We are pleased to be able to publish and share the results of the Uist ranger project from the 2021 visitor season.
The increasing tourism in Uist each year and local community concerns about visitor management and conservation of the natural environment, inspired the formation of a partnership between community organisations on Uist seeking to find solutions to these concerns - landowner Stòras Uibhist and the development company North Uist Development Company (NUDC), the local council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) and RSPB Scotland. The combined effort resulted in a successful NatureScot funding bid (NatureScot Better Places 2) that provided the opportunity for two Seasonal Rangers to work on the islands and actively improve infrastructure and visitor management with the help of all project partners and local communities.
The Rangers were focused on applying a friendly information and educational approach with awareness raising, creating materials to inform visitors about the environment, responsible access to the islands and why it is important to work together to protect the environment. The Rangers also managed a variety of local events including beach cleans and citizen science events as a way to engage both local communities and visitors to the islands, encouraging ecotourism. An estimated 25x 1-tonne bulk bags full of litter was collected over the summer, with 122 joining the events - both locals and visitors.
Ameena Camps, North Uist Development Company said "We were so fortunate in being able to recruit two passionate, skilled and dedicated rangers who quickly adapted to island life and became part of the local community thanks to wide support across Uist. As a result, a lot was achieved in the short period of time they were here. The project highlighted the importance of Uist-wide collaboration and the need for a year round ranger service to continue their great work."
The Rangers report provides various recommendations, including:
Seasonal Ranger - Uist, Outer Hebrides
Type of Contract: 37.5 hours per week (some weekend and evening working required). Temporary. Fixed term until 31st October 2021.
Salary: £27,300 per annum FTE (i.e. £9,100 for 4 months)
With the increase in visitors to Uist over recent years; which is expected to increase as COVID-19 restrictions ease and UK residents are encouraged to stay at home for their holidays; and a unique fragile natural environment including two nature reserves at Balranald and Loch Druidibeg and, with a large proportion of the islands habitats designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Areas and National Scenic Areas; the Seasonal Ranger will play a crucial role in ensuring that our communities conservation ambitions go hand in hand with welcoming visitors to this well-loved place.
You will share your enthusiasm for the outdoors and passion for the environment with the walkers, campers, cyclists and sightseers who come to explore our islands during the busy summer season.
You will work outside on walking/cycling routes, in key hotspots for outdoor activities and camping and, at our new Environment Centre in Lochmaddy near the primary ferry port, acting as an ambassador to build awareness of the importance of conserving our fragile environment and support visitor management, conservation and engagement activities. Your working week will be divided between Berneray, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay (60% Berneray and North Uist, 40% Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay). You’ll leave those you meet with a desire to respect, protect and enjoy this special natural environment and an understanding of how they can help do this.
You will work on your own and with colleagues, volunteers and other organisations, on a variety of practical visitor infrastructure improvements and conservation tasks to help us achieve the habitat management standards expected of protected destinations such as this. This will take place across the islands of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist, working in collaboration with our project partners Stòras Uibhist, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland.
You will contribute to the long-term sustainability of a ranger service through investigating income generating activities inspired by our work, growing our capacity through volunteers and cost-effective use of resources.
KEY RESPONSIBILITIES AND ACCOUNTABILITIES
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS, SKILLS, EXPERIENCE & KNOWLEDGE
The Key Responsibilities, Scope of Job, and Required Qualifications, Skills, Experience & Knowledge reflect the requirements of the job at the time of issue. The North Uist Development Company (NUDC) reserves the right to amend these with appropriate consultation and/or request the post-holder to undertake any activities that it believes to be reasonable within the broad scope of the job or his/her general abilities. This vacancy is being funded by NatureScot and subject to receipt of final approval documents.
Interested applicants should forward a CV and letter of support by email to email@example.com by 12 noon on Monday the 28th of June 2021.
NUDC supports flexible working and will consider part-time applications as a job-share.
Applications will be reviewed from the 28th to the 30th of June, and selected candidates will be sent invitations to interview on the 30th of June. Interviews will be held via Zoom on Thursday the 1st of July and Friday the 2nd of July 2021.
Candidates must be able to start immediately.
Download the job description here.
Community Energy Fortnight started yesterday on June 14 2021 to celebrate community energy across the UK, and this week also marks the launch of a new exciting project in Uist to plan and design energy projects to deliver a low carbon future for our islands – the Uist Local Energy Plan.
