Island gears up for £600k cycling and walking plan

The project will improve walking and cycle routes on Gigha.
The island of Gigha.

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Nearly £600,000 has been awarded to a sustainable travel project on a remote Scottish island.

The Gateway to Gigha project has been awarded £593,000 to improve paths for residents and visitors.

The aim is to provide better walking and cycle access to historic heritage sites and reduce car use on the island off the west coast of Kintyre.

The cash will help deliver construction and the upgrading of paths spanning 8km (4.9m) across the island.

New bikes and e-bikes will be available to hire next to the ferry slip to reduce the need for cars.

The funding will also help pay for a newly-created ‘Island Ranger’ position which aims to project manage the Gateway to Gigha initiative.

It will encourage and promote the sustainable use and protection of Gigha’s landscape and assets, including sustainable travel.

Jane Millar, business development manager for Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust, said: ‘With thanks to the support from the European Regional Development Fund and the Scottish Government, Gigha will become more accessible.

‘By improving our foot and cycle path network and providing more information we aim to reduce the number of car-borne visitors to Gigha and ensure our visitors and residents know more about our environment, landscape and assets and how best to protect them.’

The project was one of 10 schemes to share £9.46m of funding through the Scottish Government Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund.

The fund has benefited from £7.21 million provided through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The aim is to help councils and community groups benefit from projects responding to the global climate emergency and allow more people to enjoy greener and more sustainable transport options.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said: ‘Our Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund is responding to the global climate emergency and helping to support Scotland’s green recovery from Covid-19.

‘These exciting projects will join other low carbon and active travel initiatives that have been very much welcomed by communities.

‘These projects will support our Programme for Government commitment to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032, whilst helping us to build an active nation and make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys.’

Tim Anderson, head of transport at the Energy Saving Trust, said the funding would provide communities with greater and easier access to active travel and low carbon transport hubs and paths.

‘We look forward to working with the public and third sector organisations, supporting them to achieve the promising potential of the projects.’

Other beneficiaries include Lochaber Environmental Group which is behind the Active Travel Fort William project and an electric bike share scheme .