Passenger numbers at airports in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland have increased by 7% in the past 12 months to a record total of 1,232,782. Figures released today by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited show that an additional 80,000 passengers have used its 10 airports in the year to 31 March 2007 compared to the previous operating year making it the sixth consecutive year of passenger growth.
Caithness and sutherland unemploment fell as at March 2007 to 722 claimants for benefit with the percentage dropping for unemployment benfit claimants by 3% between Feb 07 and March 07. The precentage drop between March 06 and March 07 was 11.6%.
Farmers are going to be increasingly dependent upon irrigation to grow their crops along the east coast according to climate change predictions. Some east coast rivers are already over-abstracted and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is concerned that water may run out in some of the small burns which farmers depend on if the current dry weather continues.
Caithness Horizons, the new visitor attraction and community facility that will be housed in the refurbished Thurso Town Hall and Carnegie Library, made its first appearance to the travel trade at Expo 2007 in Edinburgh and received a welcome level of interest from potential buyers. The Centre, which will become the hub for the area and act as a signpost for the many attractions and sites of interest in Caithness, attracted the attention of UK and overseas-based tour operators - as well as the media - who were all interested in receiving a special preview of the project.
An exciting new business venture is set to open up opportunities for craft people in High Street, Wick. "Made In Caithness" is a new shop given entirely over to high quality craft items.
Today (1 May 2007) marks the first anniversary of the introduction of the digital tachograph to all new commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes registered in the United Kingdom. Since 1 May 2006 some 40,000 new lorries have all been required to fit and use the new technology following almost 25 years of the analogue tachograph since its progressive introduction in the early 1980s.
Inver House Distillers and North Highland Products launched the first ever North Highland Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Barrogill, as part of the prestigious Mey Selections range of food and drink products, at the Castle of Mey in Caithness today. Mey Selections Barrogill Blended Malt Scotch Whisky takes its name from the history and heritage of the Castle of Mey, the most northerly castle on the Scottish mainland just a few miles from John o'Groats.
PUBLIC RESPONDS TO PARTICLES CONSULTATION The second stage of consultation on the options for dealing with radioactive particles in the marine environment has come to a close. The consultation focussed on the relative importance of the criteria used to assess the 11 combined options identified by a scoring panel as most likely to succeed following the first round of consultation.
The NDA North Highland Regeneration Fund Ltd., the loan fund company established by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to help entrepreneurs start up and grow in Caithness & Sutherland. Since the start of the year five local firms in the Dounreay travel to work area have benefited from investment by the NDA North Highland Regeneration Fund.
EatScotland has declared, The Captains Galley will receive one of the first Silver Awards for high standards in Scottish dining. The announcement comes as part of the launch of the organisation's much-anticipated Silver & Gold Award Scheme, which promises to raise the bar in Scotland's eating out scene and boost perceptions of Scottish cuisine worldwide.
Public Urged To Be On Their Guard Against Romanian Street Traders Selling Fake Gold Jewellery The Highland Council's Trading Standards Unit and Northern Constabulary are urging the public to be on their guard against Romanian street traders who are operating in the Highlands. Trading Standards officers within the Council's TEC Services and Northern Constabulary have received complaints regarding street sellers approaching members of the public and businesses offering "fake" gold rings, chains and bracelets.
FIRST MINISTER'S MESSAGE FOR DOUNREAY STAFF Scotland's First Minister is urging Dounreay workers to secure their own future by demonstrating they are the best in the business at decommissioning. Writing exclusively in the latest edition of Dounreay News, Jack McConnell says a workforce that can decommission safely the fast reactor experiment is a workforce that will be in demand.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Executive today launched a consultation exercise in a bid to find out how the current regulations governing waste management could be improved. The Better Regulation of Waste initiative aims to determine if existing guidelines are effective and support Scotland's commitment to increase recycling rates and reduce the reliance on landfill.
A range of new services for people who have recently moved into the Highlands from other countries has won support from the European Social Fund (ESF). Highland Wellbeing Alliance, a partnership of public sector organisations in the area, has secured ESF funding worth £260,500 to back initiatives which will help the area's new residents with issues such as improving their English language skills, gaining employment and finding out how to access services and advice.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is calling on land managers throughout Scotland to ensure that they are not missing out on potential income opportunities from land designated as a nature conservation sites. Under SNH's Natural Care programme land managers can earn extra financial support by signing up to agreements to ensure these important sites will be maintained in the best condition possible.
The first wave energy device to generate electricity for the National Grid is back on site for a new test programme at the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney. Developed by Edinburgh-based Ocean Power Delivery, Pelamis can meet the energy needs of more than 500 homes and is already feeding electricity into the grid once again.
Master Photographers Association Awards Local photographer John Baikie has added some more awards to his collection. On Sunday he attended the Master Photographers Association Scottish Annual Awards Night in Edinburgh for the first time.
The country's enterprise agencies are inviting anyone involved in the Scottish music community to submit ideas about how they think the new Scottish Music Futures Fund should be invested. Last month, the Scottish Executive allocated £500,000 to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to set up a business development fund to help cultivate the music industry in Scotland - supporting the 'music stars of tomorrow'.
The second stage of consultation on the options for dealing with radioactive particles in the marine environment has come to a close. The consultation focussed on the relative importance of the criteria used to assess the 11 combined options identified by a scoring panel as most likely to succeed following the first round of consultation.
The process for the development of a new Highland Council office in Wick took a step further forward this week when members of the Council's Resources Committee agreed to ask four developers to submit outline solutions for the development to the Council. At the end of 2006 and early 2007 the Council advertised its requirements for a new office to provide accommodation for between 150 - 200 staff currently based in a number office buildings in Wick.