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Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

New Fuel Offering for Moffat

There’s a new fuel alternative for the people of Moffat from this week, as Certas Energy opened a new 24 hour self-service offering in the town.

The newly opened GULF branded premises replaces the old Pace site at the top end of Moffat High Street.

There are four fuelling positions and the site offers the latest state of the art self-service pumps which will be operating 24 hours a day.

Grace Cunningham of owners Certas Energy said “In addition to our new site in Moffat, we recently opened a PACE petrol station in Lockerbie. Our business model is a new concept focused on ensuring business and residential communities have a continuous and competitive fuel offer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We strongly believe that both our sites offer a more convenient and competitively priced place to fill up for the residents and businesses of Moffat and Lockerbie."

‘Made in Dumfries and Galloway’

At Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee (21 November) Members will hear a proposal from the Council’s trading Standard’s Team to develop a Made in Dumfries and Galloway brand which will help promote local businesses and local products.

Branding is essential in this consumers led society and this scheme, which will be delivered by Trading Standards, is aimed at supporting and promoting our unique local creative economy and heritage, food and drink and local produce. It will give local producers the opportunity to work closely with the regulator for the first time, learning how to comply with complex laws, rather than the first point of contact being through inspection for non-compliance.

As the origins of the goods would be a necessary part of the exercise, this would give Trading Standards the opportunity to verify that they are produced in Dumfries and Galloway; help businesses protect and promote their reputation by utilising the ‘Made in Dumfries and Galloway’ logo; and boost consumer confidence to buy locally.

The focus would be to ensure compliance of the goods with consumer protection laws and the proof of origin complements other local accreditation schemes which have been developed including Trusted Trader, Naturally D&G and the Biosphere Certification Mark.

Retailers would also be able to use the brand and logo as a marketing tool to promote the fact that they stock Dumfries and Galloway made goods. Small businesses with a limited budget will benefit from being part in the overall identity and will be able to network with others who have also achieved this status. New businesses will also be able to start off with good advice, as well as a ready made website, as Trading Standards will be able to have involvement from the beginning, alongside Business Gateway, leading them on their journey.

Vice Chair of EEI Committee Andrew Wood, recognises the strengths that National and local branding can bring to our regional product, though appreciates that this accreditation scheme must get buy-in from local producers, while working positively in parallel with existing schemes to deliver the enhanced outcomes and reassurance  required to further build on the high quality goods presently being offered.

Chair of EEI Committee, Councillor Archie Dryburgh commented: “I think this is an excellent proposal. Working alongside the other accreditation schemes in our region, this new ‘Made in Dumfries and Galloway” branding will not only help our local businesses promote their goods but will also promote our local products and encourage consumers to shop locally and be confident in the quality of the products they are purchasing, creating a brand of excellence for our regional products.”

MSP ‘delighted’ Dumfries to be signposted from northbound M74

MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the decision to include Dumfries on northbound signage on the M74.

The SNP MSP met with Transport Scotland bosses last month – where plans to update motorway signs to include Dumfries, Ecclefechan and other towns in the region before the end of the financial year were unveiled.

But Ms McAlpine wrote to Transport Scotland following the meeting to ask that Dumfries be included on the northbound signs – which was not part of the original plan.

The transport body agreed, and Ms McAlpine has said she is delighted that the ‘Queen of the South’ will now be on the map.

Commenting, she said: 

“It is great news that Transport Scotland plan to add more of the region’s towns to signs on the motorway – I have no doubt that this will increase visitor numbers and be a real boon to the local economy.

“I was even more pleased that they have agreed to include Dumfries on the sign just north of junction 19.

“As the region’s capital, and as ‘Queen of the South’  - Dumfries really does deserve greater recognition, and I think this will encourage more people to drop by and see what the town has to offer.”

South of Scotland Economic Partnership: Leaders of interim body announced.

The chair and lead officer for the new South of Scotland interim Economic Partnership have been announced.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown confirmed Professor Russel Griggs OBE will be the private sector chair of the interim body, while Rob Dickson will co-ordinate the partnership’s day to day work.

