The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative (IFLI) has won a national planning award. It was one of just four organisations from across Scotland that have been recognised in this way for their partnership working in the Scottish Awards for Quality Planning 2019, which are considered some of the Scottish Government’s most prestigious awards.
Partners and project staff receive the award from Kevin Stewart, MSP
The Inner Forth Landscape Initiative was a £4m partnership programme that ran between 2014 and 2018. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, it delivered over 50 projects to conserve, enhance and celebrate the natural, built and cultural heritage of the unique landscape at the upper reaches of the Firth of Forth. As a legacy of the partnership, Inner Forth Futures (IFF) is now continuing to work towards its aims.
There were a number of awards up for grabs, including ones for partnership working, plans, process, people and place. IFLI’s award is in the partnership category. Four criteria were used to select the winners by an independent judging panel. They looked at innovation in the project; the impact that the project has had; the transferability of the project and lessons learned from it. The final decision was made by Scottish Ministers.
Scottish planning policy says that ‘The planning system has a vital role to play in delivering high-quality places for Scotland.’ IFLI aimed to deliver this, working together as a Partnership, bringing local people and communities together, and acting as a catalyst to bring in investment and resources to help protect and enrich the area’s unique natural, historic and cultural heritage.
Commenting on the award Dave Beaumont, RSPB Regional Director, and Chair of the IFLI (now Inner Forth Futures) Board, said ‘It’s absolutely brilliant that this award celebrates the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative’s partnership, because real, meaningful partnership working was at the very heart of our acheivements. The fact that all the partners want to continue working together to secure IFLI’s legacy after the end of our HLF funding, and that Fife Council have now also joined us, is testimony to that success. The Inner Forth is such an important area where wildlife, heritage and conservation all come together and the success of IFLI is a great example of multiple partners and agencies recognising this. IFLI was an exceptionally good start to an ongoing programme of work that will restore ecological function, conserve built heritage and link this together with improved and appropriate access and interpretation.’
Caroline Clark, Director Scotland to The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added:
"This is fantastic news and we congratulate all the partners for the sterling work they're doing. The enormous pressures on our environment mean that we have to approach its restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before and the Inner Forth Partnership have had the foresight to do just that. With the help of National Lottery funding, they worked hard to help communities around the Inner Forth reconnect with nature, which often lies overlooked on an industrial landscape, while helping to conserve and protect it. Congratulations on the recognition of your impressive partnership working."
Eight new day-long walks and cycles exploring the unique landscape and heritage of the Inner Forth, plus a mega Round the Forth route, have just been launched by Inner Forth Futures, a partnership of local authorities and national organisations.
Image: Doug Shapley Photography/IFF
The trails, called the Inner Forth Wanderings and Windings, range from 11-mile rambles to a challenging 35-mile long cycle. They use existing paths and tracks to encourage local people and visitors to the area to explore the landscape and discover some of the many hidden gems to be found around the Inner Forth. The routes include nature hotspots, historic buildings, riverside views, cultural landmarks and simply places to escape from the bustle of urban life.
Trail guides for all the routes, plus the round the Forth ninth route, incorporating elements from all the trails, are available to download free from https://www.innerforthlandscape.co.uk/about/wanderings-windings, along with GPX files to help people navigate the routes from their smart phone or GPS devices.
The Wanderings and Windings project, led by Inner Forth Futures, a partnership of Fife, Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils, plus Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Sustrans and Central Scotland Green Network Trust, has been funded through a £47,000 award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with an overall value of £67,000.
Inner Forth Futures appointed Ian White Associates Landscape Architects to develop and deliver the trails. They ran 12 co-design workshops to work with local communities to design the routes and identify the key points of interest along the way.
A celebratory video has also been released, created by pupils from Falkirk High School, in conjunction with film makers D Fie Foe. You can watch it via the Wanderings & Windings page of the Inner Forth Futures website.
If people would still like to get more involved, IFF have a Facebook Group called Inner Forth Wanderings and Windings, which they can request to join.