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Regeneration Index    

Caithness & North Sutherland

22 January 07

A TASKFORCE drawing on the area’s three key public agencies will be charged with delivering an action plan for the regeneration of the Caithness and North Sutherland economy.

The Far North has major economic hurdles ahead with the prospect of decommissioning work at Dounreay’s nuclear reactor coming to an end in the early 2030s with the eventual loss of around 2,500 jobs.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Highland Council and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), together with the Scottish Executive and MP John Thurso, have now agreed on a partnership structure to implement a plan to tackle the social and economic effects that the closure will bring.

The structured taskforce will work on transformational projects identified in a plan under preparation by economic consultants. They include energy related development, diversification into oil and gas decommissioning, food, drink and tourism.

Communications issues such as improved transport links and high quality telecommunication networks for the area, will also command high priority for the specialised team.

The taskforce will comprise three specific working parties: a stakeholders group, executive group and a senior officers group

The partners also plan to recruit an experienced executive to attract public and private sector inward investment into Caithness. In addition a programme co-ordinator will be appointed to ensure that the three-part team is fully aware of opportunities to share resources, support new initiatives and prevent any gaps or overlaps.