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Argyll is to be at the forefront of efforts to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere, in ways that also generate economic and community benefits.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading a major project to explore and quantify commercial opportunities associated with carbon sequestration across the local authority area.
The agency has secured £260,000 for the project from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund.
Argyll and Bute Council submitted successful bids to the UK Government, worth over £2 million, on behalf of organisations and council services which are investing in skills, place making, the community and supporting people into employment.
The award for Argyll and Bute is one of the largest in Scotland.
The HIE project, ‘optimising carbon sequestration for community wealth building’, will quantify the potential of Argyll and Bute’s natural resources to absorb and retain carbon dioxide.
It will also look at methods to attract investment to realise this in a way that will underpin the local economy and support a green recovery.
Dr Zoe Laird, HIE’s regional head of communities and lead officer for the project, said: ‘With COP26 in Scotland having recently drawn to a close, the need for action to address climate change and achieve our ambitious net zero targets has never been clearer.
Carbon sequestration will form an important part of that process.
‘We believe there is considerable potential for Argyll and Bute to benefit from this, not just environmentally but socially and economically.
‘As part of this project we will be developing business models around carbon sequestration and pilot projects to test these models.
‘We expect there will be a great deal of interest in this work from many other areas rich in natural resources that might have similar potential.’
Councillor Robin Currie, policy lead for the economy and economic growth, added: ‘Taking a natural capital approach will better inform all parties of the values on the wider benefits for nature, society and communities that the region’s outstanding natural assets provide.’
The optimising carbon sequestration for community wealth building project is already underway and due to complete in June 2022.