A FIFE firm reckons they've got time to fill when it comes to the restoration of an old opencast mine at Crossgates.

John Collier and Sons got the go-ahead in the summer to continue returning land at Muirdean into productive use – including dealing with two large holes in the ground – with the added benefit to wildlife, with a number of swans getting stuck in drainage channels on the site.

It'll take almost 73,000 tonnes of soil to cap the disused lagoons and they're keen to get started on the four-year job, informing Fife Council last week that they've complied with a number of conditions that needed to be met first.

They include coming up with schemes to monitor dust, clean the wheels of HGVs, protect core paths on the site and their users and carry out a survey for bird nests.

Planning agent Alistair Smith, from AMS Associates, said the restoration works carried out so far had been put forward for an award and the next phase "has been designed to the highest standard to minimise potential environmental impacts".

It will also improve wildlife safety as he explained: "With the drainage channels remaining at present, swans are being trapped in there and then removed by the landowner.

"With the capping of these, this danger will be removed."

Doncaster firm ATH Resources opened the mine in 2008 with the intention of removing two million tons of coal, however, they went into administration in 2013.

Hargreaves acquired the site and began restoration works, which have been continued by Collier's.

Four settlement lagoons were used when the mine was in operation, two have already been filled in and the land levelled.

The two remaining lagoons to be capped are roughly two-and-a-half metres deep.

The area to be restored is 1.84 hectares in size and the soil and clay to be used will come from other groundwork projects in Fife and be transported by HGVs.

On completion of the restoration works, the land will be rehabilitated and managed for a further five years.

Most of the former mine has already been restored for agricultural use, there is also a pond and new public walking tracks.

The whole site has been fenced and gated to contain the sheep which graze on the site.