A community-led Local Energy Plan enables the local community to look at its existing and future energy needs (in terms of power, heat and transport) and state where it sees priorities for action.
The Local Energy Plan (LEP) will set out the aspirations and priorities of the local community for the future development of energy from Berneray to Eriskay. The LEP will be delivered by a partnership between North Uist Development Company, Community Energy Scotland and Coimhearsnachd Bharraigh agus Bhatarsaidh, using a wealth of local island expertise in community energy.
The project will be supported and driven by a Steering Group and an Advisory Group with members across the community to represent the area in which they live and the sector they are skilled in, such as energy efficiency, transport, fisheries, the environment, education, and crofting.
Janet Foggie, Chief Executive Officer of Community Energy Scotland said “Communities across Scotland are turning their attention to our need for a fair and equal transition to Net Zero, for the people who live in Uist the Uist Local Energy plan gives people an excellent opportunity to be part of the shaping for the future of the island. Community Energy Scotland are proud to play their part in including everyone in the Energy Plan and in working to ensure that building a sustainable future for Uist is given the headstart it needs.”
Uist Wind’s two 900kW turbines in North Uist and, old car meets new EV at the South Uist games as part of Uist Energy in Motion.
The Uist LEP builds on from a Scottish pilot project - Delivering COmmunity BENefits of Civic Energy (COBEN); which included Barra as one of the pilot areas.
Community based plans empower the community to collectively take ownership of their local energy needs and so communities can actively shape their own future. The Scottish Government has a target of 2GW of community and locally owned renewable energy by 2030; part of the wider target of ambitious targets of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and a 75% reduction by 2030.
Similar plans are being developed across Europe, in both mainland and island settings. The Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat supported pioneering islands on the development of their Clean Energy Transition Agendas (CETAs): strategic roadmaps for the transition process towards clean energy; including a combined CETA for the islands of Eigg, Muck, Rum, Canna, Fair Isle, Foula, and the peninsula of Knoydart in Scotland.
Norman MacAskill, Chair of South Uist Renewable Energy Ltd (Stòras Uibhist) said “With Glasgow soon hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), now is the perfect time for communities across Uist to work together to deliver a local energy plan that drives forward the energy transition. We look forward to working with all involved in the project over the coming months, and sharing the findings with the wider community in early 2022.”
Stewart Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Tighean Innse Gall (TIG) said “TIGs role is to help ensure that we sew the thread from your house in Ceannaridh to COP 26 linking in all the policies and programmes of delivery in between. People expect a just transition and TIG believe the Uist Local Energy Plan will be a key driver for this, we applaud the true Uist style of boldness of vision and determination to succeed.”
SSEN to deliver £2million of strategic network investment to accelerate a green economic recovery on the Western Isles
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is set to accelerate £2m of investment in the local electricity network on the Western Isles, to aid a green recovery and provide additional capacity for low carbon projects that will help deliver net zero.
The investment programme will be focussed on upgrading the Clachan Primary Substation in North Uist, which connects to the island of Berneray in the north, and south across Benbecula towards South Uist, and will see the existing transformer replaced with two upgraded counterparts, which will increase the capacity of the network serving around 1,300 homes and businesses on the islands.
By creating 6.31MW of additional network capacity, this accelerated investment will support future growth and facilitate the progress of green projects and low carbon technologies across local communities on North Uist, South Uist and Benbecula.
Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) is commencing a programme to replace small ‘loch class’ vessels serving the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network. In line with Scottish Government climate change commitments, the programme aims to deliver low emission vessels utilising the latest proven battery and onshore charging technologies.
Jim Anderson, Director of Vessels at Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited said:
“This is welcome investment in island energy infrastructure by SSEN and potentially improves the feasibility of using electricity as an alternative to diesel fuel for new vessels. The viability of bringing more fully electric or hybrid ferries into the fleet will depend largely on the grid capacity of the islands they serve. Environmental considerations are a core part of our vessel planning process and we are committed to exploring new fuel technologies to reduce the impact of the maritime sector on the climate and help create a net zero emissions country.”
SSEN’s investment at the Clachan site will also ensure that the network is ready to support the islands’ transition to electric vehicles (EV), with increased EV demand expected on the islands of North Uist, South Uist and Benbecula.
In particular, the green recovery investment by SSEN will support the North Uist Development Company’s (NUDC) core aim to develop a sustainable and viable community, through the delivery of key development projects.
