Earth Hour Award for The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies

There were celebrations beneath The Kelpies today, as WWF Scotland presented Scottish Canals, in partnership with Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust, the Earth Hour Public Body Runner-Up Award for 2015.

The award recognises the public commitment made to the global WWF Earth Hour movement over the past year.  The lights illuminating the internationally-renowned landmarks The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies were turned off, helping to put a spotlight on the issues facing the planet and remind us that, together, we have the power to make change happen.

Emilie Devenport of WWF Scotland, disguised as the WWF Panda, presented the award to Dr. Olivia Lassiere, Heritage and Environment Manager, Scottish Canals;  Councillor Dr Craig Martin, spokesperson for the Environment, Falkirk Council and Ben Mardall, Team Leader at The Helix, Falkirk Community Trust.

The Falkirk Wheel, connecting the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals, is the world’s only rotating boat lift and one of Scotland’s busiest tourist attractions, welcoming over 600,000 visitors last year.  The colossal Kelpies are the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures and stand guard over the new section of the historic Forth & Clyde Canal.  They are the centrepieces of The Helix project, driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals and supported by the Big Lottery Fund.  The Helix is managed by Falkirk Community Trust.

Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland, said:  “I’m absolutely delighted to be able to recognise Scottish Canals, in partnership with Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust, for all their efforts in support of our annual Earth Hour initiative. This award clearly demonstrates the massive commitment of the organisations to tackling climate change and protecting our brilliant planet. We look forward to working with our award winners again for Earth Hour 2016.’

We are delighted to receive this award, and proud to take part in WWF’s Earth Hour. We’re excited to be involved in such a great and inspiring event, highlighting that everyone can make a difference to help protect our planet – we all have a key role to play.

Dr. Olivia Lassiere, Heritage and Environment Manager at Scottish Canals

Over the last decade, WWF’s Earth Hour’s unique display of darkness has become a global phenomenon with hundreds of millions of individuals coming together each year. In 2015, a record-breaking 172 countries and some of world’s most famous buildings including Big Ben, Hong Kong’s skyline and the Sydney Harbour Bridge joined the global celebration. In the UK alone, over 10 million people took part, along with over 4,800 schools, 200 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations.

Dr. Olivia Lassiere, Heritage and Environment Manager at Scottish Canals, said:  “We are delighted to receive this award, and proud to take part in WWF’s Earth Hour.  We’re excited to be involved in such a great and inspiring event, highlighting that everyone can make a difference to help protect our planet – we all have a key role to play.

“Operating the 137 miles of its network presents Scottish Canals with a number of unique environmental opportunities and challenges, and we recently launched a comprehensive environment strategy which outlines our current and ongoing commitment to environmental management.  This will play a key role in working towards the Scottish canals acting as catalysts for sustainable development in communities across Scotland.”

Scottish Canals, Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust will again be proud to switch off the lights at The Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies, from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday 19 March 2016, joining millions across the world to celebrate WWF’s Earth Hour.

Councillor Dr Craig Martin, spokesperson for the Environment, Falkirk Council, said:  “Using the Kelpies is a great way to capture the public’s imagination and encourages them to take part. We’d urge everyone across our communities to join in this great event and celebrate Earth Hour across the planet.”

Falkirk Community Trust are also marking Earth Hour with a unique event – they hope to set a new Guinness World Record for the ‘most people performing a yoga pose outside’ at The Kelpies, at 9pm.

Ian Scott, Chairman of Falkirk Community Trust, said:  “We are delighted to be involved in such an innovative approach to celebrating Earth Hour. We are hopeful we will make another entry into the Guinness Book of Records as well as supporting this extremely good cause.”

Notes to Editors

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See www.ScottishCanals.co.uk or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union and  Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness
  • Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22 million visitations per year
  • The Helix is being driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals. The project has been awarded £25 million by the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks programme. The Helix is managed by Falkirk Community Trust.  More at www.thehelix.co.uk
  • The Helix project has transformed 350 hectares of land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a vibrant new parkland and visitor attraction. The Kelpies, 30-metre-tall horse head sculptures inspired by the role of the heavy horse in the history of the canals, form the centrepiece of the project
  • Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is the world’s biggest celebration for our amazing planet. In the UK last year, over 10 million people took part, along with over 4,800 schools, 200 landmarks and thousands of businesses and organisations. Iconic landmarks including Big Ben and Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Blackpool Tower, The Kelpies, Caerphilly Castle and many more joined the global lights out.
  • Globally, from Samoa to Tahiti, a record 172 countries and territories took part in the world’s biggest Earth Hour yet.  The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, South Africa’s Table Mountain, The Acropolis in Athens, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Empire State Building and Times Square in New York City, and the Las Vegas Strip were just a few of the world-famous landmarks that joined in.
  • WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive.  Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk.

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