Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Islanders on Eigg win environment prize

Eigg reduced its C02 emissions by almost a third in a year

Islanders on Eigg in the Hebrides have won £300,000 to spend on community projects which reduce C02 emissions.

The prize was awarded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts after islanders cut emissions by almost a third over the last year.

Eigg beat off competition from communities across the UK to win a share of a £1m prize in Nesta's Big Green Challenge.

The island was the only Scottish finalist.

The Eigg team has slashed CO2 emissions by 32% in the past year alone. The UK's 2020 emissions reduction target is 34%.

One of three winning communities, it was granted its prize for its achievements in four areas: CO2 reductions achieved; the innovative nature of its initiatives; the longevity and scalability of the project; and the level of community engagement.

The Isle of Eigg team has exceeded our expectations of what communities can achieve in reducing carbon emissions
Jonathan Kestenbaum

The islanders' entry included a website urging other communities to follow their example.

Jonathan Kestenbaum, Nesta's chief executive said: "The Isle of Eigg team has exceeded our expectations of what communities can achieve in reducing carbon emissions and for this they should be congratulated.

"The success of the project proves that when communities are incentivised, empowered and supported they become a compelling force in solving some of society's biggest challenges."

A mix of renewable energy sources supply all the homes on Eigg, which is in the Small Isles between Skye and the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

It has a £1.6m renewable power system which uses a mix of hydroelectric, wind and solar power, which came on stream in February last year.

It was designed to generate more than 95% of Eigg's annual energy demand and is backed up by a battery storage system and two diesel generators.

About 45 households, 20 businesses and six community buildings on the island are linked together by six miles of buried cable, providing a high voltage network.

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