Islands Growth deal signed for Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides will release total investment of £393 million

An agreement to invest £100 million in the future economic prosperity of Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides was signed today (20 January) in Orkney by UK and Scottish Government Ministers and the Council Leaders of the three island groups.

Up to 1,300 jobs and £393 million of investment is anticipated to result from the signing of the transformative Islands Growth Deal between UK Government, Scottish Government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Shetland Islands Council, and Orkney Islands Council.

Over a ten-year period, the Islands Growth Deal will invest in 16 projects and programmes that capitalise on the Islands’ unique assets. These are built around three strategic themes of low carbon, supporting growth and future industries, and thriving sustainable communities, subject to approval of Full Business Cases.

Jointly funded by up to £100 million - £50 million from each of the Scottish and UK Governments - the Islands Growth Deal will attract further investment of up to £293 million in match funding.

The Deal has been developed by the three island Councils, together with public, academic, business, community and third sector partners.

The first year of the ten-year programme is anticipated to see investment across the islands, including in UHI’s campuses in Shetland and the Outer Hebrides, and the pan-island Islands Centre for Net Zero, which will be based at the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus in Stromness.

Welcoming the news, Vicki Nairn, Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor at UHI, said: “This is a significant milestone for the Islands Growth Deal Programme and a huge achievement for all involved. UHI is committed to having a transformational impact on the prospects of our region and to supporting our communities, public services and businesses. Initiatives like this make an important contribution to the future of our communities.

“We are excited to be working with colleagues in Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Shetland Islands Council and Orkney Islands Council, with our key stakeholders and with UHI Outer Hebrides, Orkney College UHI and UHI Shetland to support the deal and drive forward transformational projects. This includes campus development and curriculum, research and knowledge exchange projects which will help us to deliver high-quality education and research as well attract inward investment and support employment.”

Hannah Ritchie-Muir, Principal of UHI Outer Hebrides, applauded the achievement of this significant milestone for the Islands Growth Deal, saying: "UHI Outer Hebrides has been a strong partner in the development of the vision and the project ideas that have emerged to form the Islands Growth Deal. It is thanks to the immense effort and hard work by all partners through this development phase that we have achieved this formal agreement and sign-off. We are equally committed to the delivery phase and to seeing these projects come to fruition for the benefit for our young people and our communities. Through the wider UHI partnership and our planned merger with UHI North Highland and UHI West Highland, we can offer unrivalled opportunities and excellence in learning, training and support for all students, businesses and rural communities."

Welcoming the Islands Growth deal, Lydia Rohmer, Principal Designate of UHI North, West and Hebrides, added: “This deal represents important strategic funding for the Outer Hebrides and supports our ambitions as a merged college to have a transformational impact on our rural and island communities, through our commitment to tertiary education, addressing the skills shortage, growing research and innovation, and proactively focussing on culture, tradition, and the Gaelic language. Our merged college will play a pivotal role in joining up key strategic economic developments in our merged college region, unlocking future-facing job opportunities, and supporting a new industrial revolution in our region. We look forward to working with all our Islands Deal partners to maximise all opportunities for our island communities.”  

Jane Lewis, Principal of UHI Shetland, said: “UHI Shetland looks forward to building on the Island Growth Deal for the future of Shetland and the islands, through continued collaboration with the Scottish and UK Governments, local industries, the wider UHI partnership, and other stakeholders. Today’s formal agreement and sign-off signals an exciting time for all partners, and our communities who will benefit from the developments underway. The links we have forged with renewables, green skills and the space sector highlight that Shetland has a dynamic future ahead. For UHI Shetland we are excited about the investment in the tertiary sector, particularly our campus redevelopment plans, which highlight Shetland as a vibrant destination of choice to study and live.”

Following the signing within Orkney Islands Council’s chamber, UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said: "This will not just boost local economies and create jobs, but also empower communities to get the most out of the many assets and attributes that make the islands such unique and special places to live.  

"This deal is packed with a broad range of high-impact projects, whether it's leading the transition to net zero or developing ‘must-visit’ destinations such as the St Kilda trail.

"The UK Government’s £50m support for the Islands deal, in addition to other levelling up investments, shows our continued commitment to the Scottish Islands."

Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “This Growth Deal will be a game-changing initiative for our islands – enabling sustainable economic growth and delivering new and internationally significant port infrastructure that will play an important role in achieving net zero targets.

“This £50 million Scottish Government investment will support the transition to renewable energy sources – including equipping the workforce with new skills – and trial emissions reduction initiatives on islands. It will drive innovation in key space, food and drink and creative industries sectors; help develop significant tourism and cultural attractions and expand education provision.

“We are determined that our islands should be attractive places to live and work and are able to maximise their contribution to Scotland’s sustainable economic transformation.”  

Councillor James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “The signing of this important document today in Orkney marks another significant milestone in our collaborative journey and future vision for our three island areas.

“We have worked together to successfully achieve an impactful growth deal from our governments in both London and Edinburgh that will help secure a better future for us all. Not only does the agreement recognise all our unique challenges faced as island areas, but also the strength of our assets and opportunities that we offer.”

Councillor Paul Steele, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “The signing of the Islands Growth Deal is both the culmination of a vision set out by the Islands Councils and the UK and Scottish Governments and the beginning of the implementation of that vision.

It is a milestone towards achieving our aims of securing 1300 jobs and £393m of investment over 10 years through the Islands Deal, using the resources of our Islands and capitalising on our natural assets and most importantly, our people.”

Councillor Emma Macdonald, Leader of Shetland Islands Council, said: “The Deal contains projects which are island-specific and focus on local opportunities and priorities, as well as those which, working in partnership, will help us unlock more economic success for all our islands.  These vital projects supporting our islands’ sustainability could not have progressed without the UK Government and Scottish Government’s support and investment

“Our partnership has developed as we have developed the Deal, and I look forward to seeing how it develops over the coming decade.”

The multi-million-pound investment will be shared across the following projects.

Leading the way to a low carbon future

  • Islands Centre for Net Zero
  • Scapa Flow Future Fuels Hub
  • Outer Hebrides Energy Hub
  • Shetland Clean Energy Project
  • Dales Voe Ultra-Deep Water Quay

Supporting Growth and Future Industries

  • Creative Islands Wellbeing
  • Outer Hebrides Destination Development
  • Orkney World Heritage Gateway
  • Orkney Vertical Farm
  • Shell-volution
  • Outer Hebrides Food and Drink Programme
  • Spaceport 1

Thriving Sustainable Communities

  • TalEntEd Islands
  • Orkney Research and Innovation Campus
  • Shetland Campus Redevelopment
  • Outer Hebrides Campus Redevelopment
  • Knab Redevelopment


Thèid £393 millean gu lèir a chur an seilbh air sgàth Aonta Fàs nan Eilean a chaidh aontachadh eadar Arcaibh, Sealtainn agus na h-Eileanan an Iar

Chuir Ministearan Riaghaltasan na Rìoghachd Aonaichte agus na h-Alba agus Ceannardan Chomhairlean Arcaibh, Shealtainn agus na h-Eileanan an Iar an ainmean ri aonta an-diugh (20mh Faoilteach) gus £100 millean a chur an seilbh airson saidhbhreas nan trì ùghdarrasan eileanach san àm ri teachd.


Thathar an dùil gun tèid suas ri 1,300 cosnadh a chruthachadh agus £393 millean a chur an seilbh mar thoradh air an aonta cruth-atharrachail airson Fàs nan Eilean eadar Riaghaltasan na Rìoghachd Aonaichte agus na h-Alba, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Comhairle Shealtainn agus Comhairle Arcaibh.

Thairis air deich bliadhna, cuiridh Aonta Fàs nan Eilean taic-airgid an seilbh ann an 16 pròiseactan is prògraman a bhios a’ faighinn buannachd à stòrasan nàdarra air leth nan Eilean. Tha seo stèidhichte air na trì cuspairean ro-innleachdail a leanas: beag-charboin; a’ cur taic ri fàs eaconomach agus ghnìomhachasan san àm ri teachd; agus coimhearsnachdan seasmhach, soirbheachail, a’ crochadh air aonta chùisean gnìomhachais iomlan.

Air a cho-mhaoineachadh le suas ri £100 millean – £50 millean an urra bho Riaghaltasan na h-Alba agus na Rìoghachd Aonaichte – gheibh Aonta Fàs nan Eilean barrachd taic-airgid suas ri £293 millean mar mhaoineachadh co-ionann.

