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Thurso & Wick Trades Union Council
Making The Case To Get New Battery Factory Located At Wick

The Trades Union council have sent a letter to Dr. Peter Watson chairman of AEA Technology making a case for locating their new plant at Wick.  The Trades Union  Council have emphasised a number of factors that they feel would make Wick a suitable location and provide good value for money.  the case was set out in a recnt letter to Dr Watson and included the following points -

Local Grants - the grants currently available from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) make the financial case for building the new factory in Wick the most economic in Scotland.

Industrial Site - Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has already started work on a 1M high tech business park with serviced sites at Lower Pulteney on the outskirts of Wick.

Government Support - both the Local Authority and the Scottish Executive would be very supportive of any new venture on the above Wick enterprise park, as would be the Highland and Islands Enterprise.

Workforce - there is a readily available, highly skilled, qualified and motivated workforce in the Caithness area, as was demonstrated when setting up the existing battery factory in Thurso.

Public Relations - Although the Caithness area is currently undergoing a jobs boom, Wick unfortunately remains a jobs blackspot. The positive PR from any development there would be very advantageous to AEAT and the new facility - it would enable you to build on that you have already obtained with the increase of work at the Thurso battery factory.

Sub-contractors -AEA and AGM Batteries already have a good working relationship with a number of local contractors, and the distribution/interface network is already well established - you will know who you are dealing with, and the quality of their output.

Proximity to existing plant - locating your new factory in close proximity to the battery production plant in Thurso has a number of benefits to the company, namely:

Equipment/components - when setting up the new factory, equipment and/or components could be stored at the existing plant prior to installation.

Miscellaneous outgoings/costs could be shared between the 2 plants.

Easy communications between plants.

Employees could be utilised between both plants to cater for peaks/troughs in programmes.

Both plants would have holidays at the same time, therefore breaks in production time due to holidays would be minimised.

Management structure could be streamlined to cater for both plants.

A common stores/spares set-up could be used to reducing holdings and costs.

Customer liaison - when customers visit either of your plants, it would be very easy to visit the other plant on the same day, minimising their outgoings and giving them value for money.

Transport Links - the Caithness area, and Wick in particular, has a very good transport infrastructure, as described below:

Air - Wick has an airfield on its doorstep with links to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and onward connections to London and other destinations.

Sea - work is currently ongoing on the construction of a new deepwater pier at the ewxpanding local port at Scrabster (25 miles from Wick, 1 mile from Thurso).

Rail - a freight handling facility already exists at Georgemas Junction (15 miles from Wick, 6 miles from Thurso).

Road-Wick is only 100 miles north of Inverness (a 2 hour journey) and upgrading work is already planned for the A9 to further improve this link.

Insurance Premiums - the Caithness area has one of the lowest insurance premiums rates in Scotland, due mainly to the very low crime rate in comparison to the central belt and other areas of Scotland.

The Thurso and Wick Trades Council have also offered to meet with AEA Technology to discuss further their thoughts about the new plant location.