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Weekly update, 10th September 2012

DSRL’s Commercial Team will be holding two Supply Chain Briefings this month to give an update on the Shaft and Silo Decommissioning Project at Dounreay.The project comprises of the design, build, operations and decommissioning of limited-life plant and facilities necessary to retrieve and treat the waste from within the Dounreay Shaft and Wet Silo.  The overall project is valued between £80M and £100M, so it represents a significant opportunity for supply-chain companies. The Briefings will take place as follows: Monday 24th September – Mackay’s Hotel, Wick at 0830–1100; Tuesday 25th September – Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel at 0930 -1430. More info from with registration deadline of 1400 hrs on Friday 21st September 2012.

UK Pro-surf Championships will be held in Caithness next month, bringing an estimated 3,000 people into the county. The event will feature not only 100 surfing competitors, but professional events in BMX biking and skateboarding, both held at a purpose-built skate park at Thurso harbour, making it one of the biggest gatherings of extreme sports competitors in Scotland this year. The event will be supported by the staging of the Wave North Festival, which will provide a vibrant music, arts and crafts programme for competitors and visitors. Wave North has established an excellent reputation since its inception in 2011. For more information see Wave North’s Facebook page at

Enabling activities:
The Scottish Government has this week announced an independent review of issues affecting Scottish town centres. The review aims to focus on solutions, and proposes to address issues by testing them via practical demonstration projects during 2013. The Duo Town Centres project for Wick and Thurso – led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce – is nearing completion of its initial programme, so it will be important for learning points and recommendations from it to be fed into the review, and to ensure where possible that the particular issues of remote towns are reflected in the review group’s work.

As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

  • The Partnership’s Executive Board met in Caithness this week. The Board meets quarterly under the independent Chairmanship of Sir Anthony Cleaver, and brings together the Chief Executives of Highland Council and HIE, the Head of Regional Operations for Skills Development Scotland, a senior official from the Scottish Government’s Enterprise Division, the Managing Director of Dounreay and the NDA’s Head of Programme for Dounreay. Strategic issues relating to the delivery of the Partnership’s published 2011-14 Delivery Plan are identified and discussed, focusing on agreed targets and enabling actions. Discussions this week included a review of issues raisied by the Partnership’s Advisory Board and progress with strategic transport priorities.
  • The Dounreay Stakeholder Group also met this week. I deliver a quarterly written summary of progress so that members are aware of current issues.
  • The Caithness Courier this week carries an article with comments from me that relate to current Marine Scotland consultations on marine and offshore wind sites, where I spoke of the benefits that initial testing of marine devices in Orkney has had, and on the projected opportunities for the north mainland to benefit as marine energy moves towards commercialisation. The article appears next to a piece covering the joint statement released by CNSRP’s Advisory and Executive Board chairs welcoming the recent Saltire Prize announcement.
  • Scottish Provincial Press published its “Energy North” supplement this week, which as I indicated in last week’s update, contains an article I wrote on the summer flurry of marine and offshore energy activity off our area’s coasts. The supplement is issued free with copies of SPP titles across the Highlands.