A HIGHLAND community has today opened an eco power scheme understood to be the biggest of its kind in the UK.

The renewables boost will help make the Morvern peninsula a more sustainable place to live, organisers say.

The £6.5 million Barr Hydron Scheme uses the flowing waters of Lochaber's River Barr to create electricity.

With a 1.6 megawatt capacity, it's understood to be the largest community-owned hydro project in the UK and was today opened by Ardnamurchan High School pupil Isla MacKechnie.

Cited near Loch Teacuis, the high-head scheme should run for around 50 years and was spearheaded by the Morvern Community Development Company (MCDC).

The National:

Its subsidiary MorVolts Ltd will now run the facility. MCDC's Lilia Dobrokhodova said the team is "proud to have delivered such a large and complex project".

She went on: "Morvern is a delightful place to live and work but it faces challenges to maintain a sustainable community in a remote rural location. MCDC has a strong track record in creating and delivering local infrastructure projects.

"The Morvern community is currently developing a community plan and the income from the scheme will be an important source of investment into the delivering its local development priorities.

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"The achievements in Morvern are impressive. None of these would have happened without the thousands of hours of volunteer effort given by members of the local community."

Attending the opening, local MSP Kate Forbes said: "The opening of the UK’s largest community-owned hydro is the culmination of years of hard work and the Morvern community are to be heartily congratulated for their efforts.

“This shows what enterprising and resilient West Highland communities can achieve, and income from the hydro will now become an important source for investment into other local development priorities.”