The Falkirk Greenspace Initiative and the Helix – two projects which have transformed the local environment – have walked away with not one but the top two spots at the national Green Apple Environment Awards.

Falkirk Council was also given the Overall Winner award in recognition of the success of the two projects at a ceremony in Edinburgh on 11 August 2014.

The Green Apple Award is a national campaign to find Scotland’s greenest companies, councils and communities.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Spokesperson for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Falkirk Council, and its partners, who have delivered two visionary projects.

“Both the Greenspace Initiative and the Helix have played a significant part in the transformation of the local environment while also linking and connecting our many communities.”

The Gold award went to The Falkirk Greenspace Initiative which was created by the partnership of Falkirk Council and the charity Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT) in 1993.

The project was created with the aim of transforming the image and environment of the area to improve the local quality of life and attract inward investment.

Throughout a twenty year timescale over 1.3million trees have been planted around the area, over 260km of paths have been created or upgraded and derelict sites have been restored.

Simon Rennie, Chief Executive of Central Scotland Forest Trust, said: “The Falkirk Greenspace Initiative and the Helix are both innovative projects which have transformed the local environment, creating valuable resources for local communities and dramatically improving perceptions of the area, attracting tourism and inward investment. We’re very proud that the initiatives have received these prestigious accolades.”

Coming a close second was the Helix, a £41m project which has transformed under-used land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into a thriving urban greenspace covering 350 hectares which includes the iconic Kelpies.

The Helix was driven by a partnership between Falkirk Council, Scottish Canals and Central Scotland Forest Trust which has successfully connected sixteen communities, created a living landmark and a world class visitor destination.

Falkirk Council will now have a further chance of award glory in the UK Green Apple Awards announced in November.