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As the Hebridean island approaches 25 years under community control, it’s become a shining example of the green transformation that can happen when communities take control.

Before the 1997 buyout, the absence of mains electricity meant homes on the island were powered by dirty diesel generators. A decade of planning and fundraising later, Eigg Electric was born, combining wind, water and solar with underground cables to provide 24-hour renewable power to every home on the island west of Arisaig.

Now each house on the grid is allocated 5KW of energy and triggers a trip switch if it consumes more. That hardly ever happens with smart meters on every kitchen table and a highly developed sense of energy use. But there’s an upside – across the island electric cars, cycles, customised golf buggies and even electric wheelbarrows are doing all the heavy lifting. The ambitious aim is to be carbon net zero by 2030.

Biodiversity has been boosted by a quietly epic effort by father and daughter Wes and Tasha Fyffe who’ve been restoring native woodland on bracken covered slopes. Aided by skilled application writer Rebecca Long, the pair won a grant from Forestry and Land Scotland to replace the old, unmaintained spruce plantation (planted by former owner Keith Schellenberg) with saplings grown from locally collected seeds of hawthorn, alder, rowan, hazel and elm, plus oak from acorns gathered near Arisaig. The small team cleared land in the “old” plantation to grow 20,000 seedlings in polytunnels and plant them out during the pandemic years, humping the tiny trees uphill by quad – but mostly by hand. One of a handful of tree nurseries on Scotland’s islands.

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