Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Morning of the March 2018 Board

So here we are on the morning of Falkirk Environment Trusts 78th Business meeting, and its going to be a big one!

Since the inception of the Scottish Landfill Community Fund, our applicant numbers have steadily risen, as have applications across Scotland. In today's slate we have 11! With a really good mix of public amenities of different types including Multi use games areas (MUGA's), Heritage Building works, community food projects and new recycling projects. Nothing on the Biodiversity thread this time around, which is a shame, but plenty to be getting on with. I'm particularly pleased about the new recycling projects, the likes of which have long been missing in the Falkirk Area

And of course the above number, whilst a record for Falkirk and FET, is indicative of an ongoing upsurge of  applications. With the March 2018 project portfolio FET have handled a total of 27 projects in this financial year alone! I'm not going to bandy numbers around at the moment because obviously this latest batch haven't been through the full decision making process yet and are not guaranteed the requested money. As soon as the results are in I will let every one know where FET is with numbers.

Thanks goes out to all the people who have come forward with these applications, which will be reviewed by the FET Board today.

As always, if you have a great idea for a community led project in the Falkirk area then call me at the FET office and we'll have a chat about your proposal. Watch this space!

So what I'd like to do over the next few weeks is to put up some project details about the sorts of things that people are applying for, and photos of the finished results.

I've got to go prep for my Board meeting of this afternoon.

Bye for Now

Arthur Berg
Development Manager

Monday, 25 September 2017

FET Call for New Applications

A Call for new applications to the Scottish Landfill Community Fund in the Falkirk Area

The FET Board meeting will be on Thursday 14th of December 2017, Where the projects will be discussed in depth and scored using the 6 point criteria provided by the regulator.

After the meeting, I will contact applicants and discuss with them any points that the board made to improve their application to the scheme before its final submission to the approved body at their next Board meeting. I've include a few images of previous projects to show the sorts of things that we can get involved with.

Larbert Cycle Tracks Project

The John Muir Way at Carriden "Crookies"

Who can apply?

Any non profit organisation can apply for funding including Community Councils, Tennents and Residents Associations, Sports clubs, Youth groups, Church groups and Community organisations of all sorts. You need a group with a constitution and a bank account to qualify to make an application to the scheme.

What Can We apply for?

The SLCF Scheme can make grants to capital works costs for selected projects.

There are several application threads or “Objects” as they are called within the scheme. These are;

Object B - Community Recycling projects – Community led projects that Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Compost, Upcycle or Minimise wastes. This is a new object under the Scottish scheme.

Object C – Community Amenity Projects – These projects are incredibly varied, but all share a common feature – the are available to the general public. These can be community halls, paths and access ways, access ramps, disabled toilets and play parks have all been funded under this object in the past.

The Carriber Bridge, River Avon Heritage Trail

The South Green Drive Community Play Area, Airth

Object D – Biodiversity – projects that create or enhance wildlife habitat, or that help a specific species. The Habitat and species must be listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Invertibrate habitat project at Roughcastle, Bonnybridge

Cowslip in seed at Bantaskine estate, Falkirk

Object E – Heritage buildings – Projects that repair, restore or conserve building and sites of Historical, Architectural or Religious significance. Buildings must have listed status. In the past places like Slamannan Parish Church, The Bo’ness Hippodrome, The Dymocks Building and the Airth Mercat Cross have all received funding from the scheme.

The Stenhouse and Carron Parish Church Organ Restoration Project

How do I go about applying for funding from SLCF?

In the first instance, please contact the Development Manager of FET in the following ways

Telephone     01324 504816

or write to

Arthur Berg
Development Manager
Falkirk Environment Trust
Abbotsford House
Davids Loan, Bainsford
Falkirk EH27YZ

You will then have the opportunity to talk about your project ideas and if it looks like the scheme  could fund the project, forms and application advice will be passed along to you.

