Grant could unlock vital £2m investment

Mudflats at Grangemouth
Mudflats at Grangemouth

Communities along the Forth could benefit from a £2 million grant if a scheme gets the green light.

The Inner Forth Landscapes Initiative has secured almost £76,000 to help it apply for the £2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund - money already earmarked for them, providing plans impress decision-makers.

The initiative covers an area of over 200 sq. km from Stirling Bridge to Blackness, taking in the communities of Dunmore, Airth, South Alloa, Grangemouth and Skinflats. The plans to rejuvenate the area have helped it secure a first-round pass of £1,975,900, including £75,900 development funding, to celebrate and protect the wildlife and rekindle local pride.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, convenor of the Leisure, Tourism and Community Committee at Falkirk Council welcomed the funding, secured by a partnership of RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and others including the local authority.

He said: “The partners have secured nearly £76,000 to prepare final proposals to put to the Heritage Lottery Fund. However, with the right ideas and the support of local communities and the partners, we could attract £2 million of funding.”

He added: “It’s worth stressing that while money has been set aside, there isn’t a guarantee of full funding at this stage. But hopefully we can work up the right proposals to satisfy and bring much-needed investment.”

The River Forth is an important site for wildlife and the landscape has been home to Scotland’s industries for centuries.

Along the coastline are ancient harbours, mining sites and whisky distilleries along with modern industry at Grangemouth and Longannet.

The project hopes to restore and preserve important features in the area and open up access to the public.

Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “The natural and built heritage in 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.

“We are delighted to give our initial support to a project which will enable this huge area of land to be conserved, managed and local people reconnected with pride to the heritage on their doorstep.”

The initial funding will help the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative develop plans and apply for the full grant at a later date.

The Heritage Lottery Fund allocates grants of £250,000 to £2 million to initiatives which bring together communities and celebrate the diverse UK landscapes.