Heritage Lottery Fund backs major Inner Forth project

Published on Monday, 23 July 2012 12:11
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

A pioneering partnership project aiming to enhance the landscape and celebrate the history of the Inner Forth is one step closer to securing a major funding boost.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) today (23rd July 2012) announced that RSPB Scotland, on behalf of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, has received an earmarked first-round pass of £1,975,900, including £75,900 development funding through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme.

The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) sees local government, charities, and agencies working together with local people to deliver an ambitious vision for the area. The partnership is formed of RSPB Scotland (lead agency), Scottish Natural Heritage (Chair), Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Historic Scotland, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, Falkirk Council, Central Scotland Forest Trust, TCV Scotland, and SUSTRANS .

Its intention is to reveal the hidden cultural, historical and natural wealth of the upper reaches of the Firth of Forth, restore and conserve important features, open up access, and ultimately leave a legacy of a richer landscape and new facilities for all.

The Inner Forth sits close to the heart of Scotland between two of its ancient capitals – Stirling and Dunfermline –  within an hour's drive of Edinburgh and Glasgow -  and includes coastal areas within Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Stirling and Fife.

The project aims to:

  • turn perceptions of the Inner Forth around and rekindle local pride in this place,
  • connect disparate habitats to create a landscape flourishing with wildlife,
  • celebrate, protect and improve access to important historical and natural features,
  • support committed and motivated local community groups, individuals and organisations to take action to conserve and celebrate their area's heritage,
  • increase access and knowledge of the area's important heritage,,
  • provide training opportunities for people in local heritage skills,

The Forth is designated as an internationally important site for birds, providing refuge for thousands of wildfowl and wading birds in winter. The landscape has also been home to Scotland's industries for centuries, becoming an important trading route with the rest of the world. Along the coastline, there is evidence of ancient ports and harbours, salt pans, limekilns, mining and whisky production, sitting alongside the industries of today at Grangemouth, Alloa and Longannet. The layers of history and heritage hidden within the landscape create a fascinating story to be told.

Kate Studd, Inner Forth Landscape Partnership Officer, said:

" We're delighted that we have cleared this all important first hurdle and that the Heritage Lottery Fund recognises the potential of what can be achieved in this landscape. The Inner Forth is an area of real conservation and historic importance. Sadly, despite its fascinating history, it is often overlooked and undervalued. With this support from HLF, we will be able to work with local communities to take action to protect and celebrate the area's valuable heritage."

Anne McCall, Regional Director for RSPB Scotland added:

"RSPB Scotland is proud to be lead partner in this exciting project. The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative is a real team effort and allows us to deliver key conservation work on a large scale. This work, we believe, will play a vital role in improving the landscape of the Forth for people and wildlife for generations to come."

Andrew Bachell, Director of Operations at Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said:

"The landscape and nature in the Forth area is important to us all, offering recreational and economic benefits right in the heart of the Central Scotland Green Network.  We are delighted to be working with others on projects to restore some ecological processes and to strengthen links between local communities and nature so that we can increase the health and other benefits from living in a good environment."

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

"The natural and built heritage of the Inner Forth lies undiscovered for most, overlooked because of its industrial character. The area is, however, very important in terms of rare and diverse wildlife and the role it has had in shaping the history of Scotland over the centuries. HLF is delighted to give our initial support to a project which will enable this huge area of land to be conserved and managed, and local people reconnected with pride to the heritage on their doorstep."

Source: ©RSPB

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