Christmas Update From Cnsrp - Week Commencing 19th December 2016
23rd December 2016
This is a short message to update you on activities relating to the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP).
Following last week's news that the Reporter appointed to lead the Public Local Inquiry (PLI) into the Berriedale Braes Improvement Scheme had recommended that the proposed Improvement Scheme should go ahead unamended, it was good to hear this week from Humza Yousaf MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands, that work will now be undertaken to progress the scheme through the remaining statutory processes. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-38390654 The news is also carried in today's (Friday’s) John O’Groat Journal, where senior reporter Gordon Calder highlights the Scottish Government’s statement that "the 2017/18 draft Budget statement confirmed that we will commence procurement of the A9 Berriedale Braes scheme in 2017/18, subject to satisfactory completion of statutory procedures." As I highlighted last week, the Berriedale improvements have been a part of the CNSRP Programme over a long period, and support in developing the plans for the scheme has come from CNSRP partners the NDA and Highland Council.
Also on the subject of transport connectivity, last week’s HITRANS event in Inverness on the subject of performance levels on the Far North Rail Line has produced a commitment from a number of the main relevant organisations to work together to make short and longer term improvements to the line. The Far North Line Review Group is set up by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing MSP, and brings together Network Rail, Abellio Scotrail, HITRANS and Friends of the Far North Line.
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.
In the final few days before Christmas CNSRP partners have been continuing discussions on the content and shape of a future CNSRP programme. I chaired two meetings this week, at which we looked at opportunities for maximising economic benefits from the North Coast 500 tourism initiative, and at risks/ mitigations associated with future partnership activity. We will continue refining our plans over the coming weeks.
Best wishes for a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!
Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership
Tel: 01847 805211
Mob: 07717 694055
Week Commencing 6 February 2017. Enabling activities: The "Jobs and How to Get Them" event was held in Thurso last Saturday (see my online blog and https://www.facebook.com/caithnessjobs/ for event photos).
Week Commencing 16 January 2017. Energy & business services: Following last week's very welcome news that Highland Council has approved the application to redevelop harbour-side buildings in Wick as an Operations & Maintenance base for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) project comes the first visualisation of what the restored buildings will look like - for picture see the BOWL Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/beatricewind .
Week Commencing 12 December 2016 Energy & business services: Good to see news yesterday (Thursday) that the second phase of the Meygen project has reached financial closure, allowing construction to take place in the inner sound of the Pentland Firth in 2017. The project will be taken forward by Stroma Tidal Power Ltd, a wholly owned company of Atlantis Resources Ltd.
Energy & business services: I met this week with RES Offshore, who are working on the Dounreay Tri project, which is seeking consent to build a floating offshore wind demonstrator at a site north of Dounreay. Myself and Alan Ogg of North Highland College met with Senior Developer Jack Farnham to discuss the potential for jobs associated with the operation & maintenance of the project.
Week commencing 21 November 2016 Energy & business services: Representatives of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd were in Wick yesterday (Thursday 24th) to give a public update on progress with the project, and perhaps more specifically with plans to use Wick harbour as the Operations & Maintenance base for the project. The event was very busy, and it was great to be able to talk to key personnel involved in the project.
Week Commencing 5 November 2016 Energy & business services: · The vessel Olympic Ares arrived in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth this week to install the first of the turbines for the MeyGen tidal energy project. As previously highlighted here the turbine support structures and ballast blocks were successfully installed during October, bringing welcome work to the area through Scrabster harbour and local companies.
Week Commencing 31 October 2017 Enabling activities: Colleague Andrew Johnston, Director of the Highlands and Islands Science Skills Academy, was in Caithness this week, and it was good to catch up with him to discuss progress with the "Newton Rooms" concept, which has seen a network of facilities established in Norway to give practical, hands-on experiences of learning programmes in sciences. The development of the concept in the Highlands has been boosted by support through the Inverness City-Region Deal, and we believe that Caithness would make a fantastic first "Newton Room" venue in the Highland area.
Week Commencing 10 October 2016 Energy & Business Services: The Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project is one of the largest private sector investments in Scotland, and to illustrate the sheer scale of the work the consortium has produced a short animation, which is available to view at https://vimeo.com/186162042 Also this week, lead partner SSE has broken ground on the site in Moray where the subsea cable from the Beatrice turbines will connect into the National Grid, ready for the date in 2019 when the project will be operational. http://renews.biz/104493/sse-breaks-ground-for-beatrice/ Tourism, Food & Drink: Last weekend's spectacular weather helped another successful "Taste North" celebration of local produce from Caithness and Sutherland.
Week Commencing 3 October 2016 Energy & Business Services: Further contract awards for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) project this week, again associated with the construction phase of the project. http://renews.biz/104432/dutch-tool-up-for-beatrice/ and the planning application submitted to Highland Council by BOWL is also available to view on the Council's website at http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=ODFTGQIHJAO00 Good to see that the first foundation for the MeyGen tidal project was successfully installed in the Inner Sound of thePentland Firth overnight on Thursday/ Friday this week.
Week Commencing 26 September 2016 Energy & Business Services: Activity at Scrabster harbour has continued this week, as more ballast blocks are transported through Thurso from JGC Engineering Services Ltd’s base at Janetstown. These huge (c.
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