Tha na trì Comhairlean Eileanach air an Aonta a leasachadh, còmhla ri com-pàirtichean poblach, acadaimigeach, gnìomhachais, coimhearsnachd agus treas-phàrtaidh.

Thathar an dùil sa chiad bhliadhna den phrògram deich-bliadhna gun tèid taic-airgid a chur an seilbh thairis air na h-Eileanan, a’ gabhail a-steach àrainnean OGE ann an Sealtainn agus sna h-Eileanan an Iar, agus Ionad Cothromachadh Carboin nan Eilean, a bhios stèidhichte air Àrainn Rannsachaidh agus Ùr-ghnàthachaidh Arcaibh ann an Stromness.

A’ cur fàilte air an naidheachd, thuirt Vicki Nairn, Prionnsapal agus Iar-Sheansalair Eadar-amail aig UHI: “’S e clach-mhìle chudromach a tha seo do Phrògram Cùmhnant Fàs nan Eilean agus na choileanadh mòr dha na h-uile a tha an sàs ann. Tha dealas aig UHI gum bi buaidh chruth-atharrachail againn air na tha san amharc don sgìre againn agus a bhith a’ toirt taic do ar coimhearsnachdan, seirbheisean poblach agus gnìomhachasan. Tha iomairtean mar seo a’ cur gu mòr ri àm ri teachd ar coimhearsnachdan.

“Tha sinn air leth toilichte a bhith ag obair le co-obraichean ann an Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Comhairle Shealtainn agus Comhairle Eileanan Arcaibh, le ar prìomh luchd-ùidhe agus le UHI Innse Gall, Colaiste Arcaibh UHI agus UHI Sealtainn gus taic a thoirt don chùmhnant agus pròiseactan cruth-atharrachail a ghluasad air adhart. Tha seo a’ gabhail a-steach leasachadh àrainn agus curraicealam, rannsachadh agus pròiseactan iomlaid eòlais a chuidicheas sinn gus foghlam agus rannsachadh àrd-inbhe a lìbhrigeadh, a bharrachd air tasgadh a tharraing a-steach agus taic a thoirt do chosnadh.”

Mhol Hannah Ritchie-Muir, Prionnsapal UHI Innse Gall, coileanadh na clach-mhìle chudromaich seo airson Cùmhnant Fàs nan Eilean, ag ràdh: “Tha UHI Innse Gall air a bhith na chom-pàirtiche làidir ann an leasachadh na lèirsinn agus nam beachdan pròiseict a thàinig gu bith. 'S ann mar thoradh air an oidhirp mhòr agus an obair chruaidh a rinn a h-uile com-pàirtiche tron ìre leasachaidh seo a tha sinn air an aonta fhoirmeil seo a choileanadh agus a shoidhnigeadh. Tha sinn a cheart cho dealasach mun ìre lìbhrigidh agus na pròiseactan fhaicinn a’ tighinn gu bith, mar bhuannachd don òigridh agus ar coimhearsnachdan. Tro chom-pàirteachas UHI agus an aonadh san amharc againn le UHI Gàidhealtachd a Tuath agus UHI Gàidhealtachd an Iar, is urrainn dhuinn cothroman gun samhail agus sàr-mhathas ann an ionnsachadh, trèanadh agus taic a thabhann do gach oileanach, gnìomhachas agus coimhearsnachd dhùthchail.”

Ann a bhith a’ cur fàilte air Cùmhnant Fàs nan Eilean, thuirt Lydia Rohmer, Prionnsabail Ainmichte UHI a Tuath, an Iar is Innse Gall:Tha an cùmhnant seo a’ riochdachadh maoineachadh cudromach, ro-innleachdail airson Innse Gall agus a’ toirt taic do ar n-amasan mar cholaiste cho-aonaichte aig am bi buaidh chruth-atharrachail air ar coimhearsnachdan dùthchail agus eileanach, tro ar dealas mu fhoghlam aig an treas ìre, a’ dèiligeadh ris a’ ghainnead de sgilean, a’ fàs rannsachadh agus ùr-ghnàthachas, agus a’ cuimseachadh gu for-ghnìomhach air cultar, dualchas agus a’ Ghàidhlig.  Bidh dreuchd chudromach aig ar colaiste cho-aonaichte ann a bhith a’ ceangal ri chèile prìomh leasachaidhean eaconamach ro-innleachdail ann an roinn ar colaiste cho-aonaichte, a’ fuasgladh chothroman obrach iomchaidh airson an ama ri teachd, agus a’ toirt taic do thionndadh gnìomhachais ùr nar roinn.  Tha sinn a’ coimhead air adhart ri bhith ag obair còmhla ri ar com-pàirtichean Cùmhnant Fàs nan Eilean air fad gus gach cothrom a mheudachadh do ar coimhearsnachdan eileanach.”  

