• Focus North programme team with Nicky Marr, L-R Peter Faccenda, Catherine Souter, Nicky Marr, Nicola More, Simon Middlemas
    Focus North programme team with Nicky Marr, L-R Peter Faccenda, Catherine Souter, Nicky Marr, Nicola More, Simon Middlemas
  • Writer and broadcaster, Nicky Marr presenting to conference attendees
    Writer and broadcaster, Nicky Marr presenting to conference attendees
  • Magnus Davidson from NRS Dounreay presenting to conference attendees
    Magnus Davidson from NRS Dounreay presenting to conference attendees
  • Trudy Morris, CEO, Caithness Chamber of Commerce & Developing Young Workforce North Highland Lead presenting to conference attendees
    Trudy Morris, CEO, Caithness Chamber of Commerce & Developing Young Workforce North Highland Lead presenting to conference attendees

The event in Wick on 19 March, hosted by Focus North, set the scene for the future of Caithness and Sutherland and urged attendees to take control of the growing opportunities.

160+ attendees heard from a dynamic lineup of speakers covering nuclear decommissioning, renewable energy, peatland restoration, and space – which featured spokespeople from NRS Dounreay, Net Zero Nation, Orbex, West of Orkney Windfarm, Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm and Meygen.

Summing up the conference Focus North’s independent chair Simon Middlemas OBE said: “We have set the scene for the future of Caithness and Sutherland, and we want people to commit to helping us drive it forward.

“There is a staggering number of opportunities in this part of Scotland, and we need to work together to manage this huge operation.

“Collective local action is required to ensure these transformational initiatives are delivered, so the north of mainland Scotland generates growth, economic diversity, and leads the low carbon economy.

“The centre of opportunities is in the north!”

NRS managing director, Dounreay Division, Mark Rouse spoke of the future of NRS Dounreay and addressed concerns that it will come to an end in 2033 explaining that the region and its community can expect support for 10+ years to come through:

  • Helping build the education system
  • Supporting the local supply chain
  • Doubling the grant funding for supporting apprentices

The event programme

Central to the agenda was an industry panel session which featured, Richard Copeland, project director for Pentland Offshore Windfarm, Lesley Still, chief of spaceport operations at Orbex, Fraser Johnston, O&M Manager for Meygen, and Stuart McAuley, project director for West of Orkney Wind Farm, who each discussed project challenges, opportunities, and regional impact.

Following the industry panel, attendees heard from The Flow Country Partnership which was recently registered by the Office of the Scottish Charity Register. The charitable status will allow the partnership to directly carry out actions, with the potential of becoming the co-ordinating body for the World Heritage Site. It will now also be able to apply for and manage charitable funds to deliver future interpretation, a visitor facility, and other projects on the ground, while providing community benefit.

Furthermore, attendees received an update on the progress made by Focus North, learning about how the programme is meeting challenges underpinned by three key pillars – inspire our people, prepare our region and grow our economy.

During the conference, a bank of films was introduced to inspire the region – showcasing what makes people live and work in Caithness and Sutherland. The films artfully construct a compelling proposition that will attract more people.

A recent survey carried out by Focus North highlighted the amount of school leavers looking to stay in the region has dropped from 55% to 47%.

Increasing the pool of skilled people is Focus North’s number one priority and funding has been allocated to the Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s recruitment portal, Recruit North Highland, to coordinate recruitment for the region and attract new people to live, work and study there.

The funding has also allowed for the appointment of a talent attraction specialist, Lindsay Matthews, who will be on hand to support people looking for roles in the region and navigate relocating with a family. There will be enhancements across the website and a toolkit will also be produced for local businesses.

To prepare the region and grow the economy Focus North have:

  • Launched the Future Skills Initiative with initial funding of £100,000 via Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and NRS Dounreay which will support a minimum of four businesses employing an apprentice over three to four years
  • Focus North will support young people move into STEM jobs through a local partnership
  • Launched a regenerator accelerator – established in partnership with Net Zero Nation to support 15 local businesses reach net zero
  • Focus North has been successful in securing £30,000 towards supporting the initial cohort of peatland training which will see around 15 participants embark on a week of training and onsite learning delivered by the local college
  • Completed a detailed study of transport requirements and modelling to understand where they are and what is needed with partners, Highland Council and NRS Dounreay collaborating on a pilot programme based on findings
  • Significant partner investment to support Wick Harbour in emergency repairs
  • Successfully retained the Public Service Obligations status for Wick-Aberdeen flights​ with a detailed business case ​showing 20% passenger growth​

Focus North demonstrates that partnership working can deliver impactful results.