NUDC’s recent projects have included Uist Wind and being involved in Uist Energy in Motion, a project led by Urachadh Uibhist in collaboration with Community Energy Scotland and Cothrom, educating the local community about carbon emissions and how electric vehicles (EVs) could reduce carbon footprint on the islands, developing an owners’ forum for EV owners and encouraging future development and installation of two electric fast charge points on the island.
Dr Ameena Camps, Project Delivery Manager, North Uist Development Company, said:
"NUDC submitted a suite of grid improvement options to the Green Recovery call for evidence, working in collaboration with Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh agus Bhatarsaidh Ltd, Community Energy Scotland and Stòras Uibhist. We are very pleased SSEN will be investing at the Clachan Primary Substation, which is most certainly a step in the right direction to enable the realisation of the community's low-carbon transition aspirations in line with developing local energy plans. I hope this marks the start of a collaborative journey in partnership with SSEN to support further improvements across the Outer Hebrides with far-reaching benefits including reduced carbon emissions and alleviation of fuel poverty”.
This investment in the Western Isles is part of a £41m programme of strategic investment by SSEN which will unlock over 122MW of additional capacity across the north of Scotland and central southern England to drive green economic growth, create skilled jobs, and support the deployment of low carbon projects.
As part of scheme, SSEN will be installing approximately 1,000 low voltage monitors at key points across its two distribution network areas, providing near real-time visibility in areas where high levels of electricity demand from increased uptake of electric vehicles and electric heating is predicted. This will enable the network operator to better manage local infrastructure, identifying how best to optimise capacity.
SSEN's plans are part of a £300m programme of investment announced on Monday (24th May) by the energy regulator Ofgem.
Chris Burchell, Managing Director, SSEN Distribution, said:
“We are determined to play our full part in addressing the twin challenges of the economic and social recovery from coronavirus and the impending climate emergency, where local electricity networks will play a vital role. With COP26 on the horizon, today’s investment demonstrates how collaborative action and regulatory flexibility can help us achieve this aim and power change for our customers and society.
“The green recovery scheme provides a blueprint for future agile investment in our networks in the coming years, where rapid progress will be required to keep pace with net zero. By undertaking £40 million in strategic network investment now, we are helping unlock innovative low carbon projects at the right time, boosting local economies and supporting communities to achieve their net zero ambitions.”
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson said:
“Scotland is wholly committed to becoming a net zero economy by 2045 and doing so in a way that is just and fair for all. I strongly welcome this investment in Scotland’s energy networks, which will help our progress towards decarbonisation while ensuring that the economic and social benefits of the energy transition are realised across the country.
“We have worked closely with our stakeholders to support the strong and successful bids from Scotland’s network companies for this substantial funding. These projects and investments will support further innovation in green energy, unlocking capacity in our networks to support electrification of transport as well as other technologies like battery storage, renewables and heat pumps.
“This announcement by Ofgem is the product of an agile approach to investment and we must now build on this to ensure that our networks remain capable of supporting Scotland’s net zero transition.”
The full evidence gathered through the expression of interest process will be used to inform SSEN’s future plans, including preparation for the next price control RIIO-ED2 which starts in April 2023, and ongoing connections process.
To launch the community survey for the North Uist Environment Centre we are also launching the Environment Centre photography competition for your chance to have your photographs displayed in the permanent exhibition. See poster for more information.
Entries should be submitted by 11.59pm on Monday the 31st of May. Don't forget to complete the #communitysurvey too! #ForNature #northuist
Photography Competition Poster
On International Biodiversity Day, North Uist Development Company (NUDC) has launched the base plans and community survey for the new Environment Centre which is being developed in Lochmaddy, North Uist.
The plans have been developed with the designers Da Capo Limited thanks to funding from the Islands Green Recovery Programme. The next phase is to develop the content with the community's help, and are asking the local community - What should be included in your Environment Centre?
To input your ideas, follow the link to the survey @ www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/NUDC-DesignSurvey
Or, you can download the printed copy here and return to firstname.lastname@example.org
Da Capo Limited are working with NUDC to install the exhibition as soon as possible, so are asking for responses before 11:59pm on Monday 31st of May 2021. Please note the survey is now closed.
Don't miss out on the chance to shape this new exciting natural environment exhibition.
