Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
23rd May 2014
Week Commencing 19th May 2014
Energy & Business Services:
Two welcome pieces of news for the local economy this week. Firstly Subsea 7 has announced a major new £270 million contract to build a pipeline for Premier Oil to service its oil field east of Aberdeen. The 60km pipeline will be fabricated at Subsea 7’s Wester site, using its 7km rail tracks. The company has recently invested in new multi-million pound infrastructure at the northern end of its railtracks, and the Premier Oil contract is expected to provide work for 130-140 staff at Wester until at least 2016, with a further 100 jobs in the local supply chain. It’s another great success for Willie Watt and his colleagues, reinforcing Subsea 7’s important economic value to Caithness, and highlighting again the area’s capabilities in the energy sector.
Second piece of good news this week comes from John Gunn & Sons, who have been awarded a £1M contract associated with the development of the Strathy North windfarm in North Sutherland. The contract, awarded by RJ Macleod as main contractor to SSE Renewables, will see Gunn’s utilising their quarry in Melvich, thus bringing both job security to existing staff and creating new jobs. As reported last week, SSE’s “Open 4 Business” web portal – supported by CNSRP partners HIE and Highland Council - offers local companies a route into contract opportunities.
There was a local presence at this week’s All-Energy Conference & Exhibition in Aberdeen. CNSRP partners have taken a lead role in facilitating this: HIE’s Energy Pavilion was once again a focal point for representatives from across the Highlands & Islands, and several Caithness companies had a presence on the Highland Council-led “Enterprising Highland” stand. Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s Invest Caithness presence attracted a number of enquiries, including one from a Conference delegate considering relocating to Caithness. HIE’s local inward investment team were also in Aberdeen for a series of meetings with companies as part of our ongoing programme of inward investment activity.
Next week will see an event to highlight the value of North Highland Regeneration Fund, the loan fund established with financial support from CNSRP partner the NDA. The fund has supported a number of businesses since its inception, injecting over £1.5M in loan funding. The Fund remains open to businesses in the north Highlands with loans of between £5,000 and £50,000. The Fund is managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce. The Fund’s new brand identity is on its website. www.nhrf.co.uk/
As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP's partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:
· Good to see Catriona Metcalf’s article on KP Technology in today’s John O’Groat Journal. I met KP Technology staff at a recent event held by HIE, and heard of the exciting work going on at the company’s Wick base with a team of dynamic individuals. The company manufactures Kelvin Probes and exports them to countries around the world.
Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership
Highland Council Offices, Rotterdam Street, Thurso KW14 8AB
Tel: 01847 805520
Mob: 07717 694055
Week commencing 25 September 2017 Tourism, Food and Drink: · Last weekend saw the staging of the annual "Taste North" event organised at Ackergill Tower by Venture North with support from a range of organisations including CNSRP partner the NDA. Despite the less than ideal weather, the event attracted a record number of visitors (around 1,000), and a range of food, drink and tourism companies from across the north, and featured a range of activities and demonstrations, including masterclasses with renowned chef Nick Nairn.
Week commencing 11 September 2017 Energy & business services: The UK Government's department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this week announced its latest round of awards through the "Contracts for Difference" mechanism, in which there was mixed news for area projects. The Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) development consented for the Moray Firth - received an award, whilst the MeyGen tidal energy project did not.
Week Commencing 4 September 2017 Enabling Activities: As I highlighted last week CNSRP partners Highland Council and NDA have supported Scottish Government to carry out investigation work into the improvement of the A9 Trunk Road at Berriedale Braes, which aims to improve the notorious hairpin bend. The notice, which outlines construction costs of approximately £9 million, invites prospective bidders to formally apply to participate in the procurement to construct major improvements to this important route.
Week Commencing 14th August 2017 Energy & business services: Caithness Chamber of Commerce this week ran an event sponsored by CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The main speaker was Bill Cattanach of the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), with introductory presentations by myself and Sandy Mackie of Scrabster Harbour Trust.
Weeks commening 31st July and 7th August Energy & business services: As I highlighted recently, the company behind the proposed floating offshore windfarm demonstrator off the coast near Dounreay recently went into into administration. Administrators French Duncan have opened a "data room" for potential buyers.
Week commencing 26 June 2017. Energy & business services: I met Louise Smith of Caithness Renewables last week, and heard about her current role as an adviser to the "Resource Efficient Scotland" programme being run by Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of Scottish Government.
Update Week commencing 19 June 2017 Tourism Food & Drink: · CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) this week published a baseline report on the economic impact of the North Coast 500 route which covers the whole of the north mainland. The report highlights the impact of the route's global profile, and suggests that 200 new jobs could be created as a result.
Week commencing 12th June 2017. Energy & business services: The offshore construction phase of the Caithness- Moray programme to enhance the north's electricity distribution grid has reached a significant milestone with the laying of the first sections of the subsea cable across the Moray Firth.
Following the end of the two recent election periods, congratulations to all our new and returning Highland Councillors, and to our new MP. This is a short message to update you on activities relating to the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP) during the two election periods.
Week 27 March 2017 Energy & business services: Following last week's news that it has received consent from Scottish Government for its proposed Dounreay Tri floating offshore wind project off the north Caithness coast, this week Hexicon has announced a €45 million funding boost which will allow it to begin construction on the project. http://renews.biz/106475/hexicon-swells-dounreay-coffers/ The offshore construction phase of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project also progresses, with the arrival off Caithness of the huge vessel Stanislav Yudin.
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