The UK’s largest regional airline, Loganair, has given out £30,000 to organisations across Scotland in support of local renewable energy projects as part of its Greenskies Community Fund.
The grants will allow six organisations to establish projects such as small-scale wind systems, solar panels, small-scale hydro power, and charging point stations for electric vehicles.
The airline announced the initiative last year in line with its GreenSkies environmental programme – Loganair’s commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2040.
The airline previously started that its Community Fund would be released in three instalments of £10,000, with applicants able to access a maximum grant of £5,000 per project, however after being inundated with interest, it decided to change the framework and award the full £30,000 after the first call for applications.
Now, organisations across Scotland are set to benefit from the funding with six set to receive £5,000, in line with application requirements.
Based on the Isle of Lewis, Macaulay College, a not-for-profit community interest company which supports adults and young people with additional social and educational requirements, is set to use the £5,000 grant from Loganair to invest in solar panels. The airline’s charity partner, Children’s Hospices Across Scotland, is also among successful applications and will use the funds for charging points for electric vehicles at its Robin House site in Balloch, where it will charge its electric vehicles for transporting families to and from the house.
The other organisations set to benefit from the scheme are based across the Highlands and Islands and include the Islay Development Initiative, a socio-environmental charity operating across Islay and Jura, Haroldswick Methodist Church on the Isle of Uist, Auld Skule, a recycling unit in Shetland, and Eday Community Enterprises, a community-run shop in Orkney. Each of the successful applicants will use the funding for renewable energy schemes.
Due to the success of the GreenSkies Community Fund, Loganair is looking to launch a further round of funding later this year.
Rami Okasha, CEO of CHAS, said: “We are incredibly proud and privileged to have received this grant. The Greenskies Community Fund is something we are very much behind and we commend Loganair’s commitment to becoming fully carbon neutral by 2040.
“Being able to use this money to invest in charging points for electric vehicles will make a real difference to the children and families we support across the whole country and allow them to access our hospice facilities with ease.”
Jo-Ann Smith, development worker at Macaulay College, said: “We are delighted to receive this incredible grant from Loganair. Having solar panels on the college’s south facing roof is a long-term goal we have had that is part of our overall commitment to Net Zero.
“The students had a great time giving Jonathan Hinkles a tour of the farm, chatting about the college and sharing gardening tips over tea and cake.”
Jonathan Hinkles, CEO, Loganair, said: “It is incredibly important to us that, along with our own efforts, we encourage and support organisations across the country to initiate their own renewables projects.
“Our Greenskies Community Fund is supporting six different initiatives that will not only tackle carbon emissions but also benefit communities by providing power that reduces energy bills. These projects are leading the way within their local communities and we are thrilled to help enable these efforts.”
Loganair’s GreenSkies programme was launched in July 2021 with the introduction of a mandatory £1 carbon offsetting charge levied on all flights, with the money invested in accredited offsetting schemes.
The airline is involved in a wide range of additional initiatives to manage and mitigate the environmental impact of flying and is the only UK regional carrier participating in the UK Government’s “Jet Zero Council” initiative – launched by the Prime Minister last summer – to de-carbonise air travel. Its involvement recognises a significant programme which has now been ongoing for almost three years to enhance the airline’s environmental performance and work on projects to de-carbonise flying.
Loganair is also an active partner in four Future Flight and ATI projects to design, test and certificate new technology for use in the regional airline sector. These are Project Fresson, led by Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, to convert the Britten-Norman Islander aircraft used on the Orkney inter-isles air services to hydrogen fuel-cell power; Project HEART involving the ZeroAvia hydrogen powered aircraft development; and Project 2Zero and SATE involving the Ampaire electrical powered aircraft programme.
Trials of Ampaire’s electric battery aircraft took place between Wick and Kirkwall, Loganair’s Orkney base, in August last year, with the support of Loganair pilots and engineers.