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Weekly Update, 15th February 2010

  • I chaired a meeting of the Partnership’s Senior Officers’ Group, at which the main discussion focussed on ensuring the version of the programme which we are about to publish is as robust as we can make it. We agreed that version 1 of the programme would still show some gaps in terms of the detailed delivery plans for elements of activity, but that it was important to publish this first version as soon as possible.
  • I also brought together representatives from the three key local funding agencies (HIE, NDA and Highland Council) to ensure that we are able to provide the most effective responses to funding opportunities.
  • I brought together representatives from Visitscotland, Highland Council, HIE and North Highland Tourism Ltd to discuss how best to coordinate our activities in the tourism sector, particularly in the light of upcoming opportunities to showcase the area’s tourism offering during the National Mod. We agreed that the partners would help feed into the regeneration programme.
  • The Partnership hosted a workshop on the draft “Road Map” for the Pentland Firth Marine Energy Project. The workshop was led by HIE staff who have been developing the Road map. HIE’s Louise Smith outlined some of the assumptions on the potential for employment opportunities. The workshop attendees were drawn largely from the Partnership’s Advisory Board, and they agreed that what was needed was a plan that set out the detailed steps to achieve the potential jobs numbers being projected. HIE staff are now working on a revised version of the Road Map, which it is hoped will be launched at the same time as The Crown Estate announces the results of its first round of seabed leases in the Pentland Firth. My aim is to ensure that our regeneration programme contains as much of this information as possible.
  • I attended a meeting held between senior Highland Council officials, HIE’s Area Manager for Caithness & Sutherland and representatives of The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, at which we discussed how the Foundation might be able to help our regeneration programme.
  • I met with Lucy Parsons, who has been working with Orkney Islands Council and The Crown Estate on marine issues. We had a very useful discussion on opportunities to ensure that both sides of the Pentland Firth are able to play a full part in ensuring we capture the economic value of a new industry.