Island communities across the UK are set to receive a significant boost from new UK Government funding aimed at enhancing vital transport links and supporting local economies. Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove announced the £1.6 million UK Islands Forum Connectivity Project during the fourth UK Islands Forum on Anglesey.  See the announcement here.

The project aims to identify options for improving transport in UK island communities, which often rely on air and ferry services due to their geographical isolation. Addressing challenges and gaps in island transport data and evidence is crucial for supporting investment cases and fostering economic growth.

LIS Show – MPU

Led jointly by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the Department for Transport (DfT), the project will create the first-ever UK-wide evidence base on island transport connectivity. This initiative will provide islands with new data and insights to enhance capacity and capability, supporting future investment decisions and driving innovation and levelling up efforts.

In addition to the connectivity project, the UK Government is allocating £3 million to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) based in Orkney. This funding will support EMEC’s role in wave and tidal energy testing, as well as green hydrogen development, contributing to the UK’s Net Zero ambitions and promoting innovation and investment in research and development.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove emphasized the importance of collaboration through the UK Islands Forum in facilitating these projects, which directly address the unique challenges faced by island communities. The forum provides leaders with a platform to discuss issues crucial to their communities, driving vital change in areas such as transport and green growth.

The UK Government’s commitment to levelling up island communities is evident through various initiatives and investments, including partnerships with Argyll and Bute, the Western Isles, and funding for projects in locations such as the Isle of Wight, Orkney, Shetland Islands, and Isles of Scilly. These investments aim to address local priorities and support the prosperity and resilience of island communities across the UK.

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