25 years of community ownership marked on the Isle of Eigg

Solar power in operation on Eigg

The 25th anniversary of community takeover of the Isle of Eigg was celebrated this weekend.

The Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust (IEHT), a partnership between islanders, the Highland Council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, purchased the island for £1.5 million on June 12, 1997.

He is now considered a model for the community land ownership movement and has influenced other buyouts.

Since the move, the population has increased from 68 to 110, the number of visitors has doubled and new houses have been built.

Eigg also became the first place in the world to permanently supply electricity from renewable wind, solar and hydro energy.

The island’s heritage trust secretary, Maggie Fyffe, said: “In the 1990s the whole community suffered from the mismanagement and bad decisions of several private owners.

“People were threatened with eviction, there was no investment in buildings or infrastructure on the island and we were all very worried. The news that we finally collected, thanks to a private donation, the 1, £5million to buy the island was absolutely fantastic.

“Since then it has taken a lot of hard work and effort to do all that we have done – but it is wonderful to see our children returning to the island to live and work and the worldwide interest in all that our community has accomplished.”

Linsay Chalmers, Development Manager, Community Land Scotland, said: ‘In 1997 their situation was dire and the people of Eigg felt they had no choice but to buy the island. But they quickly demonstrated what can be achieved when a community owns its land and controls its own destiny.

“Not only have they inspired hundreds of communities across Scotland to buy land and buildings over the past 25 years, but their reputation has spread around the world.”

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “Eigg has been transformed since the takeover. The population has increased by more than two-thirds and properties have been renovated, creating more job opportunities.

Eigg celebrated the birthday with a party and a ceilidh.

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