Thanks for reading this, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Wild About Kinneil

Hi To all of you! Today I wanted to help Falkirk Community Trust to advertise their forthcoming
"Wild About Kinneil" series of events. Please come along to these events and show your support for the wonderful Kinneil Estate in Bonny Bo'ness! Below is the poster giving times and dates of each of the events over the next couple of months. Click on the image to access a larger more readable version.

Hope to see some of you at Kinneil!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

News from FET and Leader funding Launch in the Falkirk area

Hello to all

A little bit of News from FET and the Community Project funding scene.

First of all, with the new Scottish Landfill Community Fund in place, its time to be considering all those project ideas youve been thinking about over the winter. the Board dates for this rest of the year year are as follows

Summer Board         9th June 2016

Autumn Board         16th September 2016

Winter Board            16th December

If you do have a project that you want to put forward, or wish to receive a bit of guidance on projects and funding, please contact me at the FET office on 01324 504816, or email me on

The Board of FET are always looking for project applications, but please bring them through me first.

As stated a post or two ago, there are a few changes to the scheme. We now have the ability to assess projects in the area of community recycling, waste minimisation and materials re-use. How such a project would manifest itself is really up to you, but if youre uncertain then please contact me and I'll test your idea with SEPA, the new Scottish Regulator. This thread was the original primary focus of the scheme, until it was withdrawn in the early 2000's.

In addition to the standing funding threads of Building new Public Amenities and enhancing existing ones (That can be things like play parks, public parks, access, community halls etc), Enhancing Biodiversity for habitats and species, There is a new aspect to the Old Category "E", the conservation and repair of Buildings of Architectural interest. This runs to sites of archaeological interest. I'm currently not too sure how that will work but I'll investigate and provide a post in the near future.

The next item relates to  LEADER (Liaisons Entre Actions de Developement de L’Economie Rurale) - 

that well established European funding source for the development of Rural areas. The next round of LEADER funding is live, and has been since about November, with the Kelvin Valley and Falkirk LEADER  covering rural areas within East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk

This round of LEADER funding runs to £2.8 Million over the next 5 years. The application procedure requires interest applicants to provide an Expression of Interest Form, which is found online at the Scottish Rural Network site Leader pages. The EOI will be assessed by the LEADER Local Action Group, who will then invite you to make a full application or reject the EOI with feedback and tips for your next attempt.

Rather than trying to explain the complexities of the LEADER set up, I'll provide some links below. Remember the funding is for rural development, so if you live in a town chances might be against 

Here is the Leader information, copied directly from an Email sent to , the Leader Programme Manager for the Falkirk and Kelvin Valley area. It relates to an event which is running tommorrow, at the Camelon Sensory Centre

"Local Information Sessions on Kelvin Valley & Falkirk LEADER Programme 2014-2020

We are holding local information sessions in each local authority area in April/May. This is a drop-in event where you will be able to find out about our Programme and how to apply. There will be other local funding organisations in attendance. There is no booking or registration for the event, just turn up on the day.
Falkirk Area:
Date: Thursday 21st April
Time: 4pm-7pm
Venue: Forth Valley Sensory Centre, Camelon"

All interested parties are invited to attend on a Drop in Basis, to find out more about what the funding can do.

If you are interested in making an application to the Leader Fund, see below for contact details;

Kelvin Valley & Falkirk LEADER : (+44) 01324 590 711  

Kelvin Valley & Falkirk LEADER is now open for applications. 

Please like us on Facebook to keep up to date with deadlines and events: 

Thanks for reading this post - More funding and project information to follow!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

One from the Archive - South Green Drive Community Gardens and Playpark

If one to simply look at the paperwork associated with this project, it would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking this project came easily to the people of Airth - nothing could be further from the truth...The application was made after numerous meetings in 2009, which were all about the "How To". The Tenants and Residents committee of South Green Drive came into this complex project absolutely cold - no experience whatsoever.

