Weekly update, 30th November

Energy & Business Services:

Atlantis Resources Ltd, owners of the MeyGen project in the Pentland Firth, have just announced a newly-created post of Director of Power Generation. The postholder, Stephen Ward, will play a key role in the construction of MeyGen Phase 1A.  http://renews.biz/100676/atlantis-gets-power-generation-head

Enabling Activities:

CNSRP partner Highland Council has announced this week that the deadline for responses to consultations on the Highland-wide Local Development Plan (Main Issues Report) and the associated Draft Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance and Local Housing Strategy have been extended to 12pm on 29 January 2016.  The Council’s online consultation portal consult.highland.gov.uk makes it easy to read and make comments on these documents.  Simply create a login, select which documents you wish to hear about and you can then use your login to comment on any future development plan consultation.

Good to hear from HIE colleagues that properties in Watten exchange area should now be able to order superfast broadband as the Highlands and Islands rollout programme being delivered by BT continues to make progress. Watten joins other fibre-enabled areas of Caithness such as Wick, Thurso, Thrumster, Castletown, Halkirk and Lybster. More areas of Caithness and north Sutherland are expected to progress in the New Year. http://www.hie.co.uk/regional-information/digital-highlands-and-islands/default.html

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 CNSRP Advisory Board met this week, and heard updates from me on key projects on the CNSRP Programme. Members also heard a presentation on progress with the work to the electricity transmission grid in the North from John Scott, Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission’s Lead Project Manager. It was particularly interesting to hear of the large numbers of staff working on the current projects at Mybster, Spittal and Thurso, and the likely increase in those numbers over the coming months as the projects reach further phases. Some members also attended the official re-opening of Thurso Library today. The £1M redevelopment of the Library and Swanson Gallery has produced a fantastic modern facility, and adds to the list of current projects being delivered in Thurso by CNSRP partner Highland Council and High Life Highland.
  • Caithness Transport Forum also met this week, and discussed a range of related issues. It was particularly good to note the positive outcome to recent Stagecoach bus route issues following concerns raised about planned service changes. And it was also encouraging to hear from Serco Northlink that the Hamnavoe ferry, when it goes into dry dock in the New Year, will be replaced by a large car/ passenger ferry of similar capacity, thus resolving fears raised after previous temporary replacement vessels were not able to maintain passenger capacity on the route. The meeting also talked with Scotrail Alliance about current activities on the Far North Line. The Transport Forum is managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce with support from CNSRP partners DSRL and the Highland Council.
  • The regular “Energy North” supplement produced by Scottish Provincial Press was issued with last week’s local newspapers in the Highlands, and is now available to read online. It carries updates on Moray Offshore Renewables, MeyGen, and has the final feature of the series on energy in the Highlands and Islands produced by Calum Davidson, Director of Energy & Low Carbon at CNSRP partner HIE. http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=3aff3e9d-ccf2-42ff-8edb-80711a140951
  •  Good to see the range of projects that have attracted funding from CNSRP partner Highland Council in the first round of applications to its “Your Cash, Your Caithness” scheme. The awards of between £1,000 and £3,000 to 13 groups who pitched their ideas to an audience of local people will support a range of community projects in the area. More information at http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Lucky-13-win-backing-from-Caithness-fund-27112015.htmGood