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Environment / Climate project still on amenity trust’s agenda despite funding setback

Restoring peatland, like this apportionment just north of Cunningsburgh, can reduce carbon emissions. Photo: Dave GiffordRestoring peatland, like this apportionment just north of Cunningsburgh, can reduce carbon emissions. Photo: Dave Gifford

A NEW project which could look to develop Shetland’s response to climate change through “education, community engagement and carbon reduction” has not been taken forward for possible National Lottery funding.

However, lead partner Shetland Amenity Trust will continue with the project, with the organisation hopeful that other possible funding streams could become available.

A report presented to amenity trust trustees on Friday said that the project could potentially involve a range of other organisations and individuals in Shetland.

It added that the project could “develop toolkits, best-practice examples, working directly with communities and individuals to encourage positive carbon choices”.

Some activities that could feature in the scheme include peatland restoration, woodlands, climate literacy and encouraging Shetland residents to engage in climate action.

Shetland Amenity Trust submitted an expression of interest to the National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund for the project, but head of development Davy Cooper confirmed the application was not being taken forward in a competitive process involving over 600 submissions.

Speaking after the meeting, amenity trust chief executive Mat Roberts said the proposal submitted to the National Lottery involved making crofting more environmentally friendly.

He said the term ‘net zero crofting’ had been established for this part of the project.

This could explore peatland restoration, as well as “crofters themselves in their homes and in their buildings”.

“[It could] look at what could we do around electric quad bikes, around having renewable energy in lighting lambing sheds, and what could we do about energy consumption and fuel poverty actually in the croft houses, which in many cases are quite old buildings,” Roberts said.

“That was the bid really – from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill. I think it’s still quite an exciting project.”

Roberts said that the overarching project could “cast the net as broad as possible” to include other areas such as fishing.

It comes after Shetland Islands Council unveiled its first programme on climate change earlier in January.

Councillors then formally recognised that there was a global climate emergency.