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John Thurso MP chair of the conference organizing committee commented: “I am pleased the minister has accepted our invitation. He was provisionally scheduled to have been overseas but I was able to convince him of the importance of attending this economic conference, and of demonstrating government support for our regeneration strategy. Although we do not have his detailed programme yet it is my understanding that he will make time to look at other energy issues during his visit. It is vital that the minister responsible for Dounreay has a clear understanding of the challenges of decommissioning and how government can help. The conference will, I hope, prove an ideal way to brief him.”
The conference is being organized by The Caithness Partnership and The Dounreay Stakeholder Group with help and support from HIE Caithness & Sutherland, North Highland College, and UKAEA. It will be held at North Highland College and will start at 9.30am. The organizing committee has put together a series of workshops from which delegates can choose followed by a full session to share feedback. The conference which will last all day has also attracted several specialist speakers to address specific regeneration issues. Invitations are being sent to all stakeholders and representatives of all interested groups and communities. In addition a number of places are being advertised to the general public and a full attendance is expected.
George Bruce Chairman of the Caithness Partnership and a member of the organizing committee said: “The strategy was agreed last year and the Regeneration Partnership put in place early this year. However there is still much to do. This conference gives a chance for the whole community to take part in the positive process of working for a secure economic future and being part of the solutions. This is all part of moving from strategy to action.”
Dounreay Stakeholder Group Chair, Alistair Macdonald commented: “The workshop sessions in the morning will give all our members a chance to participate. There are lots of good ideas out there. We need to capture them and get them into the action plan. This conference is an important step in taking regeneration forward.”
Among others confirmed as taking part are Professor David Rhind, a former Bank of England Board member who chairs the NDA’s Socio-Economic Board, Sandy Cumming - CEO of HIE, and Dr Holger Bergmann who has recently issued a report on Highland economics.
John Thurso added: “By the time of this conference I expect HIE Caithness & Sutherland will have published their action plan for delivery of the strategy. The conference will be an ideal opportunity for every one to get involved in the actions for delivering future economic growth in the North and to add to the plans already in progress. A lot of thought has gone into planning this conference to make it a positive and proactive experience for all the delegates and I am confident it will full.”