Weekly update, 7th December

Energy & Business Services:

At last week’s CNSRP Advisory Board meeting members heard a presentation from John Scott of SSE, outlining the current progress and likely future activities in support of the major electricity grid enhancements taking place in the area. Members were particularly interested in the economic impact of the programme. It is likely that further employment opportunities will be available in 2016 as the next phases of work on substation construction takes place in Caithness, and SSE confirms that these opportunities will be advertised through its recruitment pages at http://sse.com/careers/ It was also good to have coverage of the Advisory Board meeting in today’s (Friday’s) John O’Groat Journal. See “communications” below for a link to the summary of the Advisory Board meeting.

A further roundup of what has been a successful year for the MeyGen project comes this week with online coverage of parent company Atlantis Resources’ CEO Tim Cornelius. The view of the investment market can be seen at http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/120224/update-atlantis-resources-on-track-for-power-next-year-120224.html The company also this week signed a partnership agreement with subsea cable company JDR Cable Systems. JDR provided the subsea cabling support to Phase 1A of the MeyGen project this year, and the two are now focusing on Phase 1B, on which Atlantis Resources says it hopes to commence construction during 2016. http://atlantisresourcesltd.com/media-centre/atlantis-annoucements/79-2015-annoucements/392-collaboration-agreement.html

Enabling Activities:

Also discussed at last week’s CNSRP Advisory Board meeting was the current status of the Berriedale trunk road improvement proposals from Transport Scotland. This project sits on the CNSRP Programme, but following an objection to the proposed scheme a Public Local Inquiry (PLI) is due to be held. Last week also saw the pre-Inquiry meeting which  brought all parties together with the appointed Reporter to discuss the procedural aspects of the forthcoming inquiry. All the documents related to the PLI can now be viewed on the Scottish Government’s Planning & Environmental Appeals Division website at https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/CaseDetails.aspx?id=116958&T=1

The CNSRP Programme includes the “Developing the Young Workforce” initiative managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce. Part of the Chamber’s plans includes further enhancement of the “Jobs and How To Get Them” event, which has been run successfully in each of the last three years. This week its steering group met to continue planning the 2016 event, which will be held on Saturday 6th February in Wick Assembly Rooms. The 2015 event, held in Thurso, attracted around 40 companies/ organisations and over 250 attendees.

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:

  • A summary of the discussions at last week’s CNSRP Advisory Board meeting is now available to view at http://www.cnsrp.org.uk/2015/12/08/cnsrp-advisory-board-december-2015-summary/
  • The Dounreay Stakeholder Group (DSG) met this week. As part of the meeting we covered socio-economic issues relating to the decommissioning of Dounreay and to the wider economy. Copies of all background papers, including the report I submitted to the DSG’s socio-economic subgroup, are available to view at http://www.dounreaystakeholdergroup.org/documents/
  • I was delighted to hear of last night’s (Thursday 10th) announcement that the Helmsdale Affordable Housing Project had won the “Community-led Regeneration” award at the annual SURF (Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum) awards in Glasgow. The award was sponsored by CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The Helmsdale & District Development Trust (working through the tireless Paul Harrington) deserve huge credit for this initiative, which has not only met a clear community need, but also helped develop sustainable funding, and attract people into the area. Amongst a huge range of supporting organisations and agencies have been CNSRP partners Highland Council, HIE and Scottish Government. More on the project, and SURF, is at http://www.scotregen.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/2015-SURF-Awards-Publication.pdf