Weekly update, 26th November

Energy:
The Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters Leadership Forum’s Wave & Tidal Information Day took place in Thurso and Kirkwall this week. The event had displays and staff from Meygen, Scottish Power Renewables, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd, National Grid, Marine Scotland, The Crown Estate, HIE, Highland Council, Business Gateway, Skills Development Scotland, Caithness Chamber of Commerce, Scrabster Harbour Trust, Wick Harbour Authority, Energy North, North Highland College, the Environmental Research Institute and the European Marine Energy Centre. A wide range of local people visited during the day, including a number of students from local high schools involved in the Dounreay and HIE funded project to boost the teaching and learning of STEM subjects, all of whom showed great interest in developments. Many thanks to Stuart Tait, David Charnley and colleagues for making sure the pupils were able to attend. CNSRP’s Chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver provided a short press comment on the day and it can be viewed at http://www.cnsrp.org.uk/2012/11/29/pentland-firth-orkney-waters-leadership-forum-information-day-28th-november/ Scrabster Harbour Trust’s Manager and Chairman are also featured in an interview in this week’s local press talking about progress at the harbour, and the interest being shown in the facilities by energy sector companies. http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Harbour-operators-eye-new-business-27112012.htm

Enabling Activities:
The Socio-economic pages of the Dounreay website have been refreshed, and now contain data on the staffing profiles on site and for the remaining years of the decommissioning programme. Data is broken down by age, job type and skills. Log on to http://www.dounreay.com/site-closure/socio-economics/workforce-transition/skills for more detail.

Communications:
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:

  • The Partnership’s Advisory Board met this week. The Board brings together Highland and Community Councillors, MP and MSP, Chamber of Commerce, Dounreay Stakeholder Group, DSRL, North Highland College, Trades Unions and public bodies such as SNH and Job Centre Plus with CNSRP partners HIE, Highland Council, NDA and Skills Development Scotland. Members provide advice and comment on the CNSRP Delivery programme, and discuss a range of current issues such as inward investment activities. This week members also heard a presentation from Ignis Energy on the company’s development plans for the Combined Heat & Power plant in Wick, and an update from The Crown Estate on progress with marine energy activities. The members agreed that the development of opportunities to bring people into focused apprenticeships was a key priority, and I have in turn agreed to work with partners and local businesses to move this forward. It will also be highlighted at the forthcoming meeting of the Partnership’s Executive Board.
  • As in previous years CNSRP will – thanks to colleagues at Dounreay – be staffing the Dounreay.com office in Thurso pedestrian precinct tomorrow (Saturday 1st December) as part of the Thurso Christmas Fun Day. The office will be manned from 12pm til 4pm by members of the Partnership’s Delivery Group, and we will have a range of information on current and planned activities. If you are in Thurso tomorrow it would be great to see you!
  • The mobile broadband provider Three has announced that communities and businesses in North Sutherland will benefit from its Rural Broadband Working Group’s initiative to provide mobile broadband coverage to areas where more traditional coverage is difficult or absent. Melvich and Durness are the two communities to benefit in north Sutherland. Coverage of the news in the John O’ Groat Journal includes comment from John Thurso MP and from Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.  http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Broadband-goes-mobile-in-north-rural-not-spots-26112012.htm