Biggest community land purchase in Scottish history

Ecovillage Network UK office at
Thu Nov 30 15:20:11 GMT 2006

Residents celebrate South Uist buy-out
DAVID ROSS, Highland Correspondent, Glasgow Herald
November 30 2006	
The biggest community land purchase in Scottish history will be 
completed today when 2700 islanders on South Uist, Eriskay and Benbecula 
take control of the 92,000-acre South Uist Estate.

Beacons will be lit on the islands tonight as the residents celebrate 
their historic buy-out for £4.5m. They had a final boost yesterday when 
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) approved £150,000 of funding to support 
the purchase.

The board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise agreed to give £2m earlier 
this month, after a £2m contribution was approved by the Big Lottery 
Fund's growing community assets fund.

The islanders' worldwide appeal has already raised £50,000, which still 
leaves a shortfall of £20,000. But it is expected Western Isles Council 
will make a significant contribution next month, and the purchase can 
proceed as the community has bank borrowing facilities to bridge any gap 
in the meantime.

SNH will work with the community on the estate to manage designated 
sites of international importance to the natural heritage. The machairs 
of South Uist are an outstanding asset and support a range of habitats 
and species unique to the area.

David Maclennan, SNH Western Isles area manager, said: "The purchase of 
South Uist is an exciting opportunity for the community and for SNH."

South Uist community buy out goes ahead

Hebridian islanders are celebrating a momentous turning point in their 
history as Scotland's largest community buyout goes ahead. The South 
Uist estate will now belong to those who live and work in it, as the 
locals secured the £4.5 million to buy it.

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded them £2 million, with Highlands and 
Islands Enterprise matching that amount earlier this month.


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