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      Uist and Benbecula News

Breedon Hebrides has won a £500,000 contract to develop a harbour facility in Eriskay which was awarded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

The project begins shortly and will extend the life of Acarsaid pier – increasing landing capacity and supporting development of the local fishing fleet.

The project is being funded by Scottish Government through the Islands Growth Deal and through the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

Acarsaid is viewed as a strategically significant harbour, offering excellent shelter from all-weather directions - which allows easy access to the fishing grounds of both the west and east coast of the island.

The original pier is in need of life extension works to ensure its continued viability as a commercial facility – and this investment will provide for pier strengthening and remedial works to the main support piles, struts and decking timbers.

Councillor Paul Steele, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “We are delighted to see the Islands Growth Deal Outer Hebrides Food & Drink Programme getting underway with the award of this contract to Breedon Hebrides.

“The development of Acarsaid Harbour, a Comhairle nan Eilean Siar asset, is an important project within the Food & Drink Programme – a key component of the Islands Growth Deal.”

 Wellbeing Economy Secretary, Màiri McAllan MSP, said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government is able to support Acarsaid Pier, to help ensure that commercial fishing continues out of Eriskay and grows the local economy.

“Through the Islands Growth Deal, the Scottish Government is providing £50 million to help drive sustainable economic growth across the Outer Hebrides, as well as in Orkney and Shetland. By investing in local people, projects and priorities, we are increasing opportunities for all.”

The Outer Hebrides Food & Drink Programme enables the sustainable development of the islands’ primary food production industries in a radically altered socio-economic context: developing local food and drink markets and responding to sectoral opportunities linked to product diversification and value-added, in order to build economic resilience, community wealth and well-being.

The Acarsaid development is being funded with £150,000 from the Scottish Government as part of the Islands Growth Deal, which has secured investment of up to £100m from both Scottish Government and the UK Government over a 10-year period.  The Deal is also funded by the three Island Councils and the public, academic, community and business sectors.

The project is also being funded with £332,257 from the UK Government's Shared Prosperity Fund. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) replaced the European Structural and Investment Funds.

The UK SPF is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The UKSPF aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK - investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar received £2.2m from the UKSPF over three years (2022-2025), £613,000 of which was allocated as capital funding to support projects within the Outer Hebrides Food & Drink Programme.

If you want to get a sense of the scale of this funding, the new railway station at Inverness Airport, opened last year, cost £42m.

Picture: Tim Cheesman (Breedon-Site Manager), Angus Gillies (Bridges and Structures Engineer Comhairle nan Eilean Siar), Cllr Paul Steele (Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar), Alexander Murray (Breedon-Project Manager) at Acarsaid Pier.