In spite of this, and the fact that the land ownership turned out to be shared over two council departments, which caused a difficulty when trying to attain the final lease, and in spite of the fact that the project was expensive, the group prevailed and ultimately delivered.

At the outset, the Village of Airth had no real play facility for under 12s, and with a large proportion of families with young children in the area, It was time that something was done. The South Green Drive Tenants and Residents Association (TRA)  Knew of the site, at the time derelict and decided to approach FET for funding.

There follows something of a Photo Blog for the project

The old Red Blaize  of the site 

Above - three views of the original site taken in 2009

After suitable community consultations and  a variety of difficulties with gaining a lease to the site, locating suitable contractors and a dozen other logistical concerns, work started on the site in the Spring of 2010.

Breaking Ground - Removal of the red blaize

Initial earth works - digging out the foundations of the old swing set

In with the New Play equipment

Getting equipment straight and level

Post intallation landscaping
  At last the project completed in the summer of 2010. After over a year of planning the actual works were over in less than a month. Here are some images of the completed park

Above - Several views of the completed play park in August 2010. The space has been utterly transformed, Now all that was needed were people;

Opening Day, 2010

The Gates Open

The Committee and supporters of the project

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Scottish Landfill Community Funding - an explaination of changes and transition

Hello to all - I've been spending a little bit of time coming to terms with the new Scottish Landfill Community Fund, it's regulations and the differences that are showing up from the ENTRUST regulated UK LCF system.

Ok, so the start of this is that as part of the devolution of powers to the Scottish Government,  a variety of Taxation now falls within their Scope. One of these taxes is, suprise suprise, Landfill Tax.

As such, SEPA, or  Revenue Scotland will be overseeing and enforcing landfill taxation, ie those monies owed to the Scottish Treasury by landfill site operators who accept waste for final disposal through landfilling. In many cases, and particularly in Falkirk, there are Materials recycling Facilities (MRFs) that will sort the mixed wastes into those components that can be recycled and those that must be landfilled. That final component is what we are interested in here.

The Tax  itself
The Landfill Tax rate for 2015 is set at £82.20 per tonne for mixed wastes, ie those wastes that can represent a danger to human health, biodiversity, climate ie contains hazardous materials of some sort. For inert wastes such as demolition debris the rate will stand at £2.60 per tonne. It's really the first number that interests us here. Landfill community fund is in fact a tax credit issued to the operator who has signed up to the scheme. As with the UK Scheme, the Scottish LCF scheme states that the Operator can claim 90% of the total fund required, with the remaining 10 % coming from a community source. This is known as the Third Party Contribution, and is the applicants responsibility to find.  Don't worry about it too much at this stage though, as if you come to make an application to SLCF, all will be carefully explained about Third Party Contributions.

Proximity to a landfill site
The Landfill community fund was originally developed to help communities affected by the presence of a landfill site (Smell, Dust, Noise, risk of fire or explosion etc) and as such the rule of thumb was that the project must be within a 10 mile radius of a landfill site. This has not changed, but what the Scottish Government has done, in the interests of fairness is to say that if you are within 10 miles of a Landfill site OR a waste transfer station,  you can make application to any landfill Community Fund source in Scotland. This spreads the total amount of LCF around the country, but you still have to meet the proximity test.

The SLCF Objects
The Objects are those types of projects that can be funded, or are "Compliant"  with the scheme. As with any funding source there are areas that are prefered and those that simply wont get funded. The Old scheme had 3 main areas, those being Public amenity, Biodiversity and Historic buildings. Below is an exact copy of the regulations for the new Scottish system

There are six main areas of work (“objects”) that qualify for funding under the Scottish Landfill
Communities Fund (SLCF). The following describes the type of projects that are eligible for
funding under the SLCF.
Object A The reclamation, remediation, restoration or other
operation on land to facilitate economic, social or
environmental use.

Object B Community based recycling, re-use and waste
prevention projects.

