The Smart Islands programme on the Isles of Scilly has been included within the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which was published today.
The Industrial Strategy White Paper sets out the Government’s plans to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs with investment in the skills, industries and infrastructure of the future.
The Smart Islands Partnership aims to enable the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable and resilient community on the Isles of Scilly. In a set of interconnected projects, the programme hopes to cut electricity bills by 40%, meet 40% of energy demand through renewables and see 40% of vehicles low carbon or electric - all by 2025.
The scheme has been given special recognition in the Government's Industrial Strategy for its focus on providing savings for residents and businesses and for demonstrating that innovation can be driven from even the smallest communities and is not confined to the UK’s cities.
It is included as a case study in the Infrastructure section of the White Paper, alongside four other major programmes - the Heathrow Logistics Hub, HS2, Vodafone CityFibre and Transport for London.
Council chairman Ted Moulson said: “The Government’s decision to feature Smart Islands within the Industrial Strategy is extremely positive for the islands and recognises the vision and innovation of the programme.
"The Smart Islands Partnership’s aim to improve infrastructure, economic prosperity and quality of life on the Isles of Scilly, whilst acting as a proving ground for clean growth across the UK, is unique. The hard work is just beginning, but we hope that Smart Islands will bring significant benefits to Scilly’s economy and provide a useful model for other communities – size and location should not be a barrier to innovation.”
It has also been announced that the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has agreed in principle to invest up to £2.95 million in Smart Islands through the Government’s Local Growth Fund.
The proposal is to use these funds for three projects: Firstly, an energy from waste scheme that will reduce expensive shipping and generate energy for the community. Secondly, an electric car-share scheme and charging points that will allow car batteries to help manage energy loads whilst also reducing the need for car ownership. Thirdly, funding will be available to install renewable energy solutions for local businesses.
Mark Duddridge, Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, said: “Smart Islands is creating a learning laboratory that we hope will serve as a model for the rest of the UK and beyond. It is melding cutting-edge digital technology with renewable energy generation and storage to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the world today. It will bring huge benefits to the island community in terms of reduced costs and carbon emissions, and cater for future sustainable growth."
You can read the Government's full Industrial Strategy here (p146 for Scilly):