The Highland Council has today granted planning permission in principle to Port of Ardersier Ltd to establish an off-shore renewables port facility at the former McDermott Fabrication Yard at Whiteness Head to the west of Nairn.
The site, which extends to over 3km2 of ground reclaimed from the foreshore in the 1970s for the fabrication and construction of off-shore platforms associated with the oil and gas industry, will once again be used to support off-shore development, but this time within the off-shore renewables sector. The development has potential to create 2,500 direct jobs.
The proposal is focused on securing construction of off-shore wind turbines and their bases and requires the Port Authority to rebuild the existing harbour wall and carry out considerable dredging activity, including the partial removal of Whiteness Head, a sand spit, back to the extent it was when the site was last used in 2001.
The applicant has been working in partnership with the Council, SNH, SEPA and other regulators to ensure that the proposal will not have an adverse impact on the integrity of the qualifying features of the Moray Firth SAC and SPA.
The site owners are now awaiting consent from the Government through Marine Scotland and Transport Scotland for a marine licence and a harbour revision order which could be in place in the coming weeks.
Council Leader Drew Hendry said: “The prospect of this once bustling oil fabrication yard being brought back into active service is really exciting news for the Highlands. The business promises to generate high quality jobs and to re-establish Ardersier on Scotland’s industrial map.”
Councillor Thomas Prag, Chairman of the Planning, Environment and Development Committee, added: “With Nigg and Kishorn back in business and now Ardersier in prospect, the former oil yards will once again play a big part in the economic health of the Highlands.”
It is anticipated that further applications for matters specified by conditions will be submitted in the near future before any work starts on site.
Press Release, January 31, 2014