Object C To provide, maintain or improve public park or other
public amenity.

Object D The conservation or promotion of biological diversity
through the provision, conservation, restoration or
enhancement of a natural habitat or the maintenance or
recovery of a species in its natural habitat .

Object E The maintenance, repair or restoration of a building,
other structure or a site of archaeological interest which
is a place of religious worship, or a site of historic or
architectural or archaeological interest and is open to
the public.

Object F The provision of financial, administration and other
similar services to projects.

The Main differences from the old scheme are as follows;

Object B, ie Community Recycling actually used to exist under the Entrust system, until the UK Government pulled it, along with the lions share of the original funding. The old Object C/CC funded a number of ongoing recycling projects in the area, such as Action Recycle, Grangemouth Enterprise Ltd and the Falkirk end of Alloa Community Enterprises. I believe all of these, apart from ACE who are still going strong, shut down shortly after the original funding was removed. Its good to see it back, and hopefully the Scottish Government will have the wisdom to increase funding levels for this object.

Object C, used to be called Object D under the Entrust regulations, and similarly Biodiversity projects which were known as Object D (a) are now simply D.

Object E represents an evolution, in that the category, whilst it did exist previously now include site of Archaeological, and historic interest. Any site of building that an applicant wishes to restore or repair must be designated, ie counted as important by the government and protected under a designated status. For example a B listed building is said to have a designation, which is it's listed status. 

As always every project must have a strong element of community access, and applications must be made by non profit organisations.

Private Funding status 
The Scottish Landfill Community Fund will retain its status as a Private Funding Source, which means it can be legally matched to state aid funding under UK, and now Scottish Tax Law. 

FETS Future Activities
As far as we can tell here at FET it should be business as usual. The transition has already been made, so that new monies should start to flow soon into the SLCF. If you have a project currently registered to ENRUST then it needs to be completed by 31st March 2017. Thats when the old scheme is irrevocably closed to applicants in Scotland.  There is a small amount of UK funds left in "The Pot" which will be distributed in the most appropriate fashion by the Board of Directors of FET. However this is the new SLCF building up, and  is open for application now.

As always FET need good project ideas that follow the objects stated above (A through F) - that are driven by a constituted Community Group or Charity / Non profit making organisation. As always please contact me, Arthur Berg with you idea before launching  an application. I can be reached on

Tel 01324 504816

or write to 

Falkirk Environment Trust
Abbotsford House
Davids Loan


If you have any questions feel free to comment below,  Email me on, or call me on the number shown above.I'll do my best to answer all questions, and if I cant, I'll find someone who can. I hope this post is useful  to you.

Arthur Berg

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Projects for April 2014 - March 2015

Hi Folks - As promised here is our activity listing for the financial year of 2014 - 2015. I've tried to give a little flavour of each project with a wee blurb of text, and even thrown in a couple of pictures to brighten the place up. I think that this was a great achievement on behalf of the communities of Falkirk and the Board of Directors of FET - Congrats to all of our participants.

I'll try to edit the post over the next few days with some more details and increase the number of links, but this is the base post.

The Bottom line is that We (and that means the readers, the Board, LCF and all the partners on every project) have just pulled off a slamming year...Broke the record...Knocked it out of the park!

So now we turn our attention to the next financial period  - 2015 to 2016 - Lets out do the numbers below and get the projects up to 20 in a single year...Contact me with your project Ideas and lets get moving!

Awards  registered with Entrust in 2014 - 2015    
                                                                    Award       Total Value     FET %
 Muiravonside Invasive Species 3             £10,890         £21,680         50%
A continuation of the Partnership between FET, The Conservation Volunteers and Falkirk  Community Trust. We (the partnership) have been working for several years on the eradication of Rhododendron Ponticum from the woods. Now at the third phase it can be said that the easy hits have been made, and what remains are stands on steep slopes that will require workers to be harnessed and roped down to the work site for safety.
A stand of R.Ponticum at Muiravonside CP - now long gone!

