water settlement lagoons and in banks of deposited earth.

Peregrine falcons, Hooper swans, oystercatchers as well as roe deer have all sought refuge in the working mine, with the latest ‘guests’ including a a colony of sand martins.

Rusha site-manager Ian Ritchie, said: “The new colony of sand martins has captivated many of the team of late as they’re eye-catching wee birds and are always on the move. The loose soil and patches of vegetation seem to provide the perfect habitat for them to feed and breed in.

“We go to great lengths to ensure that we don’t impact the wildlife that makes the mine home, for example when oystercatchers recently laid eggs on the site, we cordoned off the area so that the working vehicles didn’t disturb them.

The Hamilton based employer has been operating at the Rusha site, near Breich, since 2012, as part of a seven-year project to extract coal from the site.  The coal extracted from Rusha is used for industrial, domestic and coal fired power generation in both Scotland and England. 

Once coaling at Rusha is complete, the 154-hectare site will be fully restored and landscaped to a mixture of woodland and agriculture.

Ritchie added: “Our plans to fully restore the landscape at the end of our tenure will be strongly focussed on creating habitats to benefit the local wildlife.”


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