Scrabster Harbour Funding Print
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Monday, 22 November 2010 21:31
The Highland Council has welcomed the announcement by Highlands and Islands Enterprise to award Scrabster Harbour Trust £5 million to help develop the harbour as a key component of Scotland's renewable energy infrastructure.

Convener Councillor Sandy Park said: "The news of the approval of £5m from HIE should be very welcome not just in the north but throughout the Highlands. Scrabster is well placed to take advantage of renewable energy developments in the Pentland Firth, and oil and gas developments in the Atlantic province. We hope that Scottish Govt will provide the remaining funds to meet the significant gap which remains for this flagship project."

Businesses and communities in Caithness, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides look set to benefit from investment in major infrastructure projects approved today (Monday 22 November) 2010 by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The HIE Board (Monday 22 November 2010) has approved grants totalling more than £13m to develop three major projects.

In Caithness, Scrabster Harbour Trust has been awarded £5m to help develop the harbour as a key component of Scotland's renewable energy infrastructure.

In Orkney, HIE plans to invest £2.95m to create six new industrial units at Hatston Industrial Estate in Kirkwall. This would meet the needs of tidal energy developers using the European Marine Energy Centre test site at Eday.

In South Uist, community landowner Sealladh na Beinne Moire will receive £5m of HIE investment towards a £9.9m project to create new marine leisure and fisheries facilities, and provide access to land for community and commercial development.

Alex Paterson, HIE Chief Executive, said:"These are three highly ambitious projects which HIE believes have the potential both to transform their local economies and make a significant contribution to the region's growth.

"This is a very challenging time for all of us in the public sector in Scotland. Everyone knows resources are tight, but HIE remains fully committed to our objectives to stimulate sustainable economic growth in every part of the Highlands and Islands.

"The renewable energy potential of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters forms a major opportunity which the investments in Scrabster and Kirkwall will help to realise.

"The Lochboisdale Port of Entry project will produce powerful social and economic impacts in a fragile part of the Highlands and Islands.

"That combination of economic and community development has been a hallmark of HIE's approach for many years, and continues to lie at the heart of everything we do."

Willy Roe, Chair of HIE, said:"Investment in these three projects will not only produce benefits for Caithness, Orkney and South Uist. It will enable each of these areas to contribute further to Scotland's economic recovery and growth.

"As a major local infrastructure project, each one should also come as a welcome boost for the Highlands and Islands construction industry, creating opportunities for local contractors in particular."

Further detail on each of the three projects follows.

Scrabster Harbour
Scrabster Harbour occupies a strategically important location next to the Pentland Firth, the first area in the UK to be made available for commercial-scale development of wave and tidal energy.

Developing the huge potential of marine renewable energy in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters will require major investment in infrastructure and services over the coming years.

HIE and its partners in the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership believe marine renewable energy can play a key role in the local economy.

A growing marine energy industry would help offset an impending employment gap created by the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear facility, retaining highly skilled engineering jobs in the region.

The creation of a modern, multi-purpose pier would be a major step towards achieving that vision.