Ponticum is pernicious stuff, so it must be
 monitored and sprayed as it regrows

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Greenrigg  Cycle Track                            £23,237       £56,474            50%
A Skills training area for Mountain Bikers at the Greenrigg Strip. Bespoke, the applicant have been developing these cycle tracks for several years. The latest addition to the over all network of Cycle and multi-user pas in the area is the Tehcnical Skills Training track, featuring bumps, jumps and  various obstacles. With varying levels of difficulty the facility will be suitable for most users
The area around Greenrigg has been heavily developed with
 both mountain bike and multi-user trails

The Green Rigg strip - site of the forthcoming Skills Track

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Lionthorn Bridge                                       £6408          £12816           50%
A Further Enhancement to the Lionthorn Community Woodland – the replacement of a very narrow and elderly bridge with one  that allows much greater user accessability. The applicant was Lionthorn Community Woodland Group.
The old Lionthorn Bridge - suitable only for more able walkers

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Scottish Dragon Finder Muiravonside    £6,057        £12,114            50%
Work on ponds at the Muiravonside Country park to enhance habitat for the Great Crested Newt, Scotlands Rarest Newt. The project involves limited clearance of the existing ponds to create a larger body of clear water and creating small bodies of seasonal wetland by digging out shallow areas called scrapes. The Applicant is Froglife.

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Scottish Dragon Finder Avonglen            £5,650          £11,300          50%
As above, except at the Avonglen Quarry. Thanks to Frog life for the applicati0n and to Anna Perks , Falkirk Council Biodiversity officerfor her assistance

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Kinneil Lagoons Habitat Enhancement  £10,000       £25,000           40%
An RSPB initiative, The existing Laggoon will be enhanced  and its edges resculpted, with a new lagoon being dug and allowed to maintain  water at all times. The existing, much larger lagoon was formed when the old kinneil landfill cell was flooded, creating a large body of tidally influenced water. Additional works will involve some maintenance to a nearby woodland.

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
B'oness to Blacknes access Links 2        £35,000         £30,5158         11%
This is the second phase of a project to upgrade the John Muir Trail path links between Bo’ness and Blackness, making them accessible to greater numbers of users. The overall project involves armouring sections of the coastline with Stone, improving the path itself to the highest of multi-user standards, and  the inclusion of directional / distance signage. This second phase runs to the eastern edge of Bo’ness.

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
 Kinneil Foreshore Habitat                      £17,039        £34,978           50%
The project will encourage development of wildflower meadows which will provide much needed and improved habitat for invertebrates, birds and small mammals. 
Additionally, coppicing and thinning in the woodlands to encourage multi-stemmed trees to grow to reduce wind blow, extend the life of the woodland and encourage structural diversity. Wildflower seeding and tree and shrub planting will improve habitat diversity and to add variety to the woodland structure. Thanks to the Friends of Kinneil Foreshore group for bringing the application forward, Helped along the way by Ian Edwards and Anna Perks.

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Safeguarding Coastal Saltmarsh            £5,000          £45,000            11%
Another RSPB Project, this sets out to stop erosion of an area of the mud flats at the Haughs of Aitrth. The area is designated as a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and as such the most extreme care must be used not to disturb the wildlife. The area is famous as a place for wading birds, and particularly overwintering visitors to the British isles. The techniques to be used run to the application of a series of meshes over the affect. 
Mudflat erosion at the Haughs of Airth SSSI - 

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Larbert to Dorrator Link                         £15,000       £164,200          9%
This project is located in the River Carron corridor, between the settlements of Larbert, Stehousemuir, Camelon and Mungal. These improvements will address the last remaining links required in the development of a 6 mile path loop. Thanks to the Central Scotland Green Network for making this application.
Dorrator Path link before work commences - Messy!