Businesses across Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney aiming to enter the rapidly expanding offshore renewable energy sector can apply to a regional Fit For Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme for the first time today (12th September 2023).

The industry leading F4OR supply chain growth programme will be delivered by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, and supported by £125,000 from offshore wind developer, the West of Orkney Windfarm.

F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney will provide up to seven companies with the opportunity to take part in the rigorous 12-18 month development programme, designed alongside offshore wind industry experts, and focused on improving business readiness for the offshore renewable energy market.

Davood Sabaei, F4OR Programme Manager at ORE Catapult, said: “We are excited to be launching our first ever F4OR programme in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney, and we look forward to working alongside local companies on their journey towards success in offshore renewables. It is also fantastic to have endorsement and support from offshore wind developer, the West of Orkney Windfarm, as part of this programme.

“F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney will build on the success of five F4OR regional programmes delivered by ORE Catapult in the North East of Scotland, North East of England, East Anglia and Suffolk, alongside national programmes run across Scotland and UK-wide, with over 100 companies supported. Participating companies experience an average 28% increase in turnover, and many have gone on to secure a wide range of new contracts.”

Last year, the ScotWind leasing auction created a multi-million pound opportunity for offshore renewable energy projects around the Scottish coastline.

Stephen Kerr, West of Orkney Windfarm Project Director, said: “We’ve been engaging with businesses and organisations in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney for a number of years, and although construction of ScotWind projects will not ramp up until the latter half of this decade, early engagement with the local supply chain is critical. Participation in this F4OR programme will equip forward-looking firms with the attributes they need to compete successfully for future contracts.

“The West of Orkney Windfarm has already committed to a £105 million investment initiative that will be enhanced to £140 million by third parties to support the offshore wind supply chain locally, in Scotland and across the UK ahead of a Final Investment Decision in 2026.”

JGC Engineering and Technical Services, based in Caithness, previously took part in a F4OR pilot programme.

Stephen Sutherland, Director of JGC, said: “JGC already had a presence in the offshore renewables market with some key industry leaders. However, as we were transitioning from existing markets into this new marketplace, we wanted to demonstrate to prospective clients we had the standards in place required to supply within these new and upcoming markets.

“For JGC, the programme did help us focus on areas we had not focused previously, which has also helped. What F4OR does is give your business a standard that you can market against within the renewables sector, giving prospective clients confidence in the standards you work to within your business.”

Applications are encouraged from established companies, with products or skills that are relevant to the offshore wind sector. To find out more information, go to F4OR and to apply, fill out an expression of interest form here: F4OR – ORE (catapult.org.uk)

Companies have until Tuesday 31 October to express their interest in taking part in F4OR Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney. The programme will start in December 2023.

  • The West of Orkney Windfarm and ORE Catapult will attend a multi-developer supply chain event at the Robert Rendall Building, Franklin Road, Stromness, Orkney from 9am on Tuesday, September 12, hosted by Orkney Islands Council.
  • On Thursday, September 14, West of Orkney Windfarm will also host a supply chain event at the Pentland Hotel in Thurso, in partnership with Caithness Chamber of Commerce where local businesses can meet members the project team.

The Supplier Development Programme (SDP) will hold the sixth annual Meet the Buyer North event on Tuesday, 12 September as an in-person event at the Music Halls in Aberdeen.

Partnered by the Scottish Government and the Commercial and Procurement Shared Services, this free event will allow local businesses based in Moray, Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Highland, Orkney Islands, Western Isles, and Shetland Islands Councils to connect directly with the public sector to learn about upcoming contracts and opportunities worth £14.5bn in Scotland.

