Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Caithness Councillors Unanimously Backs Business Case For Wick John OGroats Airport PSO

23rd October 2020

At the Caithness Area Committee on 22 October 2020 members unanimously confirmed their full support to the business case for Wick John O'Groats Airport to receive Public Service Obligation (PSO) status by putting forward a motion and reinforcing their commitment to working with stakeholders and partners to deliver this as a matter of urgency.

The motion lodged recognises the fundamental strategic importance of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the economy of the region, and the energy, business and tourism sectors in particular. The Committee is calling for the Council to identify financial support to secure the onward sustainability of the airport.

Motion - Caithness Area Committee recognises the fundamental strategic importance of Wick John O’Groats Airport to the economy of the region, and the energy, business and tourism sectors in particular. Caithness members confirm their full support for the Public Service Obligation and their commitment to working with stakeholders and partners to deliver this as a matter of urgency. Caithness Area Committee further calls on Highland Council to identify financial support to secure the onward sustainability of the Airport.

Chair of the Committee Councillor Nicola Sinclair spoke passionately about the strategic and critical role the airport plays. She said: "The motion sees us stand alongside our public and private sector partners in underlining the critical role of Wick John O’Groats Airport in the economy of Caithness and indeed Highland.

"Covid-19, has sadly provided the backdrop to the recent collapse first of our services to Edinburgh and then later our flights to Aberdeen. Nobody saw the pandemic coming but it’s fair to say that stakeholders were aware of the threat to the Airport for many months. We observed declining passenger numbers and issues with scheduling, reliability and affordability. It’s to their credit that Caithness Chamber of Commerce, CNSRP and other partners were drafting contingency plans as far back as April 2019 so the business case for a Public Service Obligation is ready to go forward. I want to emphasise that this is a business case and not an approach to the Scottish Government to bail out an unsustainable service. A PSO for Wick John O’Groats Airport is an investment in Caithness, in Highland and in our ambitions towards a greener economy.

“I believe that a PSO for Wick JOG Airport is crucial in our post-Dounreay economy. It is required throughout the decommissioning process and will be even more important in the diversification of the economy after Dounreay. It will support the development of onshore and offshore wind, wave and tidal opportunities in the Pentland, the significant redevelopment of our Harbours, the UK vertical launch space port, expanded manufacturing and equality of access to the central belt and beyond for our business sector."

Councillor Struan Mackie who seconded the motion emphasised his belief that the airport has a vital role to play post-Covid. He said: “I am delighted that this important motion has been passed unanimously by Caithness Committee. Wick John O’Groats Airport is of strategic importance to the Far North and I believe it will prove to be a key asset that will help deliver a post-COVID economic recovery for the region.

“Over the last number of months it has been refreshing to be part of a cross community campaign, with stakeholders, businesses groups and individuals all seeking a solution in resuming flights from Wick. After years of progressive market failure in providing regular and convenient services from the airport, it is clear that the public service obligation is the only option left on the table.

“The work undertaken by the Caithness Chamber of Commerce has made the very clear business case for re-establishing our air connections with Aberdeen and Edinburgh through a PSO. This motion is hopefully the first step in seeing this come to fruition and we now ask that both Scottish Government and the Highland Council can now take this forward by financially supporting the return scheduled air services to Wick John O’Groats."

In June the Leader of The Highland Council wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP, raising her deepest concerns over Eastern Airways decision to withdraw their Wick to Aberdeen Service and highlighted her support for the business case for a PSO that has been presented to Transport Scotland and which she has discussed previously with Mr Matheson.

The Highland Council will discuss the motion put forward by the Caithness Committee at a meeting of the Council on Thursday 29 October.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Last Chance To Have Your Say On Who Gets Priority For Social Rented Housing
Highland Housing Register Allocation Policy - Public Consultation There is still time to tell the Highland Housing Register landlords what you think about changes to the way that their houses are let and who gets priority.   The consultation has been extended to Monday 7 December The landlords contacted everyone who is on the Highland Housing Register re-housing list.  
New date for Highland Council By-electionThumbnail for article : New date for Highland Council By-election
The Highland Council has confirmed that a new date has been set for the Ward 12 - Aird and Loch Ness By-Election The original date of poll was Thursday 5 November but given the current public health advice applying in Scotland, the Returning Officer made the decision to postpone the by-election.   Under normal circumstances a by-election must be held within three months of the vacancy arising, however under the provisions of Section 70 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 the filling of the vacancy can be postponed where it is reasonable and appropriate to do so and a date should be fixed for the poll to be held as soon as it reasonably practicable.  
New licence fees for residential caravan sites in Highland
New fees for residential caravan site licence applications have been approved by The Highland Council's Communities and Place Committee.   The new fees are estimated to affect around 20 residential caravan sites in Highland region.  
Supporting exporting businesses for EU exit
A pricing regime has been agreed in Highland for the provision of Export Health Certificates which will be required by UK businesses from 1 January 2021 to export products of animal origin to the EU.   Chair of The Highland Council's Communities and Place Committee Cllr Allan Henderson welcomed the work carried out to date by Council officers in supporting exporting businesses to the EU, he said: "The Environmental Health Team has a very important role in providing certification for Highland businesses exporting animal products to the EU.  
Driving forward ‘greening' of compliant Council fleet
Highland Councillors have noted the scale of achievement by Council staff in meeting the Traffic Commissioner's compliance requirements for the local authority's fleet and welcomed a phased approach to the ‘greening’ of its vehicles.   Cllr Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council’s Communities and Place Committee said: "Maintaining a legally safe and compliant fleet of vehicles is essential and is no mean feat for an organisation the size of Highland Council.  
Council to consult on management rules for burial grounds and Inverness crematorium
The Highland Council is to consult on draft management rules for its 268 burial grounds across the region and crematorium located at Kilvean in Inverness.   The Council has a statutory duty to manage burials, oversee memorial safety and cremations for around 1500 burials and 1200 cremations each year.  
Temporary road closure - Girnigoe Street, Wick
Motorists are being advised by The Highland Council that there will be a temporary road closure to the section of the U3520 Girnigoe Street, closed between its junction with the U3547 Henrietta Street and its junction with U3523 Glamis Road, at 09:30 until 15:30 on Thursday 3 December 2020.   The closure has been made to allow KIER to carry out Iron work repairs.  
Business Restriction Grant Scheme Now Open To HotelsThumbnail for article : Business Restriction Grant Scheme Now Open To Hotels
The Highland Council has welcomed clarification from the Scottish Government that hotels are eligible for the Business Restriction Grant.   As hotel restaurants and bars follow the same rules as other restaurants and bars with last entry at 21:30 and closure by 22:30, they have now been included as eligible businesses to receive grant from this scheme.  
Councillors approve over £4.786 million investment in Inverness housing
Members of The Highland Council's City of Inverness Area Committee have today agreed a proposed £4,786,000 investment in council housing for 2021-22.   The one-year Inverness Area Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Capital Programme is part of the Highland wide HRA Capital Plan for 2021-22 which will see over £15m invested in improving the housing stock across the region.  
Leader Of The Council And Chair Of The Brexit Working Group Welcomed The Scottish Government's Position Paper On The Replacement For European Structural Investment Funds
The Leader of The Highland Council Margaret Davidson and Chair of the Brexit Working Group Jimmy Gray welcomed the Scottish Government's position paper on the replacement for European Structural Investment Funds.   This paper was as a result of a wide consultation process in which the Highlands & Islands made a significant contribution towards.