The Economic Partnership will be in place by the end of 2017. It will bring together public and private sector partners to deliver a fresh approach to economic development in the South of Scotland and will help prepare the ground for the establishment of the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency. 

Mr Brown said:

“I am pleased these two talented and influential individuals will be steering the work of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership.

“This new interim partnership has a vital role in delivering a fresh approach to addressing the economic needs and opportunities in the south of Scotland, ensuring that the area benefits in advance of the statutory agency we are committed to establishing..

“With the chair and lead officer in place, we will now look to confirm the other members of the Partnership to ensure that it is up and running by the end of 2017.”

Professor Griggs OBE said: “As a resident and someone who is very firmly committed to the success of the South of Scotland, I am delighted to take up this new role as chair of the interim partnership.  It’s an exciting time to be in the area.

“While I do not underestimate the economic challenges we need to tackle over the next couple of years, I am confident that we have the ambition and commitment to succeed.  After all we have a lot to build on.

“The Scottish Government’s long term commitment to the South of Scotland is clear, with investment in the railway, a new hospital for Dumfries and Galloway, discussions around a Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal and the establishment of a new enterprise agency.  I am determined that the new partnership will make the most of this unique opportunity, in advance of the new statutory agency.”

Mr Dickson added:

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to a different approach, tailored to supporting inclusive growth in the South of Scotland.   It’s not very often you have the opportunity to create something new in your career and I am very pleased to take up this role, co-ordinating the new interim partnership, in a part of the country that I know can be more economically successful than it is today.

“We will be able to try out different approaches that will contribute to the area’s prosperity and also help to put in place the right building blocks for the new agency.    The partnership will bring together the private and public sectors to ensure they are better aligned, working together and focusing hard on delivering priorities to benefit the South of Scotland.”

South of Scotland Enterprise Agency nearing inception

Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and infrastructure Committee  (21 Nov) will be asked to note the creation of a new enterprise agency dedicated to transformation of the economy in the South of Scotland and interim arrangements prior to its inception.

The new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency will cover Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders and offer a once in a generation opportunity to improve the level of investment in economic growth, enterprise, skills and innovation. It is intended that the new Agency will closely align its work with Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Funding Council and VisitScotland.

The creation of the new agency will require primary legislation and it is expected to be operational by 1 April 2020. To pave the way, an Interim Economic Partnership is being created to prepare the ground for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency.  To support the Partnership, an Advisory Group, who will have a mixture of skills and experience, predominantly from the private sector, but also some with experience of education and the Third Sector, will be established from business and other non-public sector stakeholders to agree a strategic plan to take activities and ideas forward.

The Partnership will operate throughout the interim period prior to the creation of the Agency.  The Partnership will be comprise, Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders Councils, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland.  A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by partner members setting out the high level aims and objectives of the partnership and underlining their commitment.

The Scottish Government has now appointed a private sector Chair of the Interim South of Scotland Economic Partnership: , OBE. Professor Griggs’ duties will start with the establishment of the Interim Economic Partnership and the interim arrangements designed to deliver early benefit from the new agency in advance of the legislative process

In addition to the above appointment, Rob Dickson from Scottish Borders Council has been appointed as the lead individual who will coordinate the partnership during the interim period.  Mr Dickson will be supported by an Executive Team made up of senior officers from the partner organisations.

Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Elaine Murray commented on the appointments: “Our Council welcomes this interim partnership which will provide innovative approaches to the economic needs of our area in addition to recognising and promoting new opportunities.  I am pleased to hear that both these positions have been successfully filled. These posts require excellent knowledge of both the economic challenges of the South of Scotland and of the economic development structures and environment and I am sure both Professor Griggs and Rob Dickson are ready for the challenges of these positions.”

Chair of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Archie Dryburgh said: “The creation of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency presents a unique opportunity for us to make a real impact on our economy and the wellbeing of our residents. This is our chance to bring forward innovative and creative solutions to address the economic challenges in our region.

But we can’t be complacent; this is a huge challenge which will require new investment from across all partnerships, including the Scottish Government.  Providing Committee Members agree, we will now start lobbying the Scottish Government to make additional resources available to support the work of the Interim Economic Partnership to ensure early benefits from the development of the new agency.”