Gillian Cameron, Programme Manager, Supplier Development Programme, said:

“Now in its 6th Year, Meet the Buyer North is an unmissable opportunity for businesses of all sizes to meet buyers and decision makers from across the public and private sectors.

“This is the first time we have held the event in Aberdeen, and the Supplier Development Programme is delighted to be partnering with the Commercial & Procurement Shared Services (CPSS) representing Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Highland Councils, Scottish Government, and our local authority partners to support more local businesses to find, win and keep public sector contracts at Meet the Buyer North.

Fiona Conti, Chair of the Supplier Development Programme and Strategic Procurement Manager at Commercial & Procurement Shared Services (CPSS), said:

“We are delighted to be hosting this year’s Meet the Buyer North event and this is your opportunity as a local/ regional business or social enterprise to meet with us, so that when we are looking for goods, services, or works we have a better understanding of who is out there”.

“There are fantastic benefits to having a public sector buyer as a customer for small businesses, including getting paid within 30 days as a legal maximum, which offers cashflow they can count on.”

On the day, suppliers will have the opportunity to listen to presentations on a wide range of topics that offer opportunities to grow and support their business or social enterprise.

This action-packed agenda will include Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, delivering the Ministerial Address, and joining an open panel Question and Answer session, which will include representation from Scottish Government, the Commercial & Procurement Shared Services and SDP offering SMEs, Social Enterprises and Third Sector Organisations a forum to talk all things procurement, so get your questions ready for this interactive session.

In addition to exhibitors from the Scottish Government, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Highland Council, other confirmed public sector exhibitors include buyers from Moray Council, Historic Environment Scotland, and Scottish Procurement Alliance.

Corporate members, Balfour Beatty Construction and Robertson Facilities Management will also be exhibiting on the day to engage suppliers in the North of Scotland and discuss the range of projects they have in their pipeline and upcoming supply chain opportunities.

More than 550 people have already registered to attend Meet the Buyer North 2023 on 12 September. Have you? It is a must-attend event for businesses of all sizes based in the North of Scotland.

Businesses must register for free tickets in advance via www.sdpscotland.co.uk.

Social Enterprise Scotland has announced the shortlist for the prestigious Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2023 recognising some of Scotland’s most pioneering social enterprises.

The Awards, organised by Social Enterprise Scotland, recognise excellence and outstanding achievements by social enterprises – businesses that reinvest their profits for social and environmental good – that demonstrate they’re improving and building a better economy and fairer society.

The shortlist includes social enterprises that are early-stage potential; those with a clearly evidenced environmental impact; health and social care organisations; businesses that are addressing issues around diversity, inclusion, and equity; and innovators using technology to achieve social impact. This year two categories recognise individuals working in a social enterprise that go above and beyond to make a difference – an employee and a volunteer.

With a total of 9 categories open to all Social Enterprises that operate in Scotland or individuals that work/volunteer in Scotland, the Awards present a real opportunity to showcase the very best of the sector. They highlight the agility, ability, and active role that social enterprises play in building places, supporting communities, and positively impacting our environment and wellbeing.

This year, three new categories have been introduced providing further opportunities for social enterprises and those who work with them to be recognised for their impact. These are: ‘Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Justice Award’; ‘Tech for Good Award’; ‘Social Enterprise Volunteer Champion Award’.

These are in addition to the existing six award categories, which are ‘Social Enterprise of the Year Scotland Award’, ‘One to Watch Award’, ‘Buy Social – Market Builder Award’, ‘Health and Social Care Award’, ‘Environmental Social Enterprise Award’ and ‘Social Enterprise Employee Champion Award’.

Kim Wallace, Director of Membership and Policy at Social Enterprise Scotland, said: “There is always much to celebrate about the impact of social enterprise in Scotland at both a local and national level. We were delighted by the quality, diversity, and geographic spread of applications this year with application numbers almost back to pre-pandemic levels. This is encouraging as this reflects the resilience, determination, and growth of the social enterprise movement. Our Awards are designed to raise the profile of social enterprises and show that there is another way of doing business. We know that without such fabulous organisations on the ground, this would of course not be possible. We want to take this opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our 2023 applicants and the hard work and dedication of all of Scotland’s inspiring social enterprises and social entrepreneurs.”

