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Islay has been announced as one of six Scottish islands that will be supported to become carbon neutral by 2040.
The announcement made in parliament on Tuesday May 17 by rural affairs and islands secretary Mairi Gougeon MSP follows decades of work by islanders to create a sustainable, green economy.
Islay resident and MSP for Argyll and Bute Jenni Minto welcomed the news, telling the Argyllshire Advertiser: ‘This is a really positive announcement for Islay and the other islands, but also more widely across Scotland.
‘Islay has been working on this since the Islay Energy Trust was formed 16 years ago. It is recognition of the work that it has been doing.
‘Islay Energy Trust has been working with and, importantly, learning from others to cut carbon emissions, increase the island’s resilience and sustainability, in tidal power, biomass and geothermal energy.
‘The whisky industry is aware of its carbon footprint – and is rising to the challenge.
‘Making Islay one of the six islands aspiring to be carbon neutral is sending a powerful message to the distilleries and they have begun that journey to carbon neutral.’
The Carbon Neutral Islands project aims to share good practices and knowledge from the project with all other Scottish islands while working closely with communities to move towards net zero in a fair and just way,
The other islands included as part of the project are – Hoy, Great Cumbrae, Raasay, Barra and Yell.
They were identified by the Scottish Government in collaboration with local authorities and island representatives.
Announcing the new project in a debate at Holyrood Ms Gougeon said: ‘Scotland is at the forefront of climate change mitigation and adaptation at the global level, and I’ve always believed that our islands will contribute significantly to the country’s net zero commitment.
‘I was pleased to announce at COP26 that we are taking this ambition further than the original commitment, now aiming to support six islands in their journey towards carbon neutrality by 2040.
‘This project is another testament to Scottish islands being in the vanguard of innovation, leading the way in the journey to net zero while supporting other areas across Scotland.’
A report on the project will be published over the summer and plans will be developed for individual islands in collaboration with key partners and the communities involved.
The project will also align with the Scotland wide net zero work and contribute to the Scottish Government’s 2045 net zero commitment.
Ms Minto added: ‘The Carbon Neutral Islands project will embrace the opportunity for island communities to lead the way in realising Scotland’s climate change ambitions.
‘Our islands are profoundly important – not just to Scotland, but to the whole world. They contribute hugely to our culture, heritage, environment, identity, landscape, economy and society.’