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Newsletter 22

Climate action news from Skye and beyond
The colours of spring are sprouting

This month we have lots of news about our activities and what is happening in Skye, Highland region and Scotland. From hustings and recycling to youth climate action, this month's newsletter is packed with interesting topics!
Do keep an eye on our website, as news and events are continually being added.
Welcome to our April newsletter
with news and actions on the climate emergency in Skye and beyond

Skye Climate Action is a collaborative network, aiming to share information and to support and encourage all those who are taking action to reduce our carbon footprint and prepare for changes happening to our climate.

Whether you are taking a personal stand or are joining with others, whether on issues of food, transport, plastics, building, energy or anything else, do drop us an email to tell us what you are doing so we can share your story and inspire others.

If you use Facebook, please comment and post on our page, and invite new members by using the invite button. Visit our website for more news, events and information.


April, Thursday 8th, 7.30-9pm: SCA Conversation + SCARRR, with Highland Council Waste Management Officer, Andy Hume, joining our conversation. Contact for more details and for Zoom link.

April, Monday 26th: Inspirational Sustainability Projects. This is the first of a series of Pop-up meetings on specific topics. Zoom in to hear from Tracy Keenan (Broadford Forest School), Matt Harrison (ACE Academy), and Heather Fulton (Atlas Arts). We anticipate stimulating discussion. Contact for more details and for Zoom link.
Hustings with MSP candidates
Skye Climate Action’s
Scottish Parliament election 2021 Hustings
Thursday 22nd April
19:30 - 21:00

via Zoom
Ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, Skye Climate Action is hosting a hustings to enable candidates to share their policies, particularly those on climate change. The next four years will be crucial in the fight against global heating. As representatives of an area which is already experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis, prospective MSPs must be ready to tackle the issue head-on. Representatives of all parties standing in the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency will be invited to take part. In light of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the hustings will take place online.

We are calling for submissions of questions regarding party policies from anyone in the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency in advance of the event. Please focus your questions around the candidates’ policies and please submit questions by Tuesday 6 April at the latest. Questions can be sent to Please note that for the sake of time management, we may combine questions on similar themes and may not be able to put everybody’s question to the candidates.

This event will be free to attend, however we request that you register your attendance via the Eventbrite link. 

Once you register for the event, you will be sent a link to the Zoom meeting.


Skye Climate Action’s “Creative Climate Conversation” on 3rd March

by Rosamonde Birch
We started the workshop exploring the success and achievements of Skye Climate Action, especially appreciating the amazing work and impact of members, groups and climate activities that had been achieved throughout Lockdown and in spite of living through the pandemic.

Everyone was invited to share a personal story about Skye Climate Action and what it has meant to them. The Word Cloud summarises just some of the key themes and words that many of us shared. The care, connection and solidarity of being part of a climate action community were all said to be vital for sustaining personal hope in these difficult and uncertain times.


The workshop also inspired a wide range of aspirations for 2021, which I have summarised here under five key themes. We hope these ‘visions’ and ‘actions’ for 2021 inspire and catalyse more connecting through our climate action work together.

Food Growing
1. Supporting everyone growing through:
  • Knowledge Sharing
  • Top Tips - Best crops for different areas and climates of the area.
  • Growing/Harvest Mapping - Some way to show where people are growing and knowing what crops are being grown nearby.
  • Growers Marketplace - Seed Bank, Seedling Swops/Exchanges, Gatherings (post-lockdown) as a ‘market’ of growers and makers using local halls.
2. Broadford Growers Hub – could this model be extended to a couple of other places on Skye?

3. Inspiration to develop a local food economy and food security plans.

Connecting to Local, Regional and National Action
1. Continue collaborating with Groups across Highlands and Islands, and sustain our relationships with Highland Council and other regional organisations.