Awards ceremony

The winners will be announced at an evening awards ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 26th October hosted by Beatrice Wishart, Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP.

The 2023 Social Enterprise Awards Scotland are proudly supported by our sponsors: Social Enterprise of the Year Award – Gold Sponsor: Keegan & Pennykid; One to Watch Award – Bold Studio; Environmental Award – Circular Communities Scotland; Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Justice Award – Social Investment Scotland; Health and Social Care Award – The ALLIANCE: The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland; Tech For Good Award – Breeze Digital (a Communities Enterprise Group social enterprise); ‘Buy Social’ Market Builder Award – Social Enterprise Academy; Volunteer Champion Award – Volunteer Scotland.

More information can be found at socialenterprise.scot/awards

A full list of finalists is listed below.

1. Social Enterprise of the Year Award Category sponsored by Keegan & Pennykid

This award is for a social enterprise that has demonstrated a clear vision, excellence in impact, customer service, and management, plus that little something extra in terms of creativity and innovation.

Shapinsay Development Trust

Point and Sandwick Trust

Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company

Kibble

 

2. One to Watch Award Category sponsored by Bold Studio

A social enterprise that shows early potential and can clearly articulate their future vision, how they are going to achieve it, and how they will drive growth in their business.

Carrick Rugby Football Club (SCIO)

Hike and Bike Hub Galashiels

Pride Outside CIC

Embers Aquatics CIC

Àban

 

3. Environmental Award Category sponsored by Circular Communities Scotland

For a social enterprise in the green and environmental sectors that can show a clear, evidenced environmental impact.

Home Basics (Tweeddale) Co Ltd

Stitch the Gap

Move On Wood Recycling

Merry-go-round

 

4. Building Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, & Justice sponsored by Social Investment Scotland

Social justice is fundamental to the social enterprise movement. This category is open to all social enterprises that are addressing issues around diversity, inclusion, and equity.

All Cleaned Up

BE United

Highland BlindCraft

Pride Outside CIC

Resilience Learning Partnership

 

5. Health and Social Care sponsored by The ALLIANCE: The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland

For a social enterprise in the health and social care sector with excellent vision and strategic direction, clear leadership, evidenced social, environmental, and community impact.

Eat, Sleep, Ride CIC

Solstice Nurseries

Resilience Learning Partnership

Care Opinion (Scotland) CIC

Macaulay College CIC

 

6. Tech for Good sponsored by Breeze Digital (a Communities Enterprise Group social enterprise)

This award recognises a social enterprise that is using technology to achieve its social impact. This could be through developing a new product or service or enhancing their service delivery.

Red Chair Highland Ltd

Showcase the Street

Care Opinion (Scotland) CIC

Social Print and Copy CIC

JRS Knowhow

 

7. ‘Buy Social’ – Market Builder sponsored by the Social Enterprise Academy

For a social enterprise, public sector body or private sector organisation that has demonstrably made efforts within its own organisation and remit to create more opportunities to buy from social enterprises.

The Good Stuff Network Edinburgh (operated by Edinburgh Social Enterprise)

Circular Communities Scotland Reuse Consortium

South Lanarkshire Council

 

8. Employee Champion

This award recognises an individual working in a social enterprise that goes above and beyond to make a difference.

Joyce Murray, CEO and Founder, Positive Changes Scotland CIC

Lisa Gemmell, Community and Relationship Mentor, Be-inn Unity CIC

Rachel MacPhail, Employability Coordinator, Inspiralba

Rajkiran Atwal, General Manager, Merry-go-round

 

9. Volunteer Champion sponsored by Volunteer Scotland

This award recognises an individual volunteering with a social enterprise that goes above and beyond to make a difference.

Cathy Costello, Volunteer & Trustee, Ayr Gaiety Partnership

Janie Conlon, Tartan Volunteer, Grassmarket Community Project

Sandra Hill, Volunteer Mentor, Positive Changes Scotland CIC

Susan Muir, Volunteer Instructor and Charity Trustee, Kanzen Karate

Ticket prices on hold for a further six months

A fare freeze on the Clyde & Hebrides and Northern Isles ferry networks has been extended for a further six months.