The concept of the Environment Centre originated from a Steering Group which explored the creation a Hebridean Archaeological and Environmental Research Centre (HAERC). A Feasibility Study was carried out by EKOS and completed in 2015 emphasising significant interest in the environment of the Uists by both locals and visitors. The North Uist community identified the Environment Centre as one of three priority projects which is highlighted in NUDC Local Development Plan 2018-2023. Again, during consultation for the 2018 feasibility study for the former Lochmaddy School re-development, the community ranked ‘Environmental Centre - Focus on Geology and Natural Environment’ first amongst options; with all subsequent consultation results since showing strong support. A separate survey with North Uist Primary School as part of the Uist Wind project also highlighted the younger generations concerns over damage to the natural environment with a need to protect it.
The former School is now in the hands of the community, thanks to the Scottish Land Fund, and funding has been acquired by the Islands Green Recovery Programme to design and install the exhibition space in the former sports hall/assembly room of the building. Your Environment Centre The new Environment Centre will be a new innovative facility showcasing the unique natural environment of the Uists and Barra, providing tourism information, a new visitor attraction and, acting as an educational engagement point demonstrating the importance of conservation practices for future generations. This will also act as a base for #voluntourism and #ecotourism as well as, incorporating a bouldering rock wall to encourage active outdoor lifestyles and environmental interaction in the comfort of an indoor setting.
The Environmental Centre is intended to:
• Celebrate Uist & Barra's magnificent natural environment.
• Fill the existing short-fall in readily available information including inter-relationships between various components of the natural environment.
• Provide an educational resource for schools.
• Provide a forum for community and visitors alike to engage meaningfully with the outdoors whilst minimising adverse environmental impact.
• Provide a forum for meaningful discussion of environmental conservation issues and identifying sustainable ways forward.
• Provide information on sustainable technologies and practices to help mitigate the climate emergency and promote a green recovery.
The motto for the wider development - the ‘Àrainneachd Àlainn’ Community Hub and Environment Centre - is ‘Our Island, Our Environment, Our future’, as the future is in our hands. The Environment Centre aims to empower our community and visitors to grasp the opportunities available to change our future.
North Uist Development Company (NUDC) is entering an exciting new phase. To shape its new future vision, NUDC is looking for fresh faces on its Board of Directors.
Are you passionate about North Uist? Do you get excited about what we can all achieve when we work together? Would you like to help shape the future of North Uist? If so:
Join us online for our Members' Gathering
Saturday 17th April at 6pm
Follow Zoom Link here
The NUDC Annual General Meeting (AGM) will provide an opportunity to find out more about current projects and showcase how you can get involved! This will then be followed by an exciting talk from Connie Dawson of NatureScot.
We are particularly keen to meet younger people in the community who would like to make a difference: after all, you are the future of North Uist! There’s even a position on the Board especially for someone aged 18-25 to represent the young people in the community.
The Gathering will start at 6pm, followed by Connie’s talk at 7pm. Follow the Zoom link here or dial in using: +44 330 088 5830 or +44 131 460 1196. Meeting ID: 844 2666 1782; Passcode: 537307.
Annual General Meeting at 6pm
1. Welcome and introductions
2. Approval of Minute of 2020 AGM, Annual Report and approval of Accounts for Year ending 31 March 2020. Appointment of Accountants.
3. Your chance to shape the future of North Uist - appointment of Directors.
4. Views of Members and plans for the coming year
5. Date of first meeting of New Board of Directors
Guest Speaker at 7pm
Ensuring a safe and resilient future:
adapting to climate change in the Uists.
Connie Dawson, NatureScot
Connie Dawson works for NatureScot leading on a climate change adaptation plan for the Outer Hebrides, along with the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership and Sniffer. Her role involves coordinating with local government, organisations and communities to investigate and plan for the unique climate-related impacts the islands face. She’s passionate about raising the profile of existing local climate knowledge, action and resilience, of which the Outer Hebrides have a strong history.
Before moving to Lewis in 2021, Connie worked as Sustainability Coordinator for the University of St Andrews, where she completed a BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Development. She is also a Climate Reality Leader, trained by Al Gore, and was previously recognised as one of Scottish Wildlife Trust’s 12 Young Leaders for conservation. Connie’s personal motivation for climate action is in social equity, having a particular interest in ensuring disabled and vulnerable people’s rights within climate policy. She currently works from home in Stornoway with her two tiny dogs.
Connie’s presentation will talk about climate change trends, projections and impacts in the Outer Hebrides; what is involved in climate change adaptation; provide an overview of the adaptation plan she is working on, and next steps for the project, including how to get involved in the project and an opportunity for Members.
