District News, October 8 2021

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GIGHA:

Could you help make Gigha a zero-carbon community?

Members are being sought for a steering group aiming to make the Isle of Gigha a zero-carbon community.

Businesses, residents and community groups are being invited to join together to create an island-wide action plan to offset Gigha’s carbon footprint.

The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust is spearheading the initiative which is expected to incorporate ideas such as change of land-use and major renewables developments as well as proposals on how best to make individual behaviours more environmentally sustainable.

With island communities set to be at high risk from sea-level rises associated with a forecasted average temperature rise of 1.5ºC, the trust’s development manager Jane Millar said: ‘At 1.5ºC, there is a strong possibility of a one-metre sea-level rise by 2100, and if there is no concerted action internationally, as well as within the UK, then two metres is now seen as a probability.

‘There are many other changes the island may experience as a result of climate change, including very long dry periods like the one we have experienced this year which will affect agriculture.

‘We would like the community to steer the direction and support those developments which Gigha needs to take to address the climate emergency.’

To be involved in the new group interested parties can contact the trust’s office by emailing jane@gigha.org.uk

It is hoped a new steering group will help make Gigha a zero-carbon community.

ISLAY AND JURA:

Bid to upgrade transport connections for ‘whisky islands’

Islay and Jura could benefit from major transport improvements if a £50 million bid for UK Government funding is successful.

The Whisky Islands project has been proposed by Argyll and Bute Council to build on growth in both islands’ drinks industry.

The scheme would involve investment in the islands’ infrastructure, primarily the road network linking both the ferry terminals on Islay including carriageway improvements, active travel investments and an electric bus service.

It would also lead to the replacement of the current Jura ferry with a larger hybrid or electric ferry together with road improvements on Jura.

The transport bid is for a share in the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund which will see local authorities across the UK compete for a share of £4.8 billion capital funding to support investment projects.

‘Both Islay and Jura have seen substantial growth in the output of their spirits industry that makes a substantial contribution to the UK Exchequer,’ said Kirsty Flanagan, Argyll and Bute Council’s executive director.

‘The industry continues to expand but this growth is placing undue pressure on the infrastructure of both islands.

‘This work would complement proposed investment by CMAL [Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited] at Port Ellen with capital contributions sought from the private sector.

‘In addition, there may also be a possibility of linking into the generation of tidal energy being taken forward by the private sector.

‘This critical investment would allow this nationally important industry to continue to expand on these island communities in a sustainable way.’

Council leader Robin Currie added: ‘The council has successfully delivered a wide range of ambitious capital projects of various sizes in recent years all of which have been aimed at delivering on many of our local priorities for the region.

‘The Levelling Up Fund presents a great opportunity to build further on what has already been achieved and the projects are ones that we couldn’t otherwise afford to do. They have great potential to transform our communities.’

Jura Distillery is a major part of Jura’s economy.