Funding to prevent flooding in Uist and Barra

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Communities in the Outer Hebrides are being supported to protect their coastline and land from the effects of climate change.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse today announced that Lochboisdale Amenity Trust supported by Oxfam will receive £47,152 for adaptation projects which will tackle coastal erosion and improve drainage systems to protect land from flooding in the Outer Hebrides, covering North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Eriskay and Barra and Vatersay.

As part of the refresh of the Climate Challenge Fund, the Scottish Government is exploring new approaches to encourage communities to generate local ideas to address the impact of climate change, supporting the transition to low-carbon living. Four community projects have been selected to undertake projects as part of the Climate Change Adaption Pilots.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “As recent weather events have shown the impacts of climate change - including flash flooding, transport disruption and damage to agricultural production – are increasing and affecting an increasing number of people’s daily lives. That is why it’s important to look at new ways of dealing with the consequences in order to support our communities – like those in the Outer Hebrides – to adapt to the challenges they face and develop projects which will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“The Climate Challenge Fund already empowers local communities, helping them implement innovative and sustainable solutions which support a low-carbon future. These new pilot projects, a key part of the CCF refresh, will take that a step further by supporting communities in generating local ideas and solutions for adapting to and becoming more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

“This work will help us to develop our understanding of the value of community-led action on adaptation, and determine whether to open the CCF to a new generation of projects addressing community adaptation, to bring climate action and climate justice to those who are likely to be the hardest hit in the future.”

Chair of the Lochboisdale Amenity Trust (LAT) Donald MacPhee, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has agreed to award this money to South Uist. It’s a vote of confidence in the work that the LAT has already done, helping local people get directly involved in protecting our coastline from the effects of climate change.

“This award from the Climate Challenge Fund will allow us to bring local people together with experts to decide how best to expand that work in the future in a way that will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Head of Oxfam Scotland, Judith Robertson, said: “We are delighted with this award. From our work around the globe, Oxfam knows that climate change is having a devastating impact on people’s livelihoods - that’s why we talk about climate justice. Climate change makes it harder for people to make a living from the land. That’s as true in Uist as it is in Bangladesh.

“This award will not only support the LAT’s practical work, it will also allow us to create education materials for children, so that they can make the connections between the effects of climate change at home and abroad.”

Adaptation Scotland Programme Manager Anna Beswick said: “Scotland’s climate is already changing and this is resulting in many new challenges for local communities. It is vital that communities are supported to adapt to the challenges that they currently face and are also supported to build resilience to the changes in climate that are projected for the future.

“Adaptation Scotland is delighted that the Scottish Government is piloting the inclusion of community adaptation projects as part of the Climate Challenge Fund, and look forward to working with those involved to learn more about how communities can best be supported in the future.”