Uninhabited island gets £50,000 loo

Stat of the day: £50,000. The amount being flushed down the proverbial on a project to stick an eco-toilet on Handa island, three miles off the north-west coast of Sunderland.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The toilet will be crafted from from steel and given foundations seven feet deep to withstand strong winds and harsh weather. It took two landing craft several attempts to land the special materials on the island and five men will toil for six days to build the thing.

It will cater for the needs of Handa’s visiting bird-watchers and nature-lovers, who previously had to make do with a single septic tank privvy. With 6,000 visitors every year, MT imagines the queues must have stretched all around the coast...

In the summer months, these nature enthusiasts come to observe the sea life: over 100,000 seabirds breed on the island. But from September till March, the island is completely uninhabited, so the toilet will languish, unused and unloved.

Nevertheless, Handa ranger Phil Knott is very relieved at the toilet's arrival: 'It is an eco facility, with a turf roof and eco-friendly cleaning products,' he says, adding with feeling, 'This has been needed for a long time.'

The loo is being paid for by the Scottish Government, Highland Council and several private sources. Well, MT has heard of spending a penny, but five million pennies...?

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