Recycling And Superfast Broadband In Scilly Could Be Priorities For New EU Cash

economic development eco dev signThe replacement for Scilly’s Local Action Group fund could be bigger and broader, with a focus on recycling and exploiting superfast broadband.

That’s the view of the Council’s Strategic Investment Manager, Diana Mompoloki, who says her team is about to launch a consultation with local businesses to see how up to £8m of European money should be spent.

€592 million of EU cash will be on offer for Cornwall and Scilly from 2014 to 2020 and the Local Enterprise Partnership will decide how it’s spent.

They’ve just submitted a plan to the government outlining their priorities for growth in the region.

Diana says Scilly is likely to get it’s own separate, community-led development fund.

It will continue some of the work started by LAG, but could have a wider remit.

Diana says that might include training locals to exploit big infrastructure projects like superfast broadband or creating new businesses opportunities for waste recycling.

There could also be cash to improve transport, both to the mainland and between the islands, and to encourage tourism by improving public spaces in Scilly.

Diana says the enhanced role for LAG will mean it’s likely to have to change its structure.

A report being written by consultant Brenda Graham, based on feedback from locals about the impact of LAG, will help shape what it will look like in the future.

Defra has given LAG £30,000 to employ a member of staff to close down the current fund and create a bid for the next round of money.

Diana says there’s still some work needed to gather the views of locals and that will take another 3-4 months.

It’s likely to be the end of 2014 before we hear how much cash has been awarded to the islands.