Caithness And North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership Update
31st March 2017
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. Seaway Heavy Lifting is delivering this phase of work, and the vessel will join up with another travelling from the Arnish yard in the Western Isles, where the piles for the project are being fabricated. (see my online blog for images of the Stanislav Yutin)
Tourism, Food & Drink:
A number of local tourism businesses in Caithness came together this week in Thurso. The "Caithness Tourism Gathering 2017" was held under the auspices of the Caithness & Sutherland Visitor Attractions Group and Venture North, and attendees heard presentations from Wild Caithness, Venture North, North Coast 500 and Visitscotland. The event also provided a forum for businesses to meet and discuss current issues and opportunities. (see my online blog for photos). I also discussed this week with Highland Council colleagues issues of infrastructure around the North Coast 500 route - specifically signage.
A further sign of confidence in the area is the planning application submitted by Merlin Cinemas Ltd to increase the number of screens at its cinema in Thurso from two to five. You can see the related documentation at http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=ON7Z4HIHH0500
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:
I attended a meeting this week to review the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, following an independent review of the organisation carried out by David Collier of White Ox consulting. The report highlighted that the DSG remains probably the best performing site stakeholder groups in the NDA estate, and showed various examples of good practice. Attendees agreed that work will now be done to ensure that future DSG structures continue to complement the other groupings at work in the north. This is particularly useful as future structures for CNSRP are also being agreed, allowing clear roles and remits to be reinforced.
Good to hear that Scottish Ambulance Service has announced "significant additional investment" in ambulance services in Caithness. There has been much controversy over service provision, and has featured as a discussion point in Community Planning Partnership meetings over the last few months.so many people will look forward to hearing more about the detail of the investment. http://www.scottishambulance.com/NewsDesk/NewsItem.aspx?NewsID=200
Finally, as the pre-election period for the 2017 local council elections begins we were very sad to hear this week of the passing of John Rosie, the local member for Thurso on the Highland Council. John's decades of service to local government will be well known to many, and his tireless support for community organisations and social enterprises such as Ormlie Community Association have also been significant. His support for the work of CNSRP over the years has always been appreciated.
Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership
Tel: 01847 805211
Mob: 07717 694055
Week Commencing 20th March 2017 Energy & business services: Last week Swedish company Hexicon was given consent from Scottish Government for its Dounreay Tri floating offshore wind project. As previously highlighted here, the company has announced commitments to work with Scrabster Harbour Trust to establish an Operations & Maintenance base for the project, and with North Highland College UHI to establish apprenticeship training, should it reach financial closure.
Week Commencing 13th March 2017 Energy & business services: Delighted to see this week's news that Caithness firm GMR Henderson has been awarded work on the construction programme for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project's Operations & Maintenance base in Wick. The company, whose base is only about 100 metres away from the O&M site on the Wick harbourfront, will support the initial demolition and preparatory works.
Week Commencing 6 March 2017 Energy & business services: Atlantis Resources Ltd has this week announced that Phase 1A of the MeyGen project has been awarded full accreditation by Ofgem. Phase 1A is now an accredited 6MW tidal stream generating station and will receive 5 ROCS/MWh.
Week commencing 27 February 2017 Energy & business services: As the construction of the Operations and Maintenance base for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project gets closer to starting, the long-term staffing of the project is already being considered. Tier 1 contractor Siemens is inviting applications for apprenticeship programmes: the Siemens offer is for Advanced Apprenticeships in Mechatronic Maintenance (site based technician).
Week Commencing 20 February 2017 Energy & business services: At a meeting of the north Planning Applications Committee of Highland Council this week Councillors agreed to offer no objection to the application by Dounreay Tri Ltd to construct a floating offshore wind project at a site of the north coast of Caithness. The paper considered by Councillors is available to view here .
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 .
This is a short message to update you on activities relating to the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP). Enabling activities: 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.
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.
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