Bute Community Land Company

Bute Community Land Company is a locally controlled and managed charitable organisation with over 400 members. In 2009, 93% of 2739 people (52% of the eligible population) voted in favour of purchasing the forest at the north end of the island. They wanted to see new jobs created and better recreational facilities developed for local people and to attract new visitors to the island. BCLC was formed to allow the community to purchase the forest and manage it as an asset for all.
The vision of Bute Community Land Company is for an island:

  • which is widely regarded as the best Scottish island in which to live, to work and to visit
  • with a strong, stable and prosperous community
  • which has access to excellent facilities and great communications with the mainland
  • which retains its special sense of beauty and remoteness

Bute Community Land Company created a subsidiary, Bute Forest Ltd, to manage the forest in 2010.

The current directors of BCLC are as follows:

Emma Cooper – Chair
Peter Vincent
Aidan Canavan
Rosemary Mulholland
Tony Carter
Ian Carmichael
Jim Mitchell
Director biographies

Emma Cooper – Chair

Emma has been the National Coordinator of the Scottish Rural Parliament since 2014. She has held senior management posts in the third sector for over ten years. Her specific interests are in land, health, education, democracy and economics. She is a resident on the Isle of Bute in  where her partner runs a small business. Emma has a (very) smallholding and is actively involved in a number of local projects, including Rothesay Pavilion, ButeFest and Bute Community Land Company. Emma has a BSc in Applied Psychology and a Master in Public Administration and is a member of ACOSVO. In previous roles, Emma has been responsible for managing an outdoor pursuits charity with 10+ employees where she increased the income from trading from 30% to 65% of turnover as well as increasing turnover itself by 20%, an ancient woodland recreational facility, large youth projects, and has a long-history of successful fundraising from grants and sponsorship.


Peter Vincent – Director

I am a qualified Mechanical and Industrial Engineer. I have been running my own specialist manufacturing business in the South of England for 50 years. We employ over 40 staff, so I am familiar with employee legislation and business management.

We moved to Bute in 2007, and feel passionately about the potential of the island. Although I am still working full time and only spend approximately 50% of my time here, I have been involved in the BCLC project as a director since its early days.

Following the recent loss of our chairman I have taken on the lead role in dealing with Architect, QS and Planning people, and will continue with this role.

Leisure and Tourism are the principal job and wealth creation options for Bute, and this is a project with great potential.


Aidan Canavan – Director

Aidan was a biology teacher at a secondary school on the mainland until two years ago, when he opened the island’s brewery, Bute Brew, which now employs two people and is seeking larger operating premises. Aidan has two young children and was the founder of the island’s music festival, ButeFest, which attracts 1000 visitors to the island each year.


Tony Carter – Director

Tony is a member of Reforesting Scotland and Trees For Life which are both Sottish woodland/forest organisations and a member of Bute Natural History Society and Bute Ramblers.  He hopes that his enthusiasm and varied contacts will help bring varied interests to the BCLC projects. Tony has held a number of positions over the years, including caring roles for people with dementia and learning disabilities, shop-keeper, and maintenance engineer.


Rosemary Mulholland

Rosemary is a ‘Brandane’, born and raised on the Isle of Bute. She has experience in catering, having run a Chinese restaurant for a number of years. Rosemary is now retired and holds active roles in the Speakers Club and Bute Player.


Jim Mitchell

Jim is an industrial heritage engineer and until recently was the owner of a large company which specialised in advising on and conserving the engineered heritage, including: wind and watermills, steam and other engines, locomotives, ships, Ornamental iron structures, iron fountains, steel and iron buildings, bridges & cranes, timber structures, mining and other historic industrial machinery, object moving and storage. He is now semi-retired, consulting on a number of projects of particular interest to himself, and has been involved in BCLC since the early days.


Ian Carmichael

Ian is an engineer by trade and specialises in ‘keeping anything running’, as long as its of a mechanical nature. Ian is retired but has been very active and onvolved in BCLC for a number of years, particulary in regards to the forestry and business side of activities.