The Leaders of the three Scottish island councils – the Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – have warmly welcomed announcements by the UK and Scottish Government’s that the islands will receive £50m from each towards the Islands Growth Deal.
The multimillion pound deal will provide investment for local projects across the Scottish islands, driving sustainable economic recovery and growth, creating jobs and attracting further private and public sector investment. A range of areas, including tourism, infrastructure, innovation, skills, energy transition, and renewable energy systems, will be targeted with the funding which will be invested over ten years.
Discussions will now continue towards agreeing a Heads of Terms along with more detail on the transformational projects to be funded.
“We presented the UK and Scottish governments with a serious and ambitious set of proposals which reflected both the scale of our economic opportunities as well as the support required to create a sustainable future for our islands. We are delighted with the funding from both governments. We made our case, and throughout the process we felt both governments understood and recognised the opportunities our islands offer.”James Stockan and Steven Coutts, Leaders of the Western Isles
The island councils worked with a wide range of business, academic, research and public sector partners in developing their ambitious Islands Growth Deal proposals.
To mark the announcement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack visited Orkney meeting with local sector representatives.
“The UK Government, in awarding its share of the funding, has recognised the potential our islands have to contribute significantly to the future prosperity of the country as a whole, as well as our own communities. Today’s visit is unprecedented in that it provided us with the chance to meet with the Prime Minister and highlight at first hand the economic opportunities we offer. Orkney has a well-earned reputation for innovation and pioneering research activity. That was in evidence today as we looked ahead to building projects of strategic importance to Scotland and the UK – that will deliver long term benefits for the people and the businesses of our islands.Councillor James Stockan
“The Prime Minister was genuinely engaged during our meeting today, and summed up the opportunities and challenges we put to him very thoroughly. We discussed Orkney’s role as a living laboratory for decarbonisation through renewables and sustainable development, providing an overview of some of the innovative projects around hydrogen, zero carbon shipping and aviation, wave and tidal energy technologies, and integrated energy systems. He appreciated the need for national recognition of Orkney’s achievements to date, and the support needed for the UK to build back greener. We requested a mandate to enable us to move faster to help our communities develop sustainably, and address the need for flexibility in regulations that work for our future prosperity rather than getting stuck in archaic rules developed for the outdated ways of the past. I’m looking forward to continuing these discussions with his government over the coming months.”EMEC’s Managing Director, Neil Kermode
“What you want to do is build back better together with a green recovery and here in Orkney they are streets ahead on hydrogen technology, on green technology. Around Orkney they could supply 25% of the UK’s [electricity] needs [from renewables] if they had the infrastructure to go with it so we’re looking at ways to support the council here, to support local leaders in their ambitions.”Mr Boris Johnson