Weekly update, 2nd November

Energy & Business Services:

HIE’s Michael Koetsier and June Love hosted a successful visit from a potential inward investor last week, as progress continues to be made on opportunities related to the energy sector in the north.

Tourism, Food & Drink

Good to see coverage in today’s press of the new business venture being established in Wick. New Wave Foods plan to open a seaweed processing operation at Wick Industrial Estate early next year, with the aim of becoming the leading Scottish processor of edible seaweed products. The company expects to create three full-time jobs initially, with the potential for a number of further jobs over the coming years.

Last Saturday saw the official launch at John O’ Groats of public art works commissioned by CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and supported by Creative Scotland Lottery Fund. The works, entitled “nomadic boulders” were launched with specially-composed music and verse from acclaimed composer/ director Jim Sutherland and renowned poet/ playwright George Gunn respectively, and featured schoolchildren from Canisbay Primary School. http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Nomadic-Boulders-sculpture-unveiled-at-John-OGroats-05112015.htm

Today (Friday 6th) also sees the release of an excellent film of endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont’s record-breaking ride around the North Coast 500 route earlier this year. The film can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/143976799 Also released as a short film is one by Chris Sinclair of Sinclair Aerial Surveys. This records last weekend’s Thurso Surf Festival which attracted support from CNSRP partner Highland Council. https://vimeo.com/144246985

Enabling Activities:

Next week sees the Annual General Meeting of the North Highland Regeneration Fund (NHRF), which was set up with support from CNSRP partner the NDA to provide loan funding to businesses in the Dounreay travel-to-work area. This year’s AGM will again be preceded by an event recognising entrepreneurial activities of young people. The “iStart Challenge” has been run by North Highland College UHI with support from NHRF, and the event will hear feedback from the panel of judges on the ideas pitched to them by young people.

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:

  • I presented a short update on CNSRP activities to the Highland Council’s Planning Development & Infrastructure committee at its meeting in Inverness this week. It was good to receive feedback and questions from Councillors, and to have the opportunity to meet with them during the day to discuss current and future projects. At the committee meeting Councillors also approved the Caithness & Sutherland Proposed Local Development Plan. This approval means the Plan now becomes the Council’s settled view of future planning over the next 20 years, and will now go out for full public consultation in the New Year. The meeting is available to view at http://www.highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/162735
  • CNSRP partner HIE has this week launched a website dedicated to the story of the HIE and HIDB story over the last 50 years. The site features a timeline of key economic milestones from the period, including the discussions between the HIDB and Government in the 1960s which helped influence the siting the of the Prototype Fast Reactor at Dounreay. The site contains contemporary footage of the amazing technical and human feats associated with the construction of Dounreay and can be viewed at http://50years.hie.co.uk/ It is perhaps worth reflecting that in my presentation to Highland Councillors this week I highlighted that the weight of steel being fabricated by JGC Engineering for Phase 1A of the MeyGen tidal power scheme is around 3 times the weight of the steel used to construct the iconic Dounreay “dome”!
  • Scottish Provincial Press issued its regular “Energy North” supplement last week. As always it contains a range of interesting articles on current energy-related topics including the progress with subsea cable installation for the Meygen project, and the third of four fascinating articles by HIE’s Calum Davidson on the history of energy in the Highlands and Islands, which includes the role of Dounreay and the lesser-known peat-power scheme at Altnabreac in Caithness. http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=3dba87c9-d2f5-497b-89b8-431e5e796dfc