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Arran: Water, Energy, People and Partnerships

Scottish seascape

The Isle of Arran may well be known as Scotland in Miniature but the reality is that this stunning little gem on Scotland’s west coast is making a big impact environmentally. With initiatives such as Arran Eco SavvyCOAST Arran and Think About Plastic, the island is forging ahead in great strides and is well ahead of the mainland in some aspects.

Home Energy Scotland is always keen to work with partner organisations, especially those whose work complements our own objectives and allow us to deliver a greater message. We already have good relationships with the organisations and groups mentioned above and felt we could take these further, to help take our own message to the people of Arran.

During the summer months Arran’s population increases tri-fold with the influx of holiday makers. Whilst this is great for Arran’s economy, it also takes its toll on the island’s natural resources. Last year, with lower levels of rainfall, Arran ran out of water and had to have 750,000 litres shipped over from the mainland. Just think about that for a moment – an island, running out of water.

Scottish seascape

This is the reality of our Scottish weather now. Whilst we have a reputation for green glens and plentiful lochs, the impact of climate change is such that our islands can completely run out of drinking, useable water.

Working with our partners, we created an event which would welcome residents from all around the island to come and speak to our friendly and knowledgeable advisors. Our remit was clear and simple; to deliver free and impartial advice which would help the people of Arran to save water, energy and money. On Tuesday 16 July, along with the partners mentioned above and other including SustransArran CVS and Citrus Energy, we took over Arran High School and met lots of lovely people. 

Armed with water saving packs from Scottish Water, we spoke to residents about their own water usage; showers, baths, washing-up, cleaning cars, watering the garden, going to the loo – every way in which we use water, every day, often without thinking about it.  The aim of these questions was to establish behaviours and then offer water-saving devices which could be used every day and, more importantly, make a big difference to the amount of water being used. The good news was that we had a great reception; people were keen to hear what they could do differently and better, eager to use the water-saving devices and also very enthusiastic about the energy-saving tips and advice being imparted.

We also took the opportunity to bring along some ebikes and let people try these out. Again, these brought great interest, with some residents taking advantage of our ebike loan scheme – this is a brilliant way to try out an ebike in South West Scotland without any initial outlay and decide if they are for you. You can find out more about this by calling 0808 808 2282.

Overall the event was a great success for Home Energy Scotland. We forged stronger links with our Arran partners, had engaging and productive face-to-face interactions with many residents, and were able to make a really positive contribution towards the island’s water usage and carbon footprint.