Coniston Mines

Tilberthwaite & Greenburn Mines

In December 2020, SCRT were awarded funding for a feasibility study to investigate and identify options to remediate copper contamination on downstream watercourses from the mines at Greenburn and Tilberthwaite.

SCRT are working in partnership with the Environment Agency, who are funding the project, as well as the National Trust and the Lake District National Park, who are both landowners in the area and whose knowledge in heritage and mine waters is of great assistance to the project.

Previous investigations and monitoring as part of the Water Framework Directive have shown that water quality in these upper valleys is being impacted by heavy metals, namely copper, from the mines. Therefore, this project has undertaken more detailed monitoring to identify the ‘hotspots’ within the mines which are potentially connecting to the watercourses. To do this the SCRT team have been sampling 18 different sites (across 4 mine sites) to capture copper concentrations over a range of times and across different weather events.

Greenburn Mine

Penny Rigg Mine

There are several Ancient Scheduled Monuments on the mine sites, forming part of the wider heritage landscape. Therefore, the project needs to take a considered approach to improving water quality and protecting the Ancient Scheduled Monuments, some of which are being undermined by the water, whilst also conserving the heritage of these sites. To develop potential remediation options, Dynamic Rivers have been appointed. They are assessing a range of options based on an understanding of flow pathways and river systems. These will be reviewed against heritage criteria, costs and other projects in the area to develop a series of options which best fit, protect and enhance this landscape.

The initial feasibility phase is intended to finish at the end of March 21. It is hoped that an extension will be feasible to undertake further monitoring and heritage assessments during the summer period. We have also developed links with Durham University, and are hoping to support a student to monitor the site at Penny Rigg over summer, with the intention that this will inform multi-year dissertation projects with the University.

We will then be looking to secure funding to deliver the options identified for this multi-benefit project, continuing to work closely with other partners.