FRAW News November 2019


November 2019

In our last FRAW News we promised to report on progress with the Dowies Mill Weir controversy and the Salvesen Steps replacement saga (now in 7th year and counting).


A meeting was convened on October 30 attended by CEC officials & Councillors, SWECO the consulting engineers, Sustrans and a strong team from FRAW. It had been hoped that a costing would be presented to determine the viability of the project but this will not now be available until a meeting scheduled for the end of November. However, we saw a detailed computer simulation of the proposed structure – the fruit of the LiDAR drone survey made earlier this year. There followed constructive discussions of associated design, technical and costing issues. There is no doubt that the Steps replacement will be complicated and expensive but the good news is that Sustrans, the funding partner remains very keen on the project.


A meeting was held between the Council and local organisations on 2 October. Our staunch opposition to the Council’s preferred option of removing the weir was again expressed and after discussion it was agreed that our alternative option would now be given consideration and that funding would be sought to carry this out. We were asked to provide a brief summation of what we are putting forward and submitted the following. FRAW are now preparing a detailed paper to help this matter to go forward.

Further to the meeting of 2 October 2019, FRAW in conjunction with the Cramond & Barnton Community Council, the Cramond Association and the Cramond Heritage Trust believe that the stated objective of improved fish passage at Dowie’s Mill Weir can be best be achieved by replacing the existing fish pass and implementing the W.S. Atkins Option 2 Easement (2015 Optioneering Study to Improve Fish Passage) with associated works.

This will result in the retention of the existing weir and millpond thus preserving the industrial and cultural heritage and beauty of the area. It will remove potential erosion to the right bank, particularly adjacent to the Class C listed mill cottages and will also reduce the scour risk to Cramond Brig and remove the potential costs of relaying the 150mm diameter sewer (£880,882) and gas main (£994,207). It also saves the environmental impact of removing 300m3 of bed sediment and transporting it to Teeside for disposal and associated cost of £127,000. In addition we believe that our preferred scheme will result in cost savings from the CEC proposed option in excess of £150,000. We also consider the Risk Register costs in the CEC option to be understated.


On 29 October an elite work party completed the work to resolve the serious mud problem that has prevailed on the ‘turning circle’ below Dowies Mill Cottages. Five builder-bags of whin dust were barrowed and spread to smooth the surface of the aggregate that had been laid previously.

When our order is received later this month, we plan to dig in plant coverage on the fence-line by the boat yard at the Cramond entrance of the Walkway. We also hope to continue to clear back growth in the area to improve the light there and remove and burn the large accumulation of ‘brush’. In addition, we plan to cut back and tidy-up the growth of unwelcome snowberry etc that regularly threatens to overwhelm the entrance to the Walkway by the gate at the Queensferry Road.

The vast majority of the trees planted in the Community Woodland continue to flourish splendidly. Brush cutting has taken place to reduce the enormous growth of other vegetation that has also flourished around the trees – the weather has been greatly favourable to growth of all sorts this year. Some wood-chips have been delivered and we plan soon to improve and extend the paths together with more clearance of areas around the fringe of the Woodland. Work Party Volunteers stand in readiness!


In our last FRAW News we reported our unhappiness with the intrusive and unwelcoming nature of the barrier sign erected by the Council. After discussion, it was agreed that this should be changed and the result before and after is shown here. We very much appreciate the flexibility and helpfulness shown by the officer concerned. This demonstrates yet again the value of the effective partnership that can be achieved between local groups and the Council.