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Regeneration Index    

Caithness & North Sutherland

31 July 07
MAKING PROGRESS - Supporting Regeneration

£12 Million Additional Funding To Assist Regeneration
Highlands and Islands Enterprise announced in 2006 it is to invest an additional £12 million in Caithness and Sutherland.



North Highland Regeneration Fund - Half A Million
A fund of £500,000 has been set up by the NDA to help the Far North economy becomes less reliant on the Dounreay site. The loan offers start-up support to new businesses. It provides pump-priming money to new ventures and existing organisations aimed at turning ideas into reality and lead to job creation. Since it was set up in November 2006, £276,000 of loans has been awarded. So far 5 companies have benefited, creating or securing approximately 60 jobs.

Training For Apprentices
Dounreay, the local supply chain and the North Highland College continue to train young people through apprentice programmes in decommissioning and engineering skills, enabling them to find local and world-wide employment in the nuclear sector and beyond.


National Nuclear Skills Academy
The National Nuclear Skills Academy will be delivered using a hub and spoke model. The spoke for Scotland will be based in Caithness. The Nuclear Skills Academy Scotland will be created in partnership with NDA, HIE Caithness and Sutherland, North Highland College and the UKAEA. Ken Nicol has been appointed as project manager to create the business and implementation plan.

Forss Business and Technology Park
A £6 million regeneration of the former US Navy base at Forss, funded by New Park, HIE Caithness and Sutherland and the European Regional Development Fund, has transformed the site into a business park. HIE Caithness and Sutherland is currently working with New Park providing business incubator units and services for fledgling local businesses. Some information on Caithness.org

Development Of Wick Marina
Work the first phase of the ambitious scheme to inject a new lease of life into Wick harbour has been completed. Funding for this project has been provided by HIE Caithness and Sutherland and Dounreay has released a member of staff on an ad-hoc basis, who is on the Wick Harbour Authority Board to help with the development of the business plan.  New Pontoons Phase One In Place For the Wick Harboufest in June 2007
Phase One Goes In    See Phase Two Proposals In April 2007 Newsletter

Wick Harbour Brochure

Wick Harbour

Caithness Energy Alliance
The Caithness Energy Alliance brings together well-established engineering, technology and service support businesses, and R&D and skills training facilities. They are targeting all aspects of both the on-shore and marine renewable energy markets as well as oil and gas. By working together, the Alliance aims to publicise the advantages of Caithness, with its renewable energy resources, industrial track record, skills pool, willingness to work in partnership and a great environment for living and working.

Community Support
All key agencies and organisations have strong links with the local community. These links remain strong and will continue.

Ormlie Renewables
Ormlie Renewables has been set up to explore the options for community renewable energy. Dounreay, on behalf of the NDA, have contributed towards the funding of a renewable energy project. HIE Caithness and Sutherland has substantially funded this initiative.
 Ormlie Renewables Web Site Still Under Construction

 See some information on Caithness.org

The North Highland Initiative
The North Highland Initiative is intended to assist with the development of the economy of the North Highland's by raising the profile of the area through its quality food and drink products, its tourism and the quality of the built environment. Dounreay employee Robert Gray was seconded to the project and when his secondment came to an end he left the employment of the UKAEA and became a full time co-ordinator to this project.

North Highland Tourism Operators Group
The North Highland Tourism Operators Group is one element of the NHI initiative whose aim is to increase the number of tourists to the area, to extend their stay and to develop the current tourism season. Dounreay has seconded Carol Miller in a part-time capacity as project co-ordinator to assist with the increasing tourism activity.

Caithness Horizons
Caithness Horizons is a partnership formed between UKAEA, in support of NDA, Highland Council and the Thurso Heritage Society with additional funding from HIE Caithness and Sutherland. The objective is to create an outstanding facility in Thurso Town Hall for the benefit of both the local community and visitors to Caithness.

Inside The Visitor Centre

New Communities Fund
Dounreay, in support of the NDA, have launched a new communities fund which will support community based organisations and charities that benefit the Caithness and North Sutherland communities. This is administered by the site in association with the Dounreay Stakeholder Group. UKAEA also provides funding for this fund which is linked to safety performance of the site.

Dounreay Stakeholders Group
The Dounreay Stakeholder Group is organising a conference in September and invitations have been sent out inviting national, regional and local politicians to attend so that they are aware of the work done so far, the action plan to regenerate the area and to ensure the community has Government commitment for the future.

New Businesses From Current Dounreay Site Activities
A number of activities that support the decommissioning programme are being looked at to see if they may have commercial potential by diversifying into non-nuclear sectors.

Environmental Laboratories
The Environmental laboratories is an example of something that has the potential to continue to service the site needs but to attract other nuclear and non-nuclear customers. Work is ongoing with HIE Caithness and Sutherland to research the likely uptake of such a service. Still in the early stages there is much work to do to develop business plans and investigate how to move from being a site function to a commercial business. In association with the NDA, HIE Caithness and Sutherland and HC the Dounreay project team will continue to seek other activities with this potential.

The National Nuclear Archives
Approval in principle from the NDA has been given to site the national nuclear archives in Caithness. HIE Caithness and Sutherland, HC and the Dounreay site have been very active in this area producing a robust business case to ensure the success of bringing this work to the area.


Pensions Office
UKAEA’s Pensions Administration Services was successful in their bid to bring the administration of all nuclear sector pension schemes which cover 47,000 members across a number of employers to Thurso. They secured additional work with the award of a five year contract by the Trustees of the RWE Nukem Ltd Employees pension scheme.

Supporting The Supply Chain
NDA, HIE Caithness and Sutherland, and the UKAEA are actively working with the supply chain to allow them to diversify for the future.