2. Contributing to the Skye & Raasay Investment Plan.

3. Joining campaigns to shape climate action – Divestment from Fossil Fuels across Scotland.

4. Using the Climate Féis as Skye Climate Action’s contribution to feed into COP26.

Care of Places
Supporting a sense of care for our immediate place and surroundings (in the absence of Highland Council funds for litter picking, can we look after roadsides, beaches, shores and other areas?):
  • Adopt a layby / Adopt a road section – Mapping patches that are being cared for.
  • Keep Britain Tidy – ‘Big Spring Clean’ weekend May – June.
  • Raise awareness – local press? signs?
Connecting People
Sustain and continue zoom gatherings, Skye Climate Action events , projects and identify ways of connecting people. How can we know what’s going on across the Island?
  • Community Mapping – pin drop maps with activities, projects and groups.
  • Apps to help communicate and co-ordinate resources and exchanges? Growers App? Reuse/Rehome App?
Communication and Sharing Knowledge
1. West Highland Free Press – see if different groups, activities and people from Skye Climate Action can enter articles or press releases about their work. Use the monthly feature to really showcase excellent projects and ideas.

2. Using mapping, Apps, spreading the word across more groups to engage with more people across the community – Outreach events.
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by Anne MacLennan

The originally-named Plastic Free Broadford and Beyond group, which became the SCA Plastics subgroup, has now been renamed Skye Climate Action Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, or SCARRR. This is to reflect that we were moving beyond just plastics, to consider waste minimisation of all materials in line with a Circular Economy approach.

There are individuals and groups active in, or investigating the possibilities of collecting, re-using, and/or recycling beach and roadside litter, agricultural plastics, food waste, metals, electrical and electronic goods, cardboard, single use plastics, construction waste, and more. If you have a particular interest in any of these or other materials, let us know. We can put you in touch with those involved.

We had a good meeting on 10th March, with Helen Lavery of Zero Waste Scotland giving a helpful presentation on the Circular Economy and using examples from around Scotland to demonstrate these principles in action. You can refer to their website for a load of resources and inspirational case studies: Zero Waste Scotland.

Helen outlined principles including Circular Design from the outset. Resource Recovery was illustrated by turning reject potatoes into commercial vodka. Enabling technologies are key, and a new perspective on the product as a service rather than a commodity, for instance installing lighting which is then maintained and upgraded to last long term. Leasing as a principle can be applied to cars, bikes, tools, and baby equipment – ownership is not necessary, especially if the items are only used for a limited period or intermittently. Consider that the average car is parked for 92% of its life and only in use for 8%. This aligns with the principle of Sharing – products, time, and other resources. Remanufacture, Re-use, and Repair are all basic principles that can be applied commercially or at home.

Practical barriers to community waste management were discussed e.g. regulations on collection and transport of waste, and the fact that a payment is required to have industrial waste removed. Highland Council helpfully provides and collects skips for beach clean rubbish, but they are limited in the number of skips available and where they can put them. The Council is also disturbed by the amount of litter (and human waste) discarded last year.

The next SCARRR meeting is on Thursday 8th April, 7.30pm by Zoom. This will be a SCA Conversation and is open to all who may be interested, so come along and tell your friends and neighbours. We’ll have Andy Hume, Highland Council Waste Management Officer, joining our discussion and we would love to hear what ideas or concerns you have about minimising and managing waste on Skye. Contact for the Zoom link.

Single use plastic
The Scottish Government is considering a ban on several single use plastic items. A recent public consultation is summarised on their website: Market restrictions on single-use plastic items: consultation analysis. Following the consultation, draft regulations were drawn up, which are out for consultation until 13th April, so if you want to comment, now’s your chance Draft Environmental Protection (Single-use Plastic Products and Oxo-degradable Plastic Products) (Scotland) Regulations 2021: discussion paper.

The proposals cover “single-use plastic cutlery, plates, straws, beverage stirrers and balloon sticks; food and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene; and all oxo-degradable products” as in the EU's Single-Use Plastics Directive.

Individuals and groups who responded to the consultation strongly supported market restrictions. Those who wanted to ban all of the proposed items “acknowledged the convenience of single-use plastics, but thought (i) they were a symbol of Scotland's throwaway culture, (ii) none of the items in the proposed list could be considered 'essential', (iii) the harm (to the environment) caused by these items was, in most cases, greater than any benefit they provided, (iv) their continued production and use acted as a deterrent to innovation and or wider use of existing 'greener', 'more sustainable' alternatives, and (v) existing alternatives were, in many cases, cheaper than the equivalent single-use plastic item. Respondents also argued that regulation was needed to 'make change happen', and that banning these items was preferable to charging consumers more for them”.

A minority of respondents, mainly from manufacturing organisations or food, drink, tourism and other business organisations opposed a ban on at least half of the items. They were concerned that “in certain contexts, including within health and social care, or the catering/hospitality sectors, there were no better alternatives available, and they opposed what they saw as a 'blanket, one-size-fits-all' approach to dealing with single-use products made of plastic.”

So – have your say!

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Electrical Amnesty! Recyling, Reuse and Repair in
 South Skye
by Tricia Petri-Clark

Great news! There is a new monthly pick up in the Broadford area for broken electrical domestic appliances. ILM Highland already collect from the Portree recycling centre and now the ILM van will be stopping for 2 hours at the Ashaig Campsite (for directions click here.)

During an initial three-month trial period, the van will collect on the last Wednesday of the month (28 April, 26 May, 30 June) from 11 am to 1 pm.

Arrive during this time slot to drop off your items (domestic appliances only).

The collection will accept all types of domestic electrical equipment, large and small. Essentially anything with a plug or battery. They also take all the associated leads, chargers, etc.

Each year ILM Highland’s Electrical Waste Service collects around 2,400 tonnes of electrical waste which is then either fully recycled or selected for reuse. Items suitable for reuse are removed from the waste stream and taken to their Reuse Workshop to undergo a thorough testing, cleaning and refurbishment process, including PAT testing, ready for sale.

More info here in ILM’s blog, and watch a video here.

If you have any electrical appliances that have lasted forever, email them in and they may be featured in the next newsletter!
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Skye community litter project

by Jennie Chapman
Throughout the lockdown since Christmas a small Facebook group has been set up “Skye Lockdown Litterpick”, with individuals logging the litter they collect and a map being produced showing how much has been collected and from where. Between Christmas and mid March over 300 bags of rubbish and 120 random large objects too big for bags as well as a flytip of industrial plastic were cleared mainly from road verges around the island, with work ongoing. Almost 60 different individuals have been involved with doing at least 1 litterpick, with 160 different litterpicking occasions recorded. This has taken place from the far North to the South of Skye and everywhere in between. The Lockdown Litterpick has mainly focussed on litter along road verges and in lay-bys, with some from paths and car parks and beaches.

From the work so far, it is clear that there is a concerning amount of litter ending up in verges and ditches, often blocking water courses and causing a very unsightly environmental hazard. Obviously, work to reduce single use packaging is key to reduce this issue, as is education to prevent littering. However, with the problem not likely to immediately go away a new longer-term initiative is being set up to tackle this problem.

So, a new long-term community group has been created “Skye Community Litter Project”. The group currently has a Facebook page of the same name. Everyone can get involved – indeed the more people that do, the more of the island we can cover with the aim to make Skye litter-free. If you are not on Facebook you can get involved by emailing and you will be kept informed by email.

Here is how you can get involved:
  1. As an individual, household, friendship group or workplace choose an area to keep free of litter. Once “adopted” you commit to clearing any litter from that area at least 2-3 times a year. If you would be interested in “adopting” a lay-by, length of road verge or any other area you have identified as gathering litter then please ask to join the Skye Community Litter Project Facebook Group. Each adopted area will be mapped to highlight those areas that are being cared for and those where there are gaps. When choosing an area to adopt please don’t forget there are long stretches of road well away from the villages and sections of these can be some of the least likely to otherwise be cleared. The “adopted” area can be as big or small as you like, every bit is a vital part of a bigger picture.
  2. Become a Group Local Ambassador for your part of the island – you can help involve your local neighbourhood, act as a local point for equipment to be distributed and keep your local supporters updated and in touch (not all will be on Facebook)
  3. Help with administration – keeping the adoption map up to date, dealing with the Facebook page, promoting any events, writing articles for local media etc!
  4. If you know a local constituted community group we need one that could act as an “umbrella” for the initiative so that we can apply for funding etc.
Those adopting an area of Skye to check and clear regularly can receive a litterpicker, some bags for collection, a hi-vis vest and gloves. All that is asked in return is that you let us know approximately how many bin bags of litter you clear each year from your adopted area – it isn’t a competition, its just to help us show the impact of what we are collectively doing!
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Youth Climate Action
Here are some suggestions from Rosamonde Birch for children and young people.
Children's climate action

