Weekly update, 3rd June 2013

Energy/ Business Services:

Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd, the partnership behind the planned offshore windfarm in the Moray Firth near the coast of Caithness and East Sutherland, has added some further data to its application to Marine Scotland for consent to build its development. If consented this could see up to 277 turbines sites in the Moray Firth, the closest of which would be around 8 miles from Wick. The additional data will be available to view at the Council offices in Wick, Helmsdale Service Point and Brora Library. Copies of the data are also available for a charge from beatriceoffshorewindfarm@sserenewables.com and any comments should be sent to Marine Scotland’s licensing team at Beatrice@scotland.gsi.gov.uk by 15th July. More background information on the project is available at http://www.sse.com/Beatrice/ProjectInformation See also below for an exhibition and education programme based on the offshore wind industry.

There are still some places available on the Caithness Chamber/ SSE “Meet the Buyer” event in Mackay’s Hotel, Wick next week. Over the next 10 years SSE expects to invest £5-10 billion in the Highlands and Islands, and the event is designed to raise awareness of contracting opportunities with the company and its supply chain through SSE’s Open4Business portal. SSE Tier 1 contractors RJ Macleod and BAM Nuttall will also be present at the event, which will run from 9am-5pm on Thursday 13th June. To book a place contact Caithness Chamber on 01847 890076 or info@caithnesschamber.com

Later this month HIE will be running information sessions on opportunities with major homeworking company Arise UK. More information on the events from skills@hient.co.uk and you can also sign up to the Skills Register at http://www.hient.co.uk/skillsregister where you will also find information, background reports and case studies on homeworking in the Highlands. The Arise UK events will be held in

  • Pulteneytown Peoples Project, Wick, Wednesday 26th June, 14.00
  • Dounreay.com, Thurso, Wednesday 26th June, 18.00
  • Royal Marine Hotel, Brora, Thursday 27th June, 09.30
  • Caithness Horizons, Thurso, Thursday 27th June, 14.00
  • Pulteneytown Peoples Project, Wick, Friday 28th June, 09.30

Enabling activities:

Caithness Transport Forum met today (Friday). The Forum is managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, with funding support from DSRL and Highland Council; the Forum works closely with CNSRP and is a key channel through which transport operators and local representatives can exchange information and discuss current/ future issues. Today’s meeting focused on the key Killimster-Bower Road; on the need for progress with Berriedale Brae works; on updates from Serco Northlink, Scrabster Harbour Trust, Stagecoach and HIAL.

SNH is currently inviting applications for an ambitious £1.7M project. The “Green Stimulus Peatlands Restoration Project” is a Scottish Government initiative to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. Initial applications have to be in by 28th June, with a further round due by 4th October. Information and application details are available at http://www.snh.gov.uk/climate-change/what-snh-is-doing/green-stimulus-peatland-restoration

Highland Council’s Development Plans team will be running two events later this month to follow up on the Wick and Thurso Charrettes which took place in February. The events will be open to anyone to attend, and will take place in the Free Church Hall, Millbank Road, Thurso on Monday 24th June at 7pm and in the Assembly Rooms, Wick on Tuesday 25th June at 7pm. The events will be open to all, but to book a place please contact the Council’s Development Plans team on 01463 702827 or casplan@highland.gov.uk  As previously reported, the Charrettes took place in order to begin the process of creating the next Local Development Plan for Caithness and Sutherland.

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:

  • This week I gave a presentation to members of the Association of Caithness Community Councils. I focused on the progress being made with key projects, and on how local companies have committed to growth over the past five years: in particular the commitment to create or retain over 600 full-time equivalent jobs. Next week I will be giving an update presentation to members of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group. 
  • Tomorrow (Saturday 8th June) will see the opening night of the “Beatrice Works” exhibition at Caithness Horizons in Thurso. The exhibition of art works by renowned Sutherland artist Sue Jane Taylor is also supported by an education programme involving local schools, which is designed to stimulate students’ interest in the kinds of skills required to develop energy projects – more information on the education programme and the exhibition is at the news pages of http://www.caithnesshorizons.co.uk and the exhibition will be on show in Thurso until late August before going on tour. Caithness Horizon’s Christine Gunn has done a great job of assembling the project funding and attracting involvement from local science and technology interests.