Other Public Services News
A report issued this week outlines how Caithness and North Sutherland businesses could benefit from working more closely together to create an area wide tourism identity. Following widespread consultation involving tourism providers and visitors, analysis by the Tourism Resource Company (TRC) which was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to support regional growth, outlines growing markets and points out that many operators displaying individual strengths could come together to support the region.
NDA to seek views on removal of fuel from Dounreay. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is to publish a report about the proposed removal of its nuclear fuel from Dounreay and wants to hear the views of the public.
Week commencing 6th June: Energy: Meygen, the company behind the proposed 400MW tidal energy site between Stroma and the Caithness coast, has begun its consenting phase of work. I met with Meygen's Environment & Consents Manager, who has been helped this week by colleagues at DSRL to circulate information on the company's forthcoming public open days to gather comments on environmental impacts that might arise from the development.
Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP) Business and community leaders heard an upbeat assessment of future prospects for the north as senior partners in Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP) met last week in Wick with members of the Partnership's Advisory Board to discuss current issues. Following the meeting, CNSRP Chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver said "This was a particularly good time for our joint meeting as we were able to reflect on the three-year plan we set out in 2007 and to look forward to our current plan for the period 2011-2014.
A number of ambitious Caithness companies are heading to Aberdeen this week to target new business at the UK's largest renewable energy event. The All-Energy Exhibition & Conference this year has attracted over 500 exhibitors from 20 countries across the world.
Bosses at Dounreay agreed that they won't now be spending £500,000 on a repaint of the sphere. They money saved will go instead towards actual decommissioning work.
Getting rid of Britain's 20th century experiment with fast breeder nuclear reactors is illuminating the history of human settlement on Scotland's north coast stretching back 6000 years. Archaeologists hired as part of the closure of the nuclear site at Dounreay have pieced together the legacy left by previous generations who occupied the site as long ago as 4000BC.
The clearance of tens of thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste from the redundant nuclear site at Dounreay today moved a step closer. Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd announced the formal award of a contract to develop a disposal site for low-level waste from the decommissioning and closure of the site.
Cash from the closure of the fast reactor site at Dounreay is set to breed a new generation of engineers and scientists in the Scottish Highlands. The money from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority will fund half the cost of a £50,000 project to increase the number of school-leavers skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has published the latest edition of the UK's radioactive waste inventory. This sets out the type and volumes of radioactive waste at sites such as Dounreay, as of April 1, 2010.
Business Services: I will be coordinating a meeting this week with representatives from the Pensions Administration Office to update local stakeholders on plans to move the PAO's base from Thurso to the Forss Business & Technology Park. The work done by staff at the PAO is a good example of the type of high-quality employment we would like to encourage as part of the economic transition process taking place over the coming months and years.
Week commencing 14th March: Energy: Following discussions at the CNSRP Executive Board about the value of pursuing additional mechanisms to encourage inward investment into the area, CNSRP Chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver has this week written to Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, to ask for support in making Caithness and North Sutherland one of the 10 Enterprise Zones announced by the coalition UK Government. Copies of the letter have also been sent to Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) and Michael Moore MP (Secretary of State for Scotland).
Week commencing 7th March Programme activities: Energy: Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore MP was asked by John Thurso MP during Scottish Questions at Westminster this week to support his calls for Caithness to become one of the UK's first Marine Energy Parks. The coalition Government announced this idea recently, and there is a desire in the area to take the idea forward as a means of further emphasising the Pentland Firth's role as the UK hub of marine energy development.
Programme activities: Energy: I continue to discuss ways in which the area's assets can be maximised in relation to the marine energy sector. This week discussions have taken place with Highland Council and HIE staff regarding how we might approach Government to make the case for some form of enterprise zone status for the area, and also to take forward proposals to combine existing financial resources within CNSRP partners to provide an even more attractive package for potential investors.
From Eann Sinclair Week commencing 14th February 2011 Programme activities: Now that we have agreed our priorities for the 2011-2014 period, work continues to implement the programme of delivery activities. This week I chaired the monthly meeting of the Partnership's Delivery Group, at which colleagues from HIE, Highland Council, DSRL and Caithness Chamber reported on progress with our two priority areas of energy and business services.
Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update Week commencing 7th February I brought together several local organisations currently working in the energy and renewable energy sector, along with Caithness Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the relative value of a more coherent local voice in the energy sector. Recent local comments on the effective roles played by Orkney Renewable Energy Forum and Shetland Renewable Energy Forum prompted the discussion, and we focused on how existing mechanisms might be used to better effect.
Weekly update, 24th January Week commencing 24th January I met with Caithness area Highland Councillors and HIE's Area Manager Roy Kirk to discuss the ongoing issues regarding the future of the tax office in Wick, which is scheduled for closure in 2012. HIE remains keen to incorporate the skills represented in the Wick office into its developing campaigns for inward investment in the priority "business services" sector.
Week commencing 17th January From Eann Sinclair - Programme Manage The Partnership's Delivery Group met this week, and discussed progress on our two priority areas of energy and business services. Roy Kirk, HIE's Area Manager reported progress in existing businesses and with targeted inward investment research and campaigns in specific areas of both energy and business services.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd has selected Graham Construction as its preferred bidder for the design and build of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility. The company has headquarters in County Down, Northern Ireland, and operates throughout Scotland from offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd wants to restore an area of land designated as a rubble dump during the construction and operation phases of the site. An estimated 70,000m3 of material from the construction and demolition of buildings was deposited in the area beyond the eastern perimeter of the site from 1960 or so.