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Slamannan Parish Church                       £20,000       £487,920           4%
Slamannan Parish Church is a B listed building, which is over 200 years old. Over the years the church has suffered deterioration, which has culminated in structural damage to the fabric of the building. Cracks have appeared in the stonework associated with “Oxide Jacking”, and dis-aggregation of the mortared joints has caused parts of the building to become open to the elements. Water damage, although secondary to the former has caused terrible damage to the inside of the building, with section of plaster having fallen off the walls and ceilings, wet rot and other difficulties. Finally, both the roof and windows need to be repaired, as they too both allow water into the building
The Application brought forward by the Slamannan Parish Church Council works that would seal the roof, Windows doors and even the stone work against the weather, Would deal with both wet and dry rot in the timbers of the building, and restore features of Historic Value. 
Slamannan Parish Church - A B listed Building

Example of water damage to Church interior

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Denny Memorial Garden                         £10,000        £95,185           10%
As part of the renovation process of the Denny Town Centre, as well as the 2014 Legacy programme relating to the First World War, Falkirk Council stepped in to move the War memorial from the now demolished town centre buildings.The Fund helped to provide labour and materials to erect a permanent memorial in the nearby Broompark Gardens.
Broompark, Denny before memorial works

Broom park after the Memorial Garden is finished

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
River Carron Invasive Species 2              £6,500         £13,000           50%
The Second phase of an ambitious plan to eradicate invasive palnt species, specifically Japanese knotweed  and Giant Hogweed, from the Banks of the River Carron. The main technique used was stem injection, which is labour intensive but very efficient. A third phase, including ongoing monitoring and spraying of new stems is being planned now. Thanks to the River Forth Fisheries Trust for their application and ongoing work towards improving the biodiversity in the River Carron Catchment.

Stem injected Japanese Knotweed on the River Carron

River Carron at Denny, with treated JKW top right

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Callendar Park Rhododendron               £28100         £56,200           50%
Calendar Park is well known as the central green space in Falkirk, with its grand house, Lawns and Arboretum.  What the public may not know is that the great stands of rhododendron Ponticum – growing through out the park as structural landscape plants, Are an invasive alien Species. Not only that, they have successfully invaded the Callendar and other woods in Falkirk, where they supress the natural growth of indigenous Scottish species. FET has been combatting R. Ponticum for many years in Falkirk, and have now joined forces with Falkirk Community Trust and The Scottish Forestry Commision. The Plan is to eradicate the species from Callendar Park, and so stopping the massive seed production that occurs every year. The affected areas will be replanted with wildflowers and young indigenous tree species.
Planted as structural Landscape plants, But it’s dark side is its ability to invade woodland and smother all other ground cover plants, stopping  forest regeneration and destroying Biodiversity.
R. Ponticum, used as a structural landscape feature by many Gardeners in the UK

R.Ponticum invading a forest environment

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Bridgeness  Biodiversity Project             £11,453       £22,906            50%
Along the route of the John Muir way, as it passes through Eastern Bo’ness, there are large areas of Amenity grass land that are of low Biodiversity value along withy some post industrial brown field areas. This project will address those areas and create areas of wild flower meadows 
Example of a wild flower meadow

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Helix Inclusive Play                                 £18,000         £90,519            20%
After the Highly successful project  “Helix Adventure Zone” of which FET was a major Funder, Falkirk Community Trust have been allocated an amount for the next Phase, that of building a new area devoted to children that are less physically able. Photos of this will be made available as the project is built and comes on line.

                                                                   Award       Total Value     FET %
Kinneil Drystane Project                          £15,000       £61,715           24%
Drystane walls not only look attractive, but are incredible havens for a wide variety of wildlife. Cracks and crevices provide shelter for all manner of invertibrates, small birds and mammals and enhance the biodiversity of the area.

I'll put some more pictures up of the projects as they progress and get to the final delivery stage...Meanwhile thanks for taking the time and I look forward to working with you in this next financial year!!

All the Best               Art Berg