A COMMUNITY group has been given the green light to mount a £4.2 million bid to buy a Scottish island which has a population of just six, including two children.

Members of the North West Mull Community Woodland Company (NWMCWC) were delighted at the news, which was announced by Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham.

They said their right to buy Ulva and associated holdings at Ulva Ferry on Mull had now been “triggered”, which gives them until early June to put together a funding package to meet the price the independent valuer set in December.

NWMCWC director John Addy said: “We are obviously delighted at this news which sets Ulva on a path of social and economic rejuvenation including repopulation. We have drawn up an ambitious, but carefully phased business plan based on a detailed feasibility study carried out by respected independent consultants.

“The first priority once we have purchased the island will be to renovate the existing housing stock as quickly as possible and provide existing and future residents with security of tenure so that they can plan with confidence for their futures and those of their families.”

Colin Morrison, NWMCWC chairman, added: “We wish to acknowledge the very wide support we have received from the community and from a range of organisations and individuals who share our wish to see Ulva thrive again, this time with the people living on Ulva and Mull in the driving seat.

“A host of community organisations, businesses and individuals are supporting us, including Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT), Ulva School Community Association, Mull Fisherman’s Association, South West Mull and Iona Development, local fishermen and tourism businesses and so on.

“Also in favour are national organisations including Community Land Scotland, Rural Housing Scotland, The Woodland Trust Scotland, Community Woodlands Association Scotland and the Development Trusts Association Scotland.

“The buyout is also supported by our elected representatives at Westminster and Holyrood.”

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell said: “This is another helpful step forward and will allow the buyout team to develop the plans and projections on which the success of the enterprise needs to be based.

“I am confident that the economic potential of the island is great and that it can best be taken forward by local people with local priorities in mind.

“That is the whole ethos of community purchase and I want to see that succeed on Ulva.”

Cunningham said: “Congratulations to the North West Mull Community Woodland Company on receiving consent to proceed with the purchase of the Isle of Ulva, under community right to buy legislation. This means the community now has the opportunity to buy the island.

“If the community concludes the purchase, it will join previous successful community buyouts across rural and urban Scotland.

“The community right to buy, which we expanded through the Community Empowerment Act in 2015, is unlocking potential in communities throughout our country, giving local people a say in their future.”