FIFE Council's work on the restoration of opencast mine sites across Fife has been recognised by the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.

And two of the sites which have caught the eye of judges are at Muirdean and St Ninians.

Blights on the landscape caused by opencast mining works at Muirdean at Crossgates, Blair House at Oakley and St Ninians at Kelty, have been transformed thanks to the restoration work led by the council.

And local communities are benefiting from the work being done to bring the surrounding countryside back to life.

Muirdean saw rolling farmland fields transformed into a massive opencast site on the outskirts of the village.

The project ran for more than a decade and saw considerable damage to the land as hundreds of thousand tonnes of coal were mined.

The story was the same at St Ninians, south west of Kelty, and latterly it was Hargreaves who took on the projects.

Working with Fife Council they have seen the dereliction cased by the opencast workings transformed back into rolling fields and nice water features plus at St Ninians, unusual high green hills.

Convener of the council's South West Fife Area Committee, Cllr Alice McGarry, welcomed the news that the council is being recognised for the positive impact the restoration work is having.

She commented: "It's great to see Fife's Planning Service being shortlisted for this excellent work.

"Opencast mining has had a devastating impact on our local environment and I know local people will join me in congratulating the council on the work that's being done to restore and enhance our beautiful landscape."