Ticket prices will be held at current levels from October 2023 until the end of March 2024 to help people and businesses from Scotland’s remote rural and island communities. A review of future fares will also take place to ensure that services remain sustainable, affordable and fair, with feedback from island communities being a key factor in deciding the future shape and priorities.

The fare freeze will allow operators to release their timetables from October onwards.

Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop said:

“The decision to extend the fares freeze on our ferry networks will help support the island communities that depend on these vital services.

“The Scottish Government is acutely aware of the current challenges being faced by these communities, particularly with disruption to services on the Clyde and Hebrides network, although the situation will improve as new tonnage starts to join the fleet from next year.

“The ongoing cost of living impacts are also arguably more challenging for our islands than any other part of the country, so I hope this fares freeze will continue to help residents and businesses from that perspective.

“Our Fair Fares Review, which will report by the end of this year and recommend a package of measures which can be considered for implementation from 2024-25 onwards, will aim to ensure a sustainable and integrated approach to public transport fares that supports the future long term viability of a public transport system that is accessible, available and affordable for people throughout Scotland.”

After more than three years of preparatory work, a voluntary committee has been successful in its application to the Scottish Government to have the Caithness and Sutherland section of the Far North Line (FNL) designated as the 9th Community Rail Partnership (CRP) route in Scotland. The announcement was made by the Scottish Transport Minister, Kevin Stewart MSP, at an event to celebrate community rail across Scotland held in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday the 24th of May.

This designation should bring real benefits to the local communities along the line and also create opportunities to promote the line, its communities, and the attractions that it connects. CRP status provides an opportunity for greater community involvement in planning, development and operation of the line. The main aims will be to increase passenger footfall in local communities, promote social inclusion, increase the use of sustainable travel, and bring about improvements to the stations and services of the line, hopefully growing passenger numbers.

The FNL CRP will help communities to develop and deliver community projects, events, and activities that will encourage visitors to slow down and enjoy our amazing villages and settlements, creating economic opportunities as well as moving people away from the tourism hot spots and the speed of the NC500. This will be done by recruiting and coordinating a group of active volunteers in each community which in turn will offer opportunities for our local businesses which are essential to the sustainability of our fragile communities and crucial in our aims to reverse depopulation and create younger, more dynamic communities in the future.

The added benefit, and another crucial aim, is that through promoting sustainable travel by developing low carbon transport initiatives (including promoting cycling and walking opportunities that start and finish in our local communities) as well as encouraging people to use the train, we will help our climate challenge aims and reduce emissions, helping to move towards the goal of Net Zero.

  • Michael Willmot (left) and David Watson flank transport minister Kevin Stewart.
    Michael Willmot (left) and David Watson flank transport minister Kevin Stewart.

Scottish Minister of Transport, Kevin Stewart MSP said “Community Rail Partnerships are the embodiment of very passionate and dedicated people who volunteer on our railways. The work they do improves stations and lines across the country, bringing together communities, and giving greater local buy in to Scotland’s Railway. That is why I am delighted to approve and welcome the new Far North Line Community Rail Partnership.”

David Watson, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust Manager and FNL CRP Chair, explains: The Far North Line is a world class but underperforming asset. The journey itself is an amazing experience with an incredible variety of natural and cultural assets along its length.  Although it is restricted by its engineering it presents an amazing opportunity to help sustain the communities that it serves. The CRP will form a link between the railway and local communities, bringing together a range of stakeholders, including local businesses and services, along the rail corridor to develop and promote the line, the local communities, and its attractions.”

It is also hoped that the Partnership can boost tourism and make the rail service more responsive to local needs.  There is renewed interest in sustainable transport not just between train and bus but through use of other transport resources such as e-bikes, and community transport schemes. Michael Willmot, Director of Helmsdale Station CIC and CRP secretary says: “recognising there has been growing concern about the number of cars and motorhomes that have been attracted by the success of the North Coast 500 promotion, this CRP should help to develop alternatives to private vehicles for exploring the North Highlands Region as well as providing improved public transport for local communities. There are amazing opportunities for visitors to slow down and immerse themselves in the unique culture of Caithness and Sutherland.” 

