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Isles of Scilly planning to become UK's first low carbon community

The Scillies' remote location makes for an idyllic setting but also power issues. Photo: ITV West Country

The Isles of Scilly are taking part in a pioneering project to become the country's first low carbon community.

The islands have the highest level of fuel poverty in the UK.

A multi-million pound project will see the area become self sufficient for most of its energy needs by encouraging islanders to take up electric vehicles and solar panels.

The Scillies are connected to mainland power by a cable. Credit: ITV West Country

The isles' remote location means residents' fuel bills are among the highest in the UK.

The Scillies are reliant on the mainland for power.

The Isles of Scilly are connected to the mainland through Western Power distribution by a cable. You probably heard our cable broke earlier in the year and Western Power spent an awful lot of money fixing it and we were reliant on our large diesel power station on St. Mary's.

– Diana Mompoloki, Tresco Estate

To combat this, the islands are taking part in an £11m groundbreaking project to switch to locally generated power sources and lower their carbon footprint.

There are more than 1200 cars registered on St. Mary's and the off islands according to residents.

Residents say there are more than 1200 cars registered on the Scillies. Credit: ITV West Country

A fleet of electric cars has been used on the main island of St.Mary's for a number of years.

The council plans to expand the fleet across all of the islands.

It says the idea is that 40% of cars will either be low carbon or electric by 2025.

There are already pockets of solar power, including on the roof of the school on St.Mary's.

Solar power will be extended across all of the islands.

There's going to be a lot of solar power on buildings and what we call solar gardens, so sort of small solar farms, so they will be ground mounted mainly. Some will be on barn roofs and there'll be really nothing bigger than a tennis court and really low level.

– Cllr Jonathan Smith, Isles of Scilly Council
A fleet of electric cars has been used on St. Mary's for a number of years. Credit: ITV West Country

There has been a mixed reaction to the project among islanders.

Some people are hopeful it will bring great benefits to the islands while others question the electric cars because the islands have just seven miles of road.

It is hoped lessons learned on the Scillies will be the driving force for similar innovations on the mainland.