Raasay chosen as one of six islands to become carbon neutral by 2040

Highland Council CEO Donna Manson (far right) with staff and pupils from Raasay Primary School.

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The island of Raasay has been chosen as one of six Scottish islands included in the Carbon Neutral islands project.

Part of the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government commitment, the initiative is aimed at supporting islands to become carbon neutral by 2040, five years before the national target of 2045.

Six islands have been chosen for inclusion in the project. They have been matched based on agreed criteria relating to energy efficiency, fuel poverty, energy, transport, economy and carbon sequestration.

The chosen six provide a suitable mix, enabling the project to develop considerable amount of knowledge for all of Scotland’s islands.

Included in the project are: Raasay, Yell, Hoy, Barra, Islay and Great Cumbrae.

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.

While working closely with communities to move towards net zero in a fair and just way, the Carbon Neutral Islands’ project aims to share good practices and information from the project with all other Scottish islands.

Raasay Primary School pupil collecting food waste bins on the island.

Highland Council Chief Executive Donna Manson visited Raasay where, among other initiatives, pupils from the primary school were delivering composting boxes to island houses as part of a school project to reduce waste, reduce carbon emissions and encourage initiatives for a greener environment.

She said: ‘I was very impressed and inspired on our recent visit to Raasay, by the community and the children at Raasay Primary, who have a tremendous commitment to climate change action.

‘It was great to see pupils encouraging composting in the community as part of a school project.’

Announcing the six islands during a debate in Parliament, Rural Affairs and Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon MSP 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.’

Katie Andrews, climate change coordinator at Highland Council, said: ‘Raasay provides a unique opportunity not only to support its decarbonisation plans, but also to provide good practice for islands with similar characteristics across Scotland.

‘We are delighted with this selection and look forward to working with the community to support them on their net zero journey.’