At least three of Scotland’s islands will be completely carbon neutral by 2040, it has been announced.
Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon said the new Carbon Neutral Islands project will demonstrate the low carbon energy potential of Scotland’s islands as hubs of innovation in renewable energy and climate change resilience.
It will involve carbon audits across the islands and a pilot phase to inform learning and help deliver key commitments in the National Islands Plan, creating jobs, protecting Scottish island environments from climate change and contributing to Scotland’s 2045 net zero target.
The government intends to start the process of consulting with stakeholders to get their views on how they can work together to deliver the project, with exploring good practices from islands around the world to fully understand how emissions can be reduced as soon as possible.
Ms Gougeon believes Scotland’s islands can play a “really significant role” in the race to net zero and supporting islands to become carbon neutral will help protect their unique heritage, culture and biodiversity.
She said: “We are determined for Scotland to lead the world in tackling climate change. We know that our islands are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change but also have huge potential and natural capital that will help us meet our net zero ambition.
“Island communities are already engaged and acting to cut emissions and our commitment to make at least three of our islands carbon neutral by 2040 will seek to build on work already underway. Some of the actions that might be taken could also help address some of the other challenges for our islands like depopulation, the need for tourism to be more sustainable and fuel poverty.”