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Regeneration Index    

Caithness & North Sutherland

  Earlier Items From the Front Page Of Regeneration in 2007

17 December 07
A three year 50-point action plan for regenerating the Caithness and North Sutherland economy has been agreed by key stakeholders.

The plan has been developed from the regeneration strategy which went out for consultation a year ago, and input from the Caithness Conference in September. As a result the four main aims of the strategy have been developed into a more detailed set of actions, tailor-made for the region’s particular challenges.

The 50 actions are divided into five main categories: Investing in infrastructure and services; developing business and industry assets; developing people; developing Dounreay assets and developing new opportunities through inward investment.

Each specific project, such as the creation of a new Centre for Energy and Environment; is briefly described and provided with information on its proposed key partners; estimated costs where known and key milestone dates in the project’s development.

The actions cover a comprehensive range of topics from developing an employment brokerage service to lobbying for public sector jobs dispersal.

The plan was agreed on Friday (December 14) by representatives of the four main partners in the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership: Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE); The Highland Council; The Nuclear Decommissioning (NDA) and the Scottish Government.

Sandy Cumming, HIE chief executive said: “Every successful campaign depends heavily on sound preparation and setting realistic objectives. This plan promises excellent value for Caithness and North Sutherland and I’m confident we’ll see some exciting results as we begin to deliver its objectives.”

The action plan is a working document. It will be published and updated regularly to show progress being made, and amended as new opportunities are identified and circumstances change.

Terry Selby of the NDA added: “There are some excellent opportunities outlined in this proposal. It recognises the most promising resources available in this area upon which to build economic regeneration and sets out clear projects which make best use of these to deliver a sustainable economy for decades to come.”

The Highland Council, said its chief executive Alistair Dodds, is committed to providing a positive environment for new and existing projects to flourish. “There are a number of different ways that these objectives can be encouraged beyond direct investment,” he said, “Highland Council understands the importance of its role in this vital undertaking and we intend to devote our resources to supporting its success.”

A number of initiatives set out in the plan are already in hand and from January 2008 progress on these and on newly proposed projects can be measured against the published schedule.

Action Plan (Pdf)  Marketing Plan (Pdf)

2 December 07
Caithness Conference Report

22 October 07
Second Key Appointment For Far North Regeneration Plan
The post of programme manager for the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership will be taken up on an interim basis by Gordon Cox pending a permanent appointment. A senior member of staff at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Gordon is project director for the organisation's network management system currently based in Inverness. He previously served for six years as chief executive of Ross and Cromarty Enterprise. The recently formed regeneration partnership will drive forward new initiatives to counteract Dounreay nuclear plant's diminishing role as the area's principal employer.

5 October 07
North Highland Regeneration Fund Announces Another £1million From NDA
The chairman of the North Highland Regeneration Fund, John Thurso MP in his opening remarks at T3UK on 4th October 2007 announced a further £1 million of funds are to be made available to add to the working capital of £500,000 that was injected when the company was set up a year ago. John Thurso enthusiastically welcomed the latest injection of funds by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. He pointed to the fact that the first tranche of money had almost all been invested. This larger amount would help the company to continue to assist local businesses to expand or set up and encourage firms from elsewhere to consider re-locating to the area.  North Highland Regeneration Fund

5 October 07
£15million Blueprint Points the Way Ahead

Exploration and production activity on the North West Continental Shelf (including the West Of Shetland and Faroese waters) has put Scrabster on the map as a recognised oil industry supply port. Scrabster’s location in the far North of Scotland offers a more cost effective base over distant east coast ports. The UK’s most northern mainland port is only a six-hour truck journey from the main logistics centres of Aberdeen and Peterhead.  Significant investment has already been made by Scrabster Harbour Trust in extending and upgrading the port. This already allows the largest offshore vessels to access the harbour. Furthermore, they can undertake this at any tide, and without delays that often occur at other ports.

16 September 07
Caithness Conference In Optimistic Mood For The North

Over 130 people attended the Caithness Conference held on Friday 14th September 2007 to identify the actions needed to plan for a successful regeneration of Caithness and North Sutherland. Minister of Energy, Malcolm Wicks and Minister of State at the Scotland Office attended the conference and left with the message that Caithness and North Sutherland would unite to help generate the area beyond the decommissioning of the Dounreay site.

In summing up John Thurso said "This morning I challenged you all to stop saying 'something should be done' to 'I will now do something'. I think you have surpassed my expectations and demonstrated the power of unity, of working together to deliver for the community. Today we have talked about infrastructure, not just transport based but business based also. There is a need to continue with the communication that has started today. We are at the beginning of an ongoing process and I find it immensely encouraging. We cannot let this stop today and we must, as a community, continue to work together."

