Header image for article 7510

Image shows: Richard Broadley, Falkirk Council; Douglas Worrell, Green Action Trust; Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, Falkirk Council; Joe Fitzpatrick MSP. Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning; Cllr Paul Garner, Falkirk Council; Mark Wilson, MacKenzie Construction; Nicola Duenas,  Green Action Trust

The site was officially opened on Friday 23 June by The Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, who along with Falkirk Council members, helped plant the final trees to complete the transformation.

Owned by Falkirk Council, Lionthorn Policy Bing is the remains of a coal mining spoil heap lying between the two communities of Hallglen and Lionthorn and has now been transformed into a vibrant open space for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Initially conceived in 2009, partners including the Green Action Trust, Scottish Government, and Falkirk Council have worked together to finally see the project completed after unlocking the funding needed.

This included a £583k award to Green Action Trust from Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme, as well as £197k of developer contributions.

Creating a sustainable and vibrant space

The project achieved a range of objectives, creating a sustainable and vibrant space for the community.

These milestones include extensive meadow areas and bulb planting to contribute to Scotland's first B-Lines project, the 'John Muir Pollinator Way.' native woodland planting, wetland 'scrapes' (seasonal ponds that encourage wildlife), and the introduction of extra heavy standard trees have added visual interest, structure, and amenity to the site.

Additionally, the project incorporates 'edible' hedge planting to enhance wildlife and biodiversity, while a dedicated grass pitch and improved access through new path links promote local active travel provision.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council explained: “The Lionthorn Policy Bing project's completion marks a significant step forward in Falkirk's journey towards a greener and more sustainable future.

“It is a testament to the power of collaboration, visionary planning, and community engagement. The project stands as a shining example of the positive impact that can be achieved when policy support, funding, and the dedication of residents converge.

“We’re grateful for the support we have received from both Green Action Trust and Scottish Government making this a reality.”

Planning Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “We know that high-quality green spaces are vital for communities to flourish, and I’m pleased the Scottish Government was able to support the improvement work at Lionthorn Bing by providing £583,000 from the low carbon Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme.

“Reusing our land in this way has multiple benefits, including improving community health. The work also reflects the core aims of the investment programme to support ambitious local approaches to tackling persistent vacant and derelict land and deliver place-based regeneration as part of a just transition to net zero.”

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive Officer of Green Action Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see the result of all the hard work and investment that has gone into transforming Lionthorn Policy Bing.

“It has been a privilege to work with Falkirk Council and the Scottish Government to realise our shared ambitions to improve the environmental quality of this area.

“The project is also a great example of how partnership working can deliver the wider aims of the Central Scotland Green Network to improve communities’ access to greenspace while addressing the climate and biodiversity crises.”