March 26 2021 marks the start of a new future for the North Uist Development Company (NUDC), as the organisation finally receives the keys of the former Lochmaddy Primary School on behalf of the community.
Lochmaddy Primary School was closed in 2016 along with Carinish and Paible, as pupils moved to a new single school site at Sgoil Uibhist a’ Tuath; following a council report in 2013. The School building on the edge of Lochmaddy village, was constructed in the 1970s, but the original building dates back to the late 19th Century, so it holds plenty of memories for generations of the North Uist community. Scottish Land Fund Stage 2 funding enabled the asset transfer.
Pam MacPherson, Director, North Uist Development Company, said: "It is so exciting, finally, to reach this stage and to have the keys in our hands. I can’t believe it is actually happening”.
“Over the last year NUDC have managed to get funding for the asset transfer, for an external COVID-19 resilient toilet block and for the Environment Centre exhibition”
We are working closely with the architect and the project managers to get the Community Hub and Environment Centre up and running as soon as possible”
The development plans for Phase 1 and 2 of the project include the Community Hub and, an Environment Centre which will be a new innovative facility showcasing the unique natural environment of the Uists: nurturing sustainable practices. The Community Hub enterprise will bring land and the building back into community use, while focussing on widespread community needs and benefits. It intends to provide a welcoming gathering place for the community and visitors, and an ‘incubator’ for learning and enterprise. Accommodation for visitors, students and temporary workers will be added in later phases of the project.
The top priority for NUDC is to reopen the former school building so the North Uist community can start using it once again. Rentable space will be made available, and there are already interested parties. The development will be undertaken in phases and will involve the community every step of the way. Further funding is currently being sought for Phases 1 and 2: including for renewable energy for heating and electricity to support the environmental ethos of the development and Scotland’s green recovery.
A further update on the Lochmaddy School project will be provided at the forthcoming NUDC Annual General Meeting, to be held online on 17 April. All members welcome!
NUDC is a community company and charity, established in 2010 to develop a sustainable and viable community by promoting the social, educational, cultural, economic and environmental wellbeing of North Uist. The company has been developed by its Members and is managed by a Board of voluntary directors.
NUDC’s work is guided by the North Uist Community Development Plan 2018-2023. In view of recent successes including the now operational UistWind project and now ownership of the former Lochmaddy School, this plan needs to be updated, to ensure it meets the needs of the North Uist community. As it enters this exciting new phase, to shape its future vision, NUDC would be delighted to welcome fresh faces on to its Board of Directors to contribute to that vision.
Andrew Ross, Director, North Uist Development Company said: “We are especially keen to hear from younger people in the community who would like to make a difference: after all, they will be the future of North Uist! “
Are you passionate about North Uist? Do you get excited about what we can all achieve when we work together? Would you like to help shape the future of North Uist for the benefit of the community? If so, we look forward to hearing from you.”
NUDC will also be starting some community engagement associated with the Environment Centre exhibition shortly, and the NUDC team are working tirelessly to move this forward as soon as possible.
NUDC gratefully acknowledges the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise through their HIE Community-Led Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Delivery Resource Officer fund; the Scottish Land Fund and the Islands Green Recovery Programme.
More details can be found at www.isleofnorthuist.com.
You can now apply up until the 25th of January 2021 for NUDC's 3 month vacancy for a project manager for the Àrainneachd Àlainn’ Lochmaddy Community Hub and Environment Centre.
The Project Manager will deliver the next steps in the project which includes; but is not limited to; the construction of the Environment Centre, and to establish the sustainable business model.
For further details, download the job description here.
Applicants should submit their CV and a covering letter by the closing date of the 25th of January 2020 at noon to email@example.com
NUDC are pleased to announce a 3 month vacancy for a project manager for the Àrainneachd Àlainn’ Lochmaddy Community Hub and Environment Centre.
Funding has been acquired for particular aspects of the development for Phase 1 and Phase 2. The Project Manager will deliver the next steps in the project which includes; but is not limited to; the construction of the Environment Centre, and to establish the sustainable business model.
For further details, download the job description here or visit HIjobs here.
Applicants should submit their CV and a covering letter by the closing date of the 21st of January 2020 at noon to firstname.lastname@example.org
NUDC aims to communicate project milestones and successes as widely as possible, and this news feed highlights key articles.