Thuirt Sìne Lewis, Prionnsapal UHI Sealtainn: “Tha UHI Sealtainn a’ coimhead air adhart ri togail air Cùmhnant Fàs nan Eilean airson an ama ri teachd do Shealtainn agus na h-eileanan, tro cho-obrachadh leantainneach le Riaghaltasan na h-Alba agus na RA, gnìomhachasan ionadail, an com-pàirteachas UHI san fharsaingeachd, agus luchd-ùidhe eile. Tha aonta foirmeil agus soidhnigeadh-dheth an latha an-diugh na chomharradh air àm brosnachail dha na com-pàirtichean uile, agus do na coimhearsnachdan againn a gheibh buannachd às na leasachaidhean a tha a’ dol air adhart. Tha na ceanglaichean a tha sinn air a chruthachadh le cumhachd ath-nuadhachail, sgilean uaine agus roinn an fhànais a’ nochdadh gu bheil àm ri teachd beòthail aig Sealtainn. Airson UHI Sealtainn tha sinn air bhioran mun tasgadh san roinn treas-ìre, gu h-àraidh ar planaichean ath-leasachaidh air an àrainn, a tha a’ comharrachadh Shealtainn mar cheann-uidhe beòthail airson a bhith ag ionnsachadh agus a’ fuireach.”

An dèidh soidhneadh an aonta ann an seòmar Comhairle Arcaibh, thuirt Calum Offord, Ministear na h-Alba Riaghaltas na Rìoghachd Aonaichte: “Chan e mhàin gun toir seo spionnadh do dh’eaconamaidhean ionadail agus gun cruthaich e cosnaidhean, bheir e comas cuideachd do choimhearsnachdan na buannachdan as fheàrr fhaighinn a-mach à stòrasan nàdarra nan Eilean a tha a’ ciallachadh gu bheil iad nan àitean sònraichte airson a bhith a’ fuireach.

“Tha an t-aonta seo làn sreath farsaing de phròiseactan a bheireadh deagh bhuaidh air an eaconamaidh, a’ gabhail a-steach, mar eisimpleir, a bhith a’ stiùireadh an eadar-ghluasad gu cothromachadh carboin no a’ leasachadh àitean a tha air leth tarraingeach do luchd-tadhail mar Shlighe Hiort.

“Tha an taic-airgid de £50m a tha Riaghlatas na Rìoghachd Aonaichte a’ cur ri aonta nan Eilean, a bharrachd air airgead-seilbhe àrd-ìreachaidh eile, a’ sealltainn ar dealas gus taic a chur ris na h-Eileanan Albannach.”

Thuirt Ministear Gnìomhachais Riaghaltas na h-Alba, Ivan McKee: “’S e iomairt chruth-atharrachail a th’ anns an Aonta Fàis – a’ comasachadh fàs eaconamach seasmhach agus a’ lìbhrigeadh bun-structar puirt ùr a bhios cudromach gu h-eadar-nàiseanta, agus a bhios cudromach ann a bhith a’ coileanadh thargaidean cothromachadh carboin.

“Cuiridh taic-airgid £50 millean Riaghaltas na h-Alba taic ris an eadar-ghluasad gu lùth ath-nuadhachail – a’ gabhail a-steach lìbhrigeadh sgilean ùra don luchd-obrach – agus iomairtean gus eimiseanan a lùghdachadh fheuchainn sna h-Eileanan. Brosnaichidh e obair ùr-ghnàthach ann an roinnean cudromach mar fhànas, biadh is deoch agus ghnìomhachasan cruthachail; cuidichidh e ann a bhith a’ leasachadh chinn-uidhe turasachd agus cultarach, agus a’ leudachadh air solar foghlaim.

