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September 12, 2012

Islands link up

There are 95 inhabited Scottish islands. All different shapes and sizes but with many of the same challenges –  depopulation, housing shortages, soaring transport and energy costs, ferry operators etc. Four years ago a group of island communities came together to form the Scottish Islands Federation to create a more united voice. Next week, islanders from Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, and Finland will be joining them on Mull to share experiences and in particular, to learn how they have harnessed their natural resources.


A major conference titled RESILIENCE AND INNOVATION: THE ISLANDS CHALLENGE is being held on the Isle of Mull later this month. The Scottish Islands Federation (SIF) has lined up an impressive list of speakers from islands all around Europe, an MEP and  MSP Michael Russell will be attending Craignure Hall on Friday 21st of September.  Controversial issues such as available grid connection, EU policy for islands are among the topics for debate; along with cutting edge developments in the use of marine algae as a fuel source are up for discussion.  Community Energy Scotland is facilitating two workshops and the panel discussion will be chaired by Alyn Smith MEP.

Chair of SIF, Sandy Brunton, said “This important conference will follow on from the annual meeting of the European Small Islands Network, which we are hosting on Mull the previous day.  Delegates will also be able to learn how islanders from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland take advantage of the natural resources available to them. The conference comes at a crucial time when island resilience comes under increasing pressure with power supply companies planning to increase their prices by nearly 10% very soon”.

The conference has been timed to coordinate with ferry times so that day delegates can catch the 07.45 ferry from Oban and return on the 17.00 from Craignure.  Islanders wishing to attend must register at or email Camille at as spaces are limited.  There is no charge for attending the day, due to assistance from Argyll and the Islands Leader and there are limited bursaries to help with travel costs for those coming from distant islands. 

The Scottish Islands Federation was set up in 2008 to assist island organisations and individuals to express their unique points of views, share their stories and make better representations at local, regional, national and European level, on all issues affecting the sustainability of the Scottish islands.