AN AMBITIOUS and innovative programme working to increase climate resilience is set to work with Clacks communities along the banks of the River Forth.

Having already collected expressions of interest, Inner Forth Futures' Climate FORTH (Furthering Our Resilience Through Heritage) project has entered the development process to study, scope out and co-design activities with communities around the unique resilience needs of the landscape.

Covering areas around the Inner Forth estuary, the project is aiming to promote the value of local heritage, using it to inspire positive action towards climate change and net zero targets.

The next months will see consultations with communities from Stirling to Blackness and Rosyth to blueprint new ways of engaging with the changing landscape before the delivery phase begins from March 2023 to June 2026 if successfully funded.

The current development phase has attracted £175,660 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and, if successful, a range of pilot projects could represent a total value of work worth more than £1.4million.

This could entail green skill training initiatives for residents, innovative site re-purposing to bring new life to heritage, the development of locally-led community resilience plans, the enhancement of sustainable travel options and the use of virtual reality to bring changing coastlines to life.

Lee Monroe, Climate FORTH communications officer, told the Advertiser: "At this stage in the development process, we're working directly with residents, small businesses and young people to identify the specific needs and pressures that pilot activities in their communities can address.

"By co-designing the pilot activities this way, we want to make sure that they genuinely and directly benefit the people who live in these areas of the Inner Forth, broadening access to heritage, supporting local economies and building the skills to adapt to climate change on a local level."

The Inner Forth Futures partnership is made up of RSPB Scotland, NatureScot, Falkirk Council, Stirling Council, Clackmannanshire Council, Fife Council, Green Action Trust, and Sustrans while Historic Environment Scotland act as an advisory body.

Funding for the development phase was confirmed earlier this year when Dave Beaumont, RSPB operations director South Scotland and chair of the Inner Forth Futures Partnership Board, said: "Inner Forth communities and heritage face every-growing pressures due to impacts of a changing climate, economic change, and ongoing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Climate FORTH will respond to the local needs of communities and place and put historic heritage, habitats and cultural heritage at the heart of pilot activities that seek to support resilience and inspire action towards Scotland's net zero targets."