In delivering its ambitions, the Far North Line CRP will work in partnership with ScotRail, the local rail user group – the Friends of the Far North Line, and representatives of communities and tourism organisations along the route. David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said: “I wholeheartedly welcome the establishment of the Far North Line Community Rail Partnership. “We look forward to the journey ahead and the positive impact that the CRP will undoubtedly bring in enhancing the route’s potential as a vital lifeline and catalyst for economic growth throughout Caithness and Sutherland.”

The current members of the management group include a number of experienced community development professionals with a track record of raising external funding and delivering successful community projects. The group also has representation from Venture North (the Destination Management Group for Caithness & Sutherland) and the North Highland Climate Hub, to ensure that we are truly promoting sustainable tourism development with environmentally responsible projects to help the future of the communities of Caithness and Sutherland for years to come.

If you are interested in receiving further information or in joining the CRP Management Group, please contact Michael Willmot at helmsdalestation@gmail.com

From 1 July 2023, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will stop attending automatic fire alarm (AFA) call outs to commercial business and workplace premises, such as factories, offices, shops and leisure facilities – unless a fire has been confirmed.

Dutyholders with responsibility for workplace premises should safely investigate a fire alarm before calling 999, as our control room operators will now be asking for confirmation of an actual fire, or signs of fire, before sending the nearest resource.

Signs of fire include: visual flame, smell of smoke, smell of burning, or any other fire alarm signal – other than a single smoke detector.

This change does not apply to sleeping premises, such as hospitals, care homes, hotels or domestic dwellings who will continue to get an emergency response.

More information on how to prepare your business for these changes and your responsibilities as a dutyholder can be found online here.

Circularity Scotland has today (21st February 2023) announced £22 million of cashflow support measures to help Scotland’s brewers, distillers, importers and drinks manufacturers prepare for the introduction of Scotland’s deposit return scheme.

The package includes:

  • Up front charges removed for lower sales volumes
  • Improved payment terms for lower sales volumes
  • Simple labelling option for niche products, alleviating administrative burden
  • The support package is particularly designed to help SMEs, who have previously voiced concerns about the impact of the scheme on their business’ cashflow.

To address these concerns, Circularity Scotland is removing the day one and month one charges for all producers, up to a threshold of three million units per year. It is also providing two month credit terms on deposits and fees up to the same volume threshold to reduce the working capital impact on all producers.

The three million unit threshold has been established to ensure that the thousands of smaller scale producers selling in Scotland benefit more proportionately from the cashflow support. This will particularly help companies like craft brewers, wine importers and craft spirit producers. The two month credit terms will be made available to all producers, regardless of their size, ensuring all producers within the scheme are treated equally.

Circularity Scotland has also confirmed that it will be offering the option to use self-adhesive barcode labels for producers placing less than 25,000 units per year of a specific product on to the Scottish market. This will provide a simple and straightforward administrative solution for independent producers and importers for whom the cost of changing packaging to introduce new barcodes could be prohibitive.

David Harris, Chief Executive of Circularity Scotland said: “Circularity Scotland was established by industry to meet their obligations under the deposit return scheme as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. This announcement is further evidence of how we are continuing to innovate and identify additional ways to mitigate the pressure on businesses. We know that smaller producers in particular have been concerned about the cashflow impacts of the scheme, and these measures will address those concerns.

Circularity Scotland has successfully secured over £100m of third-party funding to establish the infrastructure of the deposit return scheme, with only minimal up-front funding from the very largest producers. This funding approach allows producers both large and small to benefit on equal terms from this investment in world-class infrastructure and leading-edge technology and only pay their share of the costs once the scheme is in operation.

We have already announced reductions in producer fees of up to 40%, while also being able to offer the highest return handling fees of comparable schemes anywhere in the world. These additional support measures further demonstrate our confidence in being able to deliver ongoing operational efficiencies once the scheme has gone live. We are committed to ensuring that the deposit return scheme works for Scotland, is cost effective for business and helps protect our environment for generations to come.”

