THE Heritage Lottery Fund indicated its backing, in principle, on Monday for a major £1.9million Inner Forth project, that would cover the coastal communities of Bo’ness and Blackness.
Important wildlife sites could be enhanced, and industrial and cultural heritage celebrated under the pioneering Inner Forth Landscape Initiative which stretches round the coast to Fife.
Led by RSPB Scotland, initiative partners include Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland and Falkirk Council. They will develop ideas working closely with local communities over the next year.
A fully-developed application must be submitted to HLF to secure the full award, but Monday’s announcement means subject to final proposals meeting the programme’s criteria, the funding for the scheme is in place.
Work on the ground would start in 2014 at the earliest. Important features could be restored and conserved, access opened up, and new facilities installed.
On Monday, the initiative was awarded HLF funding of nearly £76,000 to prepare the final proposals.
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.”
Anne McCall, RSPB Scotland regional director, said the initiative was a real team effort, allowing the delivery of key conservation work on a large scale.
Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s leisure, tourism and community convener, said: “The money could be spent on a variety of heritage-linked projects, such as improving paths, better interpretation and running training schemes - as well as other initiatives.
“It could provide a real boost for local people and visitors to this area.”
Falkirk East MSP, Angus MacDonald tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament welcoming HLF’s announcement and said he hoped the partnership continued their high standard of work to secure the full cash.
“It (the initiative) will have a lasting and positive impact on the people and wildlife for generations to come,” he said.