Chancellor’s Budget boost for Hebridean ‘Green’ Grand Prix

After the Arctic X-Prix , Greenland. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

The UK Government is to invest £1million in a proposed off-road race in the Outer Hebrides in 2022.

The announcement today in today’s Budget follows discussions with the UK Government, the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and other key stakeholders over several months.

Extreme E is a FIA-sanctioned, international off-road racing series that uses electric SUVs to race in remote parts of the world, to highlight the climate challenges faced by different ecosystems.

Formula One World Champions Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button each have their own teams, and all Extreme E teams feature both a male and female driver in a bid for gender equality.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said: “Today’s announcement by UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is a ringing endorsement of the climate ambitions of the Outer Hebrides. This is extremely good news for our communities as we seek to position ourselves as Low Carbon islands. 

“COP26 in Glasgow will soon set the global decarbonisation agenda and, as host for the Scottish round of Zero Carbon race series, Extreme E, the Outer Hebrides will again be punching above its weight in climate terms.

“It is particularly fitting that an island group on the Atlantic frontier with the most to lose from Climate Change in terms of extreme weather events and rising sea levels has been selected to host this race and Extreme E principles fit well with our aspirations to rapidly decarbonise our island society and economy. 

“One of these principles is the ‘race without a trace’ concept and we will now work closely with Extreme E, environmental agencies and the community at the race location to ensure only positive impacts for the community and the planet and we will ensure that the legacy benefits of this event spread to other island communities from the Butt to Barra.”

Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E said: “We are thrilled with this investment and to be exploring racing in Scotland in 2022.

“It is a fitting location off the back of COP26, which will be held in Glasgow imminently, and will allow the conversation on electric mobility and the climate emergency to continue further, inspiring action and highlighting various solutions and mitigation strategies.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the UK Government, the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and other key stakeholders as we continue discussions for a Scottish event.”