Highlands & Islands to receive £3.8m
Scotland's first Hybrid Roll On Roll Off (RORO) ferry, energy efficiency in 210 social houses and a natural heritage learning experience in Orkney are some of the projects attracting funding through the sixth round of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil, announced £3.86 million funding including £1.8 million to enable Stromness to become the centre of excellence a new marine renewables service base.
Mr Neil said:
"This is a fantastic boost to the economy across the Highlands and Islands. A number of major infrastructure projects, which will deliver direct benefits back into their local communities as well as supporting wider economic development, can now move forward.
"Earlier this month I unveiled Scotland's Infrastructure Investment Plan where the Scottish Government will utilise various funding streams including ERDF to stimulate growth in our economy. European funds play a crucial role in supporting the Highlands and Islands and I am delighted with the breadth of projects which have attracted significant investment in this round of funding."
Stephen Hagan, Orkney Islands Council Convener added:
"This funding announcement represents a significant step forward in our three-port strategy for the future of wave and tidal energy generation in Orkney.
"With the redeveloped Lyness pier already operational and in use by developers, and the extension to Hatston pier imminent, the funding green light for Copland's Dock is another major milestone in our efforts to position Orkney well ahead of the game as the premier location for marine renewables in Scotland and the UK.
"We welcome the funding and the Government's recognition of the potential for marine renewables to be a major economic stimulator for Scotland."
Details of the projects receiving funding include:
£1,815,000 Stromness - Marine Renewables Service Base
The Copland's Dock project will compliment the facilities at Hatston and Lyness, which are currently under construction with the aid of ERDF. Heavy industrial/ large renewables machine handling will focus on these locations with their deepwater quaysides with sizeable laydown areas, away from centres of population. Provision of a marine renewables service base for Stromness will assist the area build on its strengths and form part of the proposed plan for Stromness to become a centre of excellence for marine renewables, helping to retain and attract a vibrant population.
£857,500 Highland Energy & Efficiency in Social Housing
This project will deliver a programme of works to improve the thermal and energy efficiency of 210 social housing units in Council ownership and located in deprived and rural locations. The units to be tackled are more difficult to address due to their scattered rural location. The project will delivered holistically to ensure that the space and water heat generated from renewable based sources is not lost because of poor insulation. However, it should be noted at the outset that grant is only being sought for the renewable heating systems elements.
£450,000 Hybrid RORO Ferry
In 2010 CMAL started work in partnership with the administrations in Northern Ireland and Ireland on an Interreg IVA (Cross Border) called the Small Ferries Project. This project was successfully completed in September 2011 and has produced common designs and procurement strategies for small ferries which could be used by each of the partners to serve remote communities off the Scottish and Irish coastlines. This strategy will help reduce overhead costs and increase the potential for efficiency savings through more joined up working across the jurisdictions. Arising from this project, CMAL will now develop the initiative further within the Scottish context by procuring the world's first Hybrid RORO ferry and develop the corresponding shore infrastructure to enable the hybrid vessels to charge their batteries.
£280,000 Developing the Outer Hebrides Hydrogen Infrastructure
The objective of the project is to continue the development of infrastructure for demonstrating the potential for hydrogen technologies to deliver a low carbon society. The proposed project builds on a number of completed hydrogen projects involving Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) and Lews Castle College University of the Highlands and Islands.
£180,115 Enjoy Wild Orkney - Revenue
£134,182 Enjoy Wild Orkney
Enjoy Wild Orkney, is a 3 year project to encourage people of all ages to explore, learn about and experience the rich natural heritage of Orkney. It follows widespread recognition through consultation that Orkney's natural heritage is not well promoted compared with its other heritage assets.
Enjoy Wild Orkney will put in place sustainable measures to continually promote the islands as a wildlife tourism destination to the UK and global marketplace - helping to benefit the local economy, generate income for businesses and enable the economically active to live in Orkney. Four new jobs will be created directly to engage with communities and visitors, and to develop an annual Orkney Nature Festival. The project will provide Continuing Professional Development for tourism operators to build awareness and knowledge of surrounding natural assets. Project staff, volunteers and local communities will learn about Orkney's built and cultural heritage, encouraging an integrated approach to promoting all of the islands' heritage attractions.
£155,000 North Lands Creative Glass (NLCG)Development Programme
The community is actively working on tourism projects and an energy project with other villages in Caithness where NLCG is seen as a pivotal organisation for the village. NLCG proposes to sympathetically reconfigure and extend existing owned premises to provide a gallery, workshop space and residential accommodation, developing underutilised external space, benefiting from previous upgrade works which have ensured the buildings good condition. Building work will be to a high design specification in line with NLCG's aim to reduce carbon emissions and running costs. The project maximises resources and opportunities to ensure long term sustainable development and improve social inclusion for the area. Proposed outreach will raise aspiration, provide resources and training for artists in a demographically challenged area. The financial crisis has left limited local and national school and college art provision. NLCG is unique in Scotland in expanding specialist activities in a location where the environment, culture and heritage inspire high quality work.
£70,600 Supporting the Outer Hebrides Hydrogen Infrastructure
The ERDF Revenue project will provide staff to support the operation of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's (CnES) H2seed Facility, to manage the demonstration projects proposed in the associated ERDF capital application and provide training and dissemination actions through the Hydrogen Laboratory at Lews Castle College University of the Highlands and Islands. It is proposed that the project will run for a period of two years.
These projects represent the final full round of funding from the 2007-13 ERDF Programme.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is used to support research and innovation, enterprise growth and entrepreneurship, urban regeneration and rural development.