Weekly Update, 27th May 2013

Energy/ Business Services:

As reported last week I worked with partners from Highland Council, HIE, Energy North and Caithness Chamber to arrange a visit from representatives from National Grid. This week Mike Calviou and John Taylor from National Grid visited the area and met with a number of organisations, including North Highland College, Subsea 7, Meygen and SSE. As part of this visit Caithness Chamber and Energy North also hosted a supply chain event at T3UK. Thanks go out to all the organisations for giving up their time to highlight the area’s assets and capabilities, and to discuss relevant issues.

Marine Scotland will be holding a workshop and drop-in information session in Thurso on Thursday 4th July to further inform communities and stakeholders of progress with the Marine Spatial Plan for the Pentland Firth & Orkney Waters. The Marine Scotland team has worked closely with Highland Council, Orkney Islands Council and others to draft a Planning Issues and Options Consultation Paper, along with an accompanying Environmental Report, to consult stakeholders on proposed key themes and policy options for the pilot marine spatial plan. The consultation workshop will run from 10am-4pm on the 4th in the Pentland Hotel, Thurso. To book a place at the event please contact PFOWmarinespatialplan@scotland.gsi.gov.uk (01224 295573). The drop-in session will run from 5.30-8.30pm in the same venue. The consultation paper will be available from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Consultations/Current from the 17th June until 26th July 2013. I will mention this again once the documents are on the website.

Enabling activities:

As part of an ongoing effort to reach influencers in key business sectors and economic zones several representatives from the area were in London this week at an event held to raise awareness of the Caithness and North Sutherland area as a place to do business. Roger Hardy delivered the keynote address at the event, which was sponsored by Babcock International with support from Highland Council and HIE. Strong and positive contributions were made by John Thurso MP, Leader of the Highland Council Cllr Drew Hendry, CNSRP Chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver and Subsea 7’s Willie Watt. The strong message that the north provides attractive business opportunities was well received, and several useful follow-up contacts will be made as a result.

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: