Weekly update, 17th & 24th October

Energy & Business Services:
• Last week saw Dounreay Trì Ltd submitting its application to Marine Scotland for consent to develop a floating offshore wind demonstration project at a site around 6km north of the Dounreay site. You can view the project’s various supporting documents at the website of Swedish parent company Hexicon: http://hexicon.eu/projects/dounreaytri

Tourism, Food & Drink:
• The Thurso Surf Festival, with is supported by the Scottish Surfing Federation, SSE and CNSRP partner Highland Council, began on Thursday 27th with excellent waves, and is due to finish tomorrow (Saturday). Pictures from the event are at the UK Pro-Surf Association’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UkProSurfAssociation/?ref=page_internal
• Good news for Dunnet Bay Distillers this week, as Highland Council approved planning permission to convert a building next to the company’s distillery to become a visitor centre and shop. Martin and Claire Murray hope that the exciting new facility will be completed by around next May. The company was also awarded the “Best New Product” award for its Holy Grass Vodka at last week’s Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards (www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com) , and is also involved in an innovative collaboration with North Lands Creative Glass, the internationally renowned creative glass centre based in Lybster. The project will see a 2017 residency opportunity for Scottish based makers/ hot glass artists, with the objective of creating a gin glass. More at http://www.northlandsglass.com/our-programme/residencies/

Enabling activities:

• AECOM (a partner in the Cavendish Dounreay Partnership) is running a supplier day in Caithness on Tuesday 8th November. The company is keen to discuss national and international opportunities, so there will be a range of AECOM Senior Leaders attending the events from many aspects of the business, proposing the opportunity to present local business, skills, capabilities and experience to the team. For more details and to register to attend email: Lorraine.doran@aecom.com with the subject heading “RSVP – AECOM Supplier Days”.
• This week saw meetings of both the Caithness Transport Forum and the Wick John O’Groats Airport Consultative Committee. Both meetings were able to reflect on some encouraging progress over recent months. At Wick John O’ Groats Airport it was good to see that, whilst concerns continue over the effect of oil and gas related downturns in traffic on the Aberdeen route, the Loganair/ Flybe service on the Edinburgh route has responded well to previous concerns. The company has shown real progress on key performance indicators, and told members of further planned enhancements. With ongoing helicopter traffic using the airport, and work started on the enlarged carparking area, members were pleased to note the ongoing level of activity. The Transport Forum also discussed road, rail, sea and air issues, including welcome news that work on the B876 Killimster Moss road is due to commence, and that a range of enhancements to the Far North rail line are being taken forward.

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:
• Next Wednesday (2nd November) I will be in Inverness to give an update presentation on CNSRP to the Planning Development & Infrastructure Committee of the Highland Council. The meeting will be streamed on the Council’s website at http://highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/home and the papers for the meeting are at http://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/3768/planning_development_and_infrastructure_committee/attachment/71126
• The latest issue of the Energy North supplement was issued today (Friday). The Supplement is issued with all titles in the Scottish Provincial Press Family in the Highlands, including the John O’Groat Journal and the Northern Times. This issue has a range of interesting pieces on the energy sector in the Highlands, including an update on the MeyGen project from HIE’s Calum Davidson, with a quote from myself on how we saw the project coming together. It is also good to note that this week has seen the successful completion of the installation of the turbine support structures for the MeyGen project.