New £4m funding package to support islands infrastructure improvements
The Scottish Government has announced a £4 million funding package to help improve infrastructure on Scotland’s islands.
The capital investment will be allocated to the six island local authorities to fund the improvement, creation or safeguarding of locally developed infrastructure projects.
The funding is part of the £30m Islands Programme, established to support the implementation of the National Islands Plan – a landmark strategy to improve the quality of life for island communities with 13 objectives, and over 100 specific measures to address population decline, tackle climate change and improve transport, housing, the delivery of public services and digital connectivity.
Speaking at the Convention of Highlands and Islands, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the islands, Mairi Gougeon, said: “I am pleased to announce further investment from the £30m National Islands Plan infrastructure investment fund. I am providing £4m across the six island local authorities which will enable us to work together to support critical projects and to help make our islands even better places to live, study, work and raise a family.
“This funding is complemented by ongoing planned investment which is designed to support those living on Scotland’s islands and will involve communities in the decisions on how and where investments are made.
“The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on our islands. The many challenges that communities have faced have been varied and that is why I am committed to delivering the National Islands Plan in partnership with our island partners.
“I know that by working together, we can maximise the impact of our investments and support good, solid projects that will help islanders to thrive.”
Scottish Futures Trust will support the Scottish Government in the delivery of the Islands Programme.
Neil Rutherford, senior associate director, Scottish Futures Trust’s Investment and Place team, added: “We have been providing dedicated expertise and support to the Islands Programme and will be managing the application, assessment and delivery process of the new projects.
“As a centre of infrastructure expertise, we are very much looking forward to working with the six island local authorities and island communities, to deliver critical and transformational infrastructure that will support islanders with the aim of encouraging population growth, recovery from the pandemic and help to deliver the Scottish Government’s net-zero ambitions.”