Highlands & Islands

Community buyout suggested of 120,000 acres in Lochaber

Part of the hydro and smelting complex Image copyright Phillip Williams/Geograph

A community buyout has been proposed of 120,000 acres in Lochaber owned by aluminium smelter operator Rio Tinto.

East Lochaber and Laggan Community Trust has been set up to explore the potential of taking over the land near the Fort William smelter.

The buyout project does not include the smelter, but if the plant and land were to be sold together ELLCT would need partners to take over the smelter.

Rio Tinto has been reviewing its operations in Scotland.

As well as the 120,000 acres and smelter, the Australian-based company has two large hydro electric schemes.

The community trust said the final word on the future of the plant and land rested with the company, but added that it wanted to explore the option of a community buyout of its estates.

If the land purchase was to go ahead it would be the largest of its kind in Scotland.

To help it look into this idea, the trust is holding a series of public meetings to encourage people to become members of the trust.

The organisation's area covers the community council areas of Laggan, Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Achnacarry, Inverlochy and Torlundy, Caol, Kilmallie, Fort William, Nether Lochaber, Glencoe and Glen Etive and also Kinlochleven.

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