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Photograph by Alexander Ball 2010

Cameron Reservoir is one of the most important nature conservation sites in Fife with both national SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and international SPA (Special Protection Area) and Ramsar designations relating primarily to its use as a Pink-footed Goose roost and the presence of regionally important numbers of other waterfowl such as Wigeon and Tufted Duck. The future of the reservoir has been under discussion for a number of years with the aim of safeguarding its nature conservation interest once it had become redundant for water supply purposes.

Fife Council, and its predecessor Fife Regional Council, has been involved in discussions over the future of Cameron Reservoir since at least the early 1990's when the function of the reservoir as part of the Fife water supply network was being reconsidered. At the time of local government re-organisation in 1996 it appeared from discussions with the former Fife Regional Council, Water and Drainage Department, that the reservoir was surplus to requirements and arrangements were put in place for the site, including the 600 acres of farmland associated with Radernie Farm, to be retained by Fife Council rather than transferring to East of Scotland Water (ESW - now Scottish Water). However, the Secretary of State for Scotland amended the Asset Transfer Scheme to allow ESW to retain ownership of the reservoir and farmland owing to the intention of ESW to continue to use it for operational needs. After prolonged negotiations this position was accepted in 2000 with the reservoir and Radernie farmland being retained by Scottish Water, although by this time it was apparent that the reservoir was surplus to requirements.

In 1998 an Advisory Group was established representing the main organisations with an interest in the site (Fife Council, SNH, Scottish Water, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Ornithologists' Club, Cameron Community Council, St. Andrews Angling Club, local landowners and residents and elected member). The purpose of this group was to oversee the preparation of an appropriate management regime for the reservoir with the establishment of a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) one of the key proposals. Much work was done in preparing a draft Management Statement for the site and a draft Management Agreement with Scottish Water to enable a LNR to be progressed.

However, discussions faltered in 2002 for a number of reasons - a change in Scottish Water's approach to the disposal of redundant assets, the resource implications to Fife Council in administering another LNR, failure to obtain a management agreement with the owner of the woodland strips located on either side of the reservoir and the likely cost of upgrading the access road to the site (well over £100,000). Scottish Water has since given the Angling Club first option on the possible purchase of the site which would also entail the Club taking responsibility for all liabilities associated with the reservoir. Any future owner, however, will need to abide also by the conservation restrictions pertaining to the site designations, as specified by SNH, and the obligations under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.

It is unfortunate that after so many years the future of Cameron Reservoir is still not secure. It is uncertain at present if a LNR will be progressed although it is probably the most appropriate mechanism for bringing all interests together to support site management for the benefit of all users. Fife Council will continue to work with all parties to achieve a satisfactory outcome to ensure that Cameron Reservoir retains its special conservation status.

Allan W. Brown, Planner (Natural Heritage), Fife Council, Development Services,

tel: 01334 412796, e-mail:



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