Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
18th August 2017
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. As previously highlighted, CNSRP has identified West of Shetland oil & gas as an economic opportunity for the area, so it was very heartening to hear Bill's presentation support many of the points we have been making with regard to our unique combination of geographic proximity, cost-effective port facilities, responsive supply chain and mainland location. The OGA regulates the UK Oil & Gas industry, but Bill's important role is as Head of Supply Chain so the audience of local businesses was able to ask very useful questions about how best the opportunities from West of Shetland fields could be captured. More on the OGA is at https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/
Tourism, Food & Drink
· An interesting workshop for food & drink companies takes place in Inverness on 31st August. Titled "Make Innovation Happen for Food and Drink", the free event will focus on the new ‘Make Innovation Happen' service which provides a single access point for all innovation support to the Scottish food and drink industry. The service is delivered through a coalition of industry and key public sector bodies working together to drive innovation with £1.1m of funding from HIE and Scottish Enterprise. For further details of the speakers and specialists taking part, and to book a place, see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/make-innovation-happen-for-food-and-drink-tickets-36717779868
Following recent coverage of plans to develop town centre Wi-Fi across the north, it's good to see this week's confirmation that CNSRP partner Highland Council has agreed to support the installation of Wi-Fi in Wick, Thurso and 12 other towns in the Highlands. The rollout is based on a successful pilot in Inverness city centre, and will be funded through the Inverness City-Region Deal. http://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/10352/free_public_wi-fi_to_be_rolled-out_across_the_highlands
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:
After my mention last week of the visit to the area by the new Project Manager for the Highlands and Islands Science Skills Academy, it was good to see this week’s follow-up piece by Gordon Calder in the Caithness Courier, where both SSA Director Andrew Johnston and myself are quoted welcoming the fact that the first UK Newton Room will be on North Highland College’s Thurso campus (not online).
CNSRP partner Highland Council has advised that works to the B876 at Killimster Moss will begin at the end of this month, resulting in the closure of the road from 28th August to 30th September. The poor state of the road was identified as a key barrier by businesses and road users, and it is hoped that the closure will allow a solution to be put in place. http://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/10353/temporary_road_closure_killimster_moss_a876_reiss_%E2%80%93_castletown_road
Tonight (Friday 18th August 2017) I will be attending the latest meeting of the Caithness Community Planning Partnership in Castletown Drill Hall at 6pm. The Caithness CPP holds its meetings in public, and I will attend to offer input on the area economy. More on the CCPP is at http://www.highlandcpp.org.uk/caithness-community-partnership.html
Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership
Tel: 01847 805211
Mob: 07717 694055
Week Commencing 13 November 2017 Energy & business services: A reminder that SeaCat Services, the operators of the crew transfer vessels that will support both construction and operations work for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) project, will be running a recruitment event in Wick next week for those interested in working on the vessels. SeaCat are seeking suitably qualified candidates for roles such as Master, Mate and Deckhand, and will be hosting a drop-in session at Wick Job Centre, Girnigoe Street, Wick from 9am til 12pm on Thursday 23rd November.
Energy & business services: SeaCat Services, the operators of the crew transfer vessels that will support both construction and operations work for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) project, will be running a recruitment event in Wick for those interested in working on the vessels (see my blog for pictures of the SeaCat Intrepid already based in Wick). SeaCat are seeking suitably qualified candidates for roles such as Master, Mate and Deckhand, and will be hosting a drop-in session at Wick Job Centre, Girnigoe Street, Wick from 9am til 12pm on Thursday 23rd November.
Week commencing 30th October 2017 Energy & business services: The operators of the Moray (East) Offshore Windfarm development (also known as "Moray 1") have announced this week that MHI Vestas has been awarded the contract to supply and install up to one hundred 9.5MW turbines for the development. The Vestas brand will be familiar to many through its use in onshore wind turbines: as previously highlighted here, the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm consortium will be using Siemens turbines.
Weeks commencing 16th and 23rd October 2017. Energy & business services: It was great to be invited this week to take part in a visit to the area by Japanese nuclear industry and government representatives.
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.
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.
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