Exciting news came from Lochaber in recent weeks, when it was announced that a community company were in discussions with a private landowner to complete what would be the biggest community land buy-out in Scotland to date.
East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust (ELLCT) has been formed in response to the opportunity presented by Rio Tinto Alcan, the company that owns the Lochaber Smelter. Rio Tinto Alcan announced in January 2016 that it was reviewing its operation in Lochaber, posing the risk of the smelter being closed with associated job losses.
ELLCT are currently holding community meetings to discuss their plans for the proposed 120,000 acre land buy-out, which would likely require them partnering with another organisation who would run the smelter. This would protect jobs and transfer a significant amount of land to community ownership.
The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust are fully supportive of such exciting projects. We have worked with other communities on similar proposals, and look forward to working with ELLCT and other community companies by sharing our expertise and knowledge.
East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust’s website is http://www.eastlochaberlaggan.scot/ and their Twitter account is @ELLCTrust. Regular updates are posted with details of community meetings and developments in this promising enterprise.