Children can learn more about our global community and climate action:
  • “Voices of the Future: stories from around the world” (UNESCO Publication – Forward by Irina Bokova)
  • “If the World Were a Village: A Book about the World’s People” (David J. Smith)
  • “One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of Gambia (Miranda Paul)
Draw, paint and make...
  • Paint the Earth and tell us all your favourite things about our planet
  • Make a paper maché plant-pot holder and plant a seed
Young people's  climate action
Please feel free to share your creations on Skye Climate Action’s Facebook Page.
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Highland Council

Izzy Flowers is our liaison person with Keith Masson, Highland Council’s Climate Change & Energy Team Manager. Please let Izzy know of issues or concerns relating to Highland Council and climate, that you’d like her to raise with Keith. Contact Izzy at

Highland Council Pensions: A call for action

The campaigns to get the Highland Council to adopt a Charter for Responsible Investment  and to divest from fossil fuels are in full swing.

The Highland Council Pension Fund Committee has now committed to holding a workshop to produce a Responsible Investing Policy Statement. This is a very welcome response to one of the principal recommendations of the campaign. You can watch a video of the Pension Fund meeting on 18th March, in which committee members argued vociferously about the degree to which ethical principles and the views of the wider community should influence the fund’s investment decisions, or read the transcript of the meeting here. See an analysis of the Pension Fund meeting here. If you would like to join the Highland Charter for Responsible Investment campaign please email
Several MSPs have come out in support of the campaign to end Scottish government investments in fossil fuels. You can help by getting in touch with your local MSP or Councillor with the message that the Highland Council must stop funding the destruction of the planet through supporting fossil fuel projects, while engaging with others to help spread knowledge about the climate emergency. Use this tool to find out what Highland Council Pension Fund is investing in.

If you wish to take personal actions to make sure you are not funding fossil fuel investments, consider switching your bank, energy provider and pension provider away from companies that invest in fossil fuels and other climate-destroying industries, with this helpful tool.
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A Just Transition for Scotland
The Just Transition Commission was set up in 2018 to advise the Scottish Government on transitioning to a Zero Carbon Economy. Since last year, they have factored in social and economic recovery from the pandemic with all of the opportunities and risks that that presents. Their final report, “A national mission for a fairer, greener Scotland” was published on 23rd March. This and previous reports can be found on their website: Just Transition Commission - (

The chair of the Commission is Professor Jim Skea, a co-chair of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). He is therefore fully aware of the urgent challenges that face us, but also of the possibilities for action. The report is strongly focussed on fairness, and the ways to deliver a more equitable and sustainable, thriving society. “Taking action to tackle climate change must make Scotland a healthier, more prosperous and more equal society, whilst restoring its natural environment. We want a Scotland where wellbeing is at the heart of how we measure ourselves and our prosperity.”

The Commission has consulted widely with business, government, farming and environmental representatives, trade unions and communities. They consider five areas: The future of our energy system, our buildings and how we heat them, the future of our industrial base, how our transport system works, and how we use and manage our land.

They make 24 recommendations to the Scottish Government, under four themes:
  1. Pursue an orderly, managed transition to net-zero that creates benefits and opportunities for people across Scotland
  2. Equip people with the skills and education they need to benefit from the transition
  3. Empower and invigorate our communities and strengthen local economies
  4. Share benefits widely and ensure burdens are distributed on the basis of the ability to pay
The Commission calls for the Scottish Government to make the Deputy First Minister, or at least a Cabinet Secretary, responsible for this just transition. They also want the Government to “launch a national call for action at COP26, that brings business, trade unions, and civic society together in a commitment to support just transition principles in Scotland” in recognition of the “unique window of opportunity to drive forward a just transition”.

The ”national mission” in the title is to emphasise that this transition cannot be accomplished by any group alone but requires a collaborative effort from the grassroots through all sectors of society and business to the Government. We all need each other, but together we can do it.
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Scotland's Climate Assembly Interim report released

Scotland's Climate Assembly is complete! After five and a half months of learning, deliberating and decision-making, the Assembly members of have reached their first conclusions. The Interim Report, featuring their Statement of Ambition and 16 overarching goals, was laid in Parliament at 9am on the 24th of March. The full report including the complete breakdown of recommendations will be laid in the new Parliament in May, after the election. However, the work of the Assembly continues. Over the next eight months, the Assembly will be engaging across Scottish society to promote its recommendations and drive climate action ahead of COP26.

You can read the interim report here, or watch the video below, detailing the goals set by the Climate Assembly.   

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