Bids progress for levelling up funding for Argyll and Bute

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Argyll and Bute Council will submit bids to the UK Government Levelling Up Fund, to bring up to £70 million to Argyll and Bute for two major regeneration and transport projects.

One of the projects – the Whisky Islands – includes investment in the road network on Islay and Jura, and the replacement of the Jura Ferry with a larger hybrid or electric ferry, in an effort to deliver critical economic infrastructure that supports fragile island communities and also the nationally important whisky industry to expand in a sustainable way.

The Lorn Economic Growth Zone includes developing a hydrogen fuel facility; transport capacity improvements including a hydrogen bus service, and investment in road infrastructure at Dunbeg, and between Salen and Tobermory on Mull.

Project priorities have been identified with public in-put through meetings or workshops, or through the work done as part of the Rural Growth Deal or other initiatives. The tight timetable for delivery also limits what can be bid for in this highly competitive bidding process.

The submission date for bids is currently estimated to be Easter 2022.

Councillors considered a progress report on the bids’ preparation at the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee this week.

Councillor Robin Currie, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘These initiatives, and this level of investment, would bring significant benefits to day-to-day life in our communities, and to the health of our economy. The bids are ambitious, as they have to be, to support Argyll and Bute to build prosperity.

‘Our focus now is on working with our partners and stakeholders to develop these bids further to ensure they have the best possible chance of success.’