Council support for Caithness flight connectivity

Highland Council Members have agreed to support the efforts of Caithness Transport Forum and Wick JOG Airport Consultative Committee to improve flight connectivity at Wick John
O’ Groats airport.

Members were informed at Highland Council’s headquarters today (16 August 2018) that both organisations are pressing to have investigation work carried out on the potential to have a Public Service Obligation (PSO) created on one of the flight routes.

This was discussed during an Environment, Development and Infrastructure (EDI) meeting regarding the updates to the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP).

Updates on the enabling activities of CNSRP included progress on:

• Offshore Wind Opportunities
•  MeyGen Tidal Energy
• UK Vertical Launch (“spaceport”)
• Business and Nuclear Services
• North Coast 500 increased business/pressure on infrastructure
• Skills Investment Plan commissioned by Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

Following almost three years of investigation lead by CNSRP partner - Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) - the UK Space Agency (UKSA) announced funding to support the establishment of a launch facility for small-scale satellites in July 2018.

The Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee welcomed the recent news of funding for the proposed Sutherland spaceport.

Committee Chair, Councillor Alan Henderson said: “The Highland Council is pleased to continue supporting the CNSRP. This is a very promising time for the Sutherland and Caithness areas as there is new opportunity for highly skilled jobs being created. Tourism, education and other associated industries may also benefit positively from the creation of the launch site. First we will have to view further details of the proposal which will then be considered by the North Planning Committee.”

The Council is one of nine partners in the CNSRP which was set up as an informal partnership of the main bodies with an economic and socio-economic remit in the Caithness and Sutherland area. Its aim is to coordinate and lead the response to socio-economic impacts associated with the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear site.

The partners of the CNSRP include The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Caithness Chamber of Commerce, The Scottish Government, Cavendish Dounreay Partnership and The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

16 Aug 2018