Advisory / Counseling Services News
Week commencing 20th June: Energy: DSRL and Caithness Chamber of Commerce hosted a visit to the area this week from Dan Mistry UKAEA Culham Division, who met with a range of local companies and organisations to inform them of potential supply chain opportunities in the international fusion research programmes. In our wash-up meeting with Dan after his two days in Caithness it was encouraging to hear his views on the area's engineering capabilities, and to have it confirmed that contracts in the fusion sector are within the engineering capabilities of area businesses.
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.
Thirty manufacturing projects delivered in the Highlands and Islands last year have helped generate £1.9 million in productivity. The figures are being released by the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) which works across the Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise areas.
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.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is taking the first steps towards implementing a transformational project which will deliver access to superfast broadband for homes and businesses across the Highlands and Islands over the next few years. The agency, working in partnership on the project with the UK Government Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the Scottish Government and local authorities, has launched a procurement process to appoint a suitably experienced partner to co-invest in the provision of Next Generation Broadband (NGB) services throughout the region.
The iconic John O'Groats hotel is set to have one final moment of glory before work begins to redevelop it as part of the regeneration of the well known tourist location later this year. It will form the centre piece of 'Transform', a weekend of community celebration at the start of July at John O'Groats featuring street art, video projections, ceramic firings, story-telling, and music.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has launched an initiative which will call on high profile leaders to promote the advantages of doing business in Caithness and North Sutherland. A number of top executives working across the UK, who already have business or personal connections with the area, have pledged their support as ambassadors to encourage new inward investment opportunities.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the community and economic development agency for north and west Scotland, is ramping up its drive to help the region become a world centre for the renewable energy industry. The development agency has created a new senior post to spearhead its efforts to capitalise on the region's natural resources and secure economic benefits which could be worth billions to Scotland's economy.
Pentland Energy Advice is holding a public meeting about its proposed expansion into car clubs. PEA is keen to gauge the level of public support to put in place a pool of cars for our community.
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.