Wick Harbour Authority’s ambitious plans to attract new jobs to the area from the offshore wind industry have received a boost with the combined support of £450,000 from two partners in the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP).
The Harbour Authority is positioning the port to attract business from the two large offshore wind developments in the Moray Firth, and is currently working on a multi-phase programme to ensure that its facilities meet the requirements of industry. The first project will be the installation of heavy lift facilities at the port’s commercial quay and the dredging of the entry channel to the quay, which has attracted grant support of up to £250,000 from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and up to £200,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The Harbour Authority has also been successful in attracting private funding for this phase of work.
Wick Harbour Authority Chairman Willie Watt welcomed the funding boost to WHA’s plans:
“We are extremely happy with the support received from HIE and the NDA on these two vitally important projects. Since 2005 the Board at Wick Harbour have consistently worked towards achieving commercial sustainability for the Harbour in the long term. The support and confidence that HIE and NDA have shown is testament to the long term vision we have planned.
Our stepping stone approach has created new opportunities and confidence around the port and we look forward to developing the Harbour in response to the potential that will come from the two major offshore wind projects just off our shores. The number of jobs that could be realised will be in excess of 300 and this is just one part of our portfolio that will bring new opportunities to Caithness and North Sutherland.”
Wick Harbour Authority has been working on its plans with CNSRP partners, attracting support for a range of background and technical studies. CNSRP Chairman Sir Antony Cleaver said:
“The Partnership identified Wick Harbour Authority’s plans as a priority because of the potential to attract a significant number of new jobs to the area in a key sector, so I am delighted to see this evidence of progress. The ability of partners to come together in this way is one of the key strengths of CNSRP as we continue to address the area’s future economic sustainability.”
Anna MacConnell, the NDA’s Stakeholder and Socio-economic Manager, said: “Wick Harbour Authority is an example of community-led economic development at its best. The role of the public sector, to support and encourage sustainable economic growth, is made so much easier when working with a Board as adaptable and innovative as Wick Harbour Authority. The NDA is pleased to continue our long association with Wick Harbour Authority.”
Roy Kirk, area manager for HIE, said: “This is an excellent example of good partnership working to develop a harbour which is strategically important to the region. By combining private and public sector finance we are developing the facilities that Wick Harbour Authority needs to deliver services for the growing renewables energy industry. HIE is delighted to support the growth of the infrastructure required to allow the region to get maximum benefit from the sector.”