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said: “This is a big and welcome change that responds directly to many of the concerns that have been raised, particularly those from smaller producers like craft brewers. It addresses initial cash flow challenges, and provides a pragmatic and simple solution to the issues raised around barcodes for smaller product lines. This is a package that gives businesses the clarity and confidence they need to be part of Scotland’s deposit return scheme.

“Over the last few months I have been meeting industry regularly to listen to their feedback and this industry-led solution has been designed in direct response to its concerns. I remain committed to a pragmatic approach to implementation between now and the 16 August. By working together we can lead the UK in delivering a deposit return scheme which will increase Scotland’s recycling rates from around 50% to 90%, cut emissions, tackle littering and address public concerns about the impact of plastic and other waste.”

Businesses looking for more information on these measures or how they can register for the scheme should contact Circularity Scotland’s customer support team at www.circularityscotland.com or on 0141 401 0899.

 

Background

There are three elements to the cashflow support:

  1. Providing two months credit terms on deposits, producers fee and retained EAN/barcode fees for all producers.
  2. Removing the ‘Day One’ charge for those producers who choose not to introduce Scotland specific barcodes.
  3. Removing the ‘Month One’ charge on deposits and producer fees for all types of products.

The three elements of support are provided up to a threshold of 3,000,000 single use drinks containers (known as scheme articles) put on the Scottish market per year.

This level has been established to ensure that the thousands of smaller scale producers selling in Scotland benefit more proportionately from the cashflow support.

The credit terms will be made available to all producers, regardless of their size to ensure that Circularity Scotland maintains its principle that all producers are treated equally.

Circularity Scotland was established by industry to meet their obligations under the deposit return scheme as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Circularity Scotland is a private company is completely self-funding and has secured over £100m of third-party funding to establish the infrastructure of the deposit return scheme, with only minimal up-front funding from the very largest producers.

Please visit Circularity Scotland Website for more info: https://circularityscotland.com/news/21-feb-2023

Dunnet Bay Distillers has been granted Planning Permission to refurbish the 200-year-old Mill and surrounding land at Castletown, near the distillery’s headquarters.

The Caithness-based company which owns the multi-award-winning Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka brands, acquired the historic Mill in 2021. The restoration and fit-out of the refurbished building could cost up to £4million.

The plans involve a full refurbishment of the dilapidated, listed Mill building, with a view to creating further resources for the rapidly expanding business including a visitor centre and a whisky distillery.

Dunnet Bay Distillers products sell globally, enjoying strong sales throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK as well as being distributed in 24 countries across the world.

The eco-friendly spirits company was established in 2014 by husband-and-wife team, Claire Murray and Martin Murray.

Claire Murray, co-founder and co-director of Dunnet Bay Distillers, said: “We are delighted that we now have planning permission to convert the old Mill and thank Highland Council for its decision.  We have been working hard with our plans and are looking forward to sharing them in the coming months.  The warehouse building has already commenced work and we hope to open a temporary café and small visitor area soon.”

Earlier this year, the company was granted permission to develop a temporary visitor centre, café, and shop near the site of the Old Mill.

Martin Murray, co-founder and co-director of Dunnet Bay Distillers, added: “We’re excited at the prospect of regenerating this fine old building which has lain empty for many years.   The Mill will become a Caithness landmark once again and its development will transform our already successful business.”

The company earlier this year asked anyone with connections to the Mill to get in touch to tell their personal stories about the building.  The company intends to embed the story of its history into the fabric of the building as they create a new destination on the north coast of Scotland. “We aim to make it into a local destination distillery and so the history is something we wish to remember,” said Martin Murray.

Andrea Wise, Director of Organic Architects, said: “This is a rare opportunity for a thriving local business to regenerate this landmark building which has been unable to find a user for decades. The distillery will be powered by green electricity, making it one of the most sustainable distilleries in the UK industry.” The designs will be contemporary whilst respecting the fabric and style of the old building.

The company has not yet announced when work will commence.

-ENDS-

NOTES TO EDITORS

Image link: https://we.tl/t-PA9iKV7EPI (expires in 7 days’ time)

Jo Jacobius

Dunnet Bay Distillers Press Office

c/o Axiom Communications

jo@axiom-uk.com

+44 (0)7850338998

+44 (0)208 347 8206