The report that was published yesterday on Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission’s (SHE Transmission’s) £1.1billion Caithness-Moray project shows that almost two thirds of the total expenditure (£643.5m) will be spent with UK-based suppliers and contractors.

One of SHE Transmission’s commitments in delivering projects of this scale is to go further to ensure that communities in the local areas where it is working are able to share in and benefit directly from its investment.

To provide a measure of success in terms of employment on site throughout its supply chain, a snapshot was taken of employees working on the project sites at 31 March 2016 and found that a total of 144 were long term residents of Caithness and Sutherland; while 73 were long term residents in Moray.

Commenting, SHE Transmission Project Director Tony Scott – who is responsible for the reinforcement of the existing onshore transmission network in the Highlands and Moray - said:

“These figures give a measure of the number of opportunities for local people that are currently being supported directly on our sites - with our business, with our major contractors and particularly through the successful engagement of the capacity that exists in the local economies of Caithness and Moray.

“Our local economic impact extends much further, including the accommodation services which are used by staff from outside the local area - with total expenditure to date exceeding £4.5million – and a wide range of other spending with local firms.

“The activities taking place on site will vary at each stage of the project, but we believe these figures are a fair representation of the direct contribution we are making to local jobs while major construction work is under way. Investing in energy infrastructure is essential to meet the future needs of consumers all over the country, but we are also proud of the significant economic benefits the Caithness-Moray project is delivering on the ground today.”

To support its engagement with the local supply chain, SSE established the Open4Business (O4B) Highlands and Islands portal in 2012 to enable local suppliers to access opportunities more easily, both with SSE businesses directly and with their larger contractors. Before the Caithness-Moray project entered construction, well attended events were held in both Caithness and Moray to introduce the project and give both businesses and individuals the chance to discuss opportunities with SHE Transmission and its lead contractors.

To date, contracts with a value in excess of £47million have been awarded through O4B in conjunction with key large contractors involved in the Caithness-Moray work such as Balfour Beatty, BAM Nutall and ABB.

The Scottish Council for Development and Industry has been a partner in the O4B initiative. SCDI Regional Director Fraser Grieve said:

“This welcome report not only highlights the contribution of the Caithness-Moray project in reinforcing our electricity network for generations to come but in making sure that as much economic benefit is realised by local communities and contractors as possible.

“SCDI is pleased to be part of SSE’s O4B initiative which has opened up opportunities to businesses of all sizes to enable them to benefit from this work, whilst ensuring that all those working on their sites are paid the living wage as part of SSE’s living wage commitment.”

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