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Regeneration Index    

Caithness & North Sutherland

Progress with the decommissioning programme at Dounreay is a tangible reminder that the NDA’s decommissioning mission will have a real impact in Caithness and North Sutherland. The recent demolition of the Dounreay Visitor Centre – a centre which attracted over 7000 visitors per year - is an example of how the site is changing.

Everyone – key agencies, supply chain, local businesses and the community - need to pull in the same direction – and it has to be the right direction – to ensure we have a vibrant future beyond Dounreay.

There is a new sense of urgency in the community now, with only 20 years or so until there is virtually no employment at Dounreay. And along with the sense of urgency has been the demand for action.

This is why the Caithness Regeneration Partnership (CRP) has been formed.

At the heart of the CRP is a clear, realistic plan. The plan will include all of the activities needed to transform the Caithness and North Sutherland economy from one that is dependent on Dounreay to one that is not – in effect it is a “lifetime plan” for regeneration.

The plan will be based on the strategy that was produced by the socio-economic working group chaired by John Thurso, MP. The whole community was consulted on this strategy – a copy went through every letterbox – and all comments were taken into account. It is now the definitive document for regeneration in the area.

Strategic plan: Just having a plan is not enough, however. The plan will need to be carried out and the whole community will have a role in enabling this to happen.

To execute the plan a small team is being assembled.

There are four key elements to the partnership structure – an executive board, a senior officers group, dedicated staff resources and a stakeholders group.

A small group of senior executives, The Executive Board, will oversee delivery of the strategy and action plan, meeting on a quarterly basis. The Executive Board will be accountable for delivery of the strategy and comprises of:

  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise

  • The Highland Council

  • Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

  • Scottish Executive

A team of experts within the key organisations - The Senior Officers Group - will be established to ensure the work is implemented. They have the responsibility to commit resources on behalf of their organisations and be accountable for the implementation of agreed actions and projects within specific timescales. This team will reflect the core membership of the Executive Board and will also involve other key partners – such as UKAEA and the North Highland College as required.

The Stakeholder Group – a group representing a wide variety of local interests, will act as a ‘parliament’, meeting bi-annually, receiving quarterly reports on progress and offering feedback on behalf of local,
regional and national interests.

Delivery is key to the successful future of the area and the partners recognise the need for additional dedicated staff resource to assist with the delivery of the strategy. As a result the partners have agreed to strengthen local resources to ensure that the necessary expertise is available - The Partnership Team.

Early in July Roy Kirk was appointed to the post of inward investment manager and recruitment is underway for a Programme Manager supplemented by two administrative assistants. Each of the three partners is contributing to the resource pool in roughly equal measure, and by late autumn the team which will be based at the T3UK facility at Janetstown – will be up and running.