"You have laid down a direct challenge to the Caithness Regeneration Partnership - because today you have unleashed an energy - the energy of the people which has been shown here today . We now have to harness and capture this energy to take forward and mould for a successful future.."

"Today would not have been possible without the Caithness Partnership and the Dounreay Stakeholder Group who have been instrumental in organising this event with support and encouragement from HIE, NDA, Highland Council, UKAEA and North Highland College. Today is a symbol of what can be achieved if we unite and work as one for the good for the community."
Notes from some of the speakers (Pdf)

13 September 07
Troubleshooter Targets Tourism
By Iain Grant in the John o Groat Journal
HELPING realise the untapped potential of John O'Groats as a tourist destination is one of the early targets for the recently-appointed Far North economic troubleshooter. Roy Kirk has not let the grass grow under his feet since moving to Thurso to start work in a new post created as part of the drive to diversify the local economy away from its long-established dependence on Dounreay. Tourism is one of the growth areas and Roy is particularly keen to break the long-standing impasse on cashing in on the international renown of John O'Groats.

30 August 07
Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks and David Cairns, MP, Minister of State at the Scotland Office will travel north to attend the Caithness Conference. The conference to be held on 14th September 2007 will identify the actions needed to grow existing or attract new business to the area to offset the impact of the reduction of jobs at Dounreay as the decommissioning progresses. Organised by Caithness Partnership, in association with the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, the morning session will focus on workshops specifically designed to discuss the six key themes of the Caithness and North Sutherland Socio Economic Strategy and identify the necessary actions to move forward.

22 August 07
Jim Mather, Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Met Local Business People

Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism Jim Mather was in Caithness on 14 August 2007 to talk to local businesses and organisations about potential economic opportunities. He visited marine electronics manufacturer Kongsberg Maritime Ltd and SubSea 7 who manufacture pipeline bundles and are seeking to diversify into the renewables sector. He then had a working lunch with a range of business people at the Captain’s Galley in Scrabster.

22 August 07
North Highlands Produce Showcased At Ackergill
A bountiful selection of the best of the North Highlands food and drink produce, brought together by HIE Caithness and Sutherland, was visited by HRH Prince Charles recently. Producers from throughout Caithness and Sutherland gathered together at Ackergill Tower near Wick to welcome national and local buyers. In 2005 His Royal Highness launched the North Highland Initiative to improve the economy and sustainability of the area by developing a new brand to sell the region's produce - Mey Selections.

13 August 07
Caithness Conference Agenda (Word doc)
The agenda for the Caithness Conference - Beyond Dounreay is now available as a word doc at the above link. The conference takes place in Thurso on Friday 14th September 2007

9 August 07
Regeneration  - A New Section On The Future Of Caithness & North Sutherland
A new section of website focusing on the regeneration efforts in Caithness and North Sutherland has been launched.

9 August 07
Dounreay Plays Its Part
The Dounreay site has played a huge part in the economy of Caithness and North Sutherland for over 50 years and will continue to play its part in supporting HIE, Highland Council and the NDA to move towards a prosperous future.  Dounreay has a number of strands already being developed to assist employees and contractors look at their longer  term future.  This item mentions a few.

9 August 07
National Skills Academy For Nuclear - Newsletter - Issue 1

The Academy is being created to help Nuclear employers tackle the current and future skills barriers and challenges facing the Nuclear industry. To address these challenges the Academy will nurture a consolidated approach to skills development, investigate ways of skills transference across the sector and promote career choices. This first newsletter is to inform you of the progress which is being made on the development of your academy. If you would like to be kept updated on further developments and receive future newsletters, or would like further information, please e-mail enquiries@nuclear.nsacademy.co.uk.

9 August 07
Making Progress - Supporting Regeneration
A huge amount of work has been going on already towards regeneration of the economy in Caithness and Sutherland.  This report draws together some of the strands where action is already underway and at different stages from individual projects to groups in business and the community.

9 August 07
Working Together For A Bright Future
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.

10 July 07
Partnership Announce Inward Investment Appointment
Roy Kirk has been appointed to the post of inward investment manager by the Caithness Regeneration Partnership. Mr Kirk was selected by a panel made up of the three lead agencies in the partnership, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Highland Council and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). He will become a HIE employee. He takes on the post from his current position with Scottish Development International – the Scottish Executive’s inward investment and trade promotion arm.

22 January 07
Caithness Partners Agree Structure for Regeneration
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.