THE Isle of Arran has become Scotland’s first community to become ‘plastic free’.

The island has been awarded Plastic Free Community status by the national marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS).

Arran’s campaign started in February 2018 by a group of island residents in response to the publicity about plastic waste in the sea.

The group ‘Think About Plastic – Arran’ (TAP-Arran) was formed to create a focus for the campaign’s work.

TAP-Arran pulled together key organisations and businesses on the island to put in place SAS’s five-point plan.

The objectives include; setting up a community led steering group, getting commitment from North Ayrshire Council, signing up local businesses, and reaching out to community groups and individuals to spread the word and minimise the amount of disposable plastics they use.

Helen How, Chair of TAP-Arran, said “We are delighted by the support we have experienced from residents and businesses.

“Everybody can take simple and effective action to minimise usage of single use plastic items.”

TAP has organised two events in the past year that highlighted the effects of plastic waste on marine life. There was also an Arran-wide beach clean in the autumn.

Helen added: “Having gained this accreditation from SAS, we will continue to expand the campaigning to include more businesses and get the message out to the many visitors Arran attracts.

“Arran’s residents are proud of their environment and we want everybody to know that we care and take positive action to protect where we live”

Arran-based councillors Timothy Billings and Ellen McMaster said: “North Ayrshire Council is committed to minimising the use of single use plastic and recognises TAP-Arran as an important ally in this work. We are delighted that TAP has gained this accreditation for Arran.”