Caithness Courier headlines for February 27, 2013

TRANSPORT
Scotland has been blasted by a far north business chief for the lack of action on improving a stretch o the A9 which is vital to future economic success. Caithness Chamber of Commerce chief executive Trudy Morris, has criticised the delays into carrying out an investigation to implement improvements at the Berriedale Braes. The 220,000 project, to examine ways of redesigning the route through the switchback section of the trunk road, was given the green light in July.

DOUNREAY’s
operators are keeping mum about the discovery of an empty alcohol container on the site, which has sparked a major security probe. The find of what is believed to have been a beer bottle, led to over 200 workers being breathalysed early last week and prompted a step-up in search procedures when workers arrived at the start of their shifts.

AN
Irish firm – one of several to have won multi-million pound construction contracts in Caithness and the rest of the Highlands – have hit back at claims it does not pump any of that money into the region’s economy. A raft of major Highland Council and other public sector tenders, to build new schools roads and flood schemes, have been controversially snapped up by firms from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Northern Irish firm, Graham Construction, which has clinched lucrative UK Government and council work, has defended its record in the Highlands.

NO
new buildings will be constructed to contain nuclear waste at Dounreay after it was announced that all intermediate-level material will be removed from the site. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has declared its intention to remove the remainder of the nuclear fuel that it inherited from the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

A PLAN
to build an outdoor centre at Rumster could cost over 200,000 according to Alison Kirk who chairs the group spearheading the project. She yesterday that the aim was to carry out the development in phases, with a cabin-type building - containing a meeting room, small kitchen, toilets and shower – ready by the summer. A visitor centre providing information on walks and activities in the area, as well as plants and animals, is also being planned while dormitories could be added around 2015.

COUNCIL
house tenants in the Highlands hoping to flit into smaller homes because of the crippling impact of the looming “bedrooms tax”, have little chance, because of a severe shortage of one-bedroom properties, it has emerged. About 3000 tenants, including those in housing association homes, will be hit by benefit cuts totalling 2 million because of the controversial rule change in April.l Senior councillors held long-awaited talks with Liberal Democrat MPs John Thurso, Charles Kennedy and Danny Alexander, on Friday to debate the UK government’s heavily criticised benefits shake-up.

A CAITHNESS
farmer won the championship at Dingwall & Highland Marts Ltd’s sale of park-type registered Cheviot females last Thursday. Judge W.A. Mackay, of South Balkeith, Tain awarded the title to the first prize ewe lamb from Messers J & J Farquhar’s flock at Smidddyquoy, Watten. Sired by Roadside Mighty fine, she realised 520 from Alan Grant, Innergillie, Fife at the Harbro sponsored show and sale.