Initiative to back projects

£209m helps strengthen hands across the Irish Sea

Keith Brown 2More than £200 million in European funds has been made available to strengthen cross-border links between western Scotland, Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.

A programme backed by £209m will fund projects in areas such as environmental protection, business research and innovation, the provision of healthcare solutions and sustainable transport until 2020.

The first round of the project in 2007 delivered the IBIS project, a world-class research and training facility at Loch Lomond.

On Friday Scottish Secretary for Infrastructure and Investment, Keith Brown, joined Northern Ireland Finance Minister Mervyn Storey and Ireland Finance Minister Brendan Howlin at an event in Belfast to mark the launch of the INTERREG VA initiative.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Brown said: “I look forward to seeing people and communities in Western Scotland sharing in the benefits being delivered to all three regions.

“This huge investment will help projects delivering healthcare, transport, environmental benefits and wider innovation, strengthening our already good cross-border links with Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.

“Funding such as this also demonstrates quite clearly how communities in Scotland gain from being an active part of the European Union.

>>  A £14 million fund will allow councils across Scotland to make homes, public buildings and businesses more energy efficient, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil announced.

Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) will help improve warmth in buildings and homes, drive down energy bills and work towards reaching climate change targets. The fund will help local authorities to pilot new and innovative approaches to energy efficiency with community groups and businesses, which can then be taken forward when SEEP is rolled out fully from 2018.

Mr Neil said: “Over 900,000 energy efficiency measures have been carried out across homes in Scotland since 2008. SEEP will work with businesses and the commercial sector to see how we can achieve similar successes. This pilot phase will allow councils to test the effectiveness of new approaches to energy efficiency.

“The pilot projects will integrate support across various building types, to evaluate the impact of innovative approaches to funding and delivery, and to test the market appetite for energy efficiency investments in the commercial sector.”

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