“Tha sinn daingeann gum bi ar n-eileanan nan àitean tarraingeach airson a bhith a’ fuireach is ag obair, agus gun urrainn dhaibh taic a chur ri cruth-atharrachadh eaonamach is seasmhach na h-Alba cho math ’s as urrainn.”

Thuirt Comhairliche Seumas Stockan, Ceannard Comhairle Arcaibh: “Tha soidhneadh na sgrìobhainne cudromaiche seo an-diugh ann an Arcaibh mar chlach-mhìle eile air ar turas ri chèile agus nar lèirsinn airson ar n-eileanan airson an àm ri teachd.

“Tha sinn air a bhith ag obair gu soirbheachail le chèile gus an t-aonta fàis aontachadh leis ar riaghaltasan ann an Lunnainn agus Dùn Èideann gus am bi àm ri teachd nas fheàrr againn uile. Chan e mhàin gu bheil an t-aonta ag aithneachadh gu bheil dùbhlain air leth againn sna h-Eileanan, ach gu bheil neartan againn cuideachd nar stòrasan nàdarra agus sna cothroman a tha sinn a’ tabhann.”

Thuirt Pòl Steele, Ceannard Comhairle nan Eilean Siar: “Tha soidhneadh Aonta Fàs nan Eilean an dà chuid mar lèirsinn a chaidh a chur air bhonn tro cho-obrachadh eadar Comhairlean nan Eilean agus Riaghaltasan na Rìoghachd Aonaichte agus na h-Alba, agus mar thoiseach lìbhrigeadh na lèirsinne sin.

’S e clach-mhìle a th’ ann a bhith a’ coileanadh ar n-amasan gus 1,300 cosnadh a chruthachadh agus £393m de dh’airgead a chur an seilbhe thairis air deich bhliadhna tron Aonta nan Eilean, a’ cleachdadh ghoireasan nan Eilean agus a’ faighinn buannachd às na stòrasan nàdarra againn, agus as cudromaiche buileach, às na daoine a tha a’ fuireach sna h-Eileanan.”

Thuirt Emma NicDhòmhnaill, Ceannard Comhairle Shealtainn: “Tha pròiseactan san Aonta a thèid a choileanadh a-mhàin air eileanan sònraichte, le prìomhachas air cothroman agus prìomhachasan ionadail, a bharrachd air an fheadhainn a thèid an coileanadh tro obair chom-pàirteachaidh gus saidhbhreas eaconamach airson ar n-eileanan gu lèir a thoirt gu buil. Cha b’ urrainnear na pròiseactan air leth cudromach seo a tha a’ cur taic ri seasmhachd nan Eilean a leasachadh gun taic agus airgead-seilbhe Riaghaltasan na Rìoghachd Aonaichte agus na h-Alba.

“Tha sinn air a bhith a’ leasachadh ar com-pàirteachas fhad ’s a tha sinn air a bhith a’ leasachadh an Aonta, agus tha mi a’ dèanamh fiughair ri bhith a’ faicinn mar a bhios e a’ leasachadh sna deich bliadhna a tha romhainn.”

Thèid na milleanan de dh’airgead-seilbhe a chosg air na pròiseactan a leanas.

A’ stiùireadh na slighe gu àm beag-charboin ri teachd

  • Ionad nan Eilean airson Cothromachadh Carboin
  • Co-ionad Connaidh Scapa Flow
  • Co-ionad Lùtha nan Eilean Siar
  • Pròiseact lùtha Ghlain Shealtainn
  • Cidhe Ro-Dhomhain Dales Voe

A’ cur taic ri fàs agus gnìomhachasan san àm ri teachd

  • Soirbheas nan Eilean Cruthachail
  • Leasachadh Ceann-uidhe nan Eilean Siar
  • Slighe Dualchais Arcaibh
  • Tuathanas Dìreach Arcaibh
  • Shell-volution
  • Prògram Biadh is Deoch nan Eilean Siar
  • Port-fànais 1

Coimhearsnachdan Soirbheachail Seasmhach

  • Eileanan TalEntEd
  • Àrainn Rannsachaidh agus Ùr-ghnàthachaidh Arcaibh
  • Ath-leasachadh Àrainn Shealtainn
  • Ath-leasachadh Àrainn nan Eilean Siar
  • Ath-leasachadh Knab