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15

Industrial park plans make up part of Scrabster’s expansion plans

As a north of Scotland harbour aims to exploit new opportunities in oil and gas and the renewables sectors, an industrial park is being planned as part of expansion plans

As a north of Scotland harbour aims to exploit new opportunities in oil and gas and the renewables sectors, an industrial park is being planned as part of £50 million expansion plans.

Scrabster Harbour Trust will lay out the park on 30 acres of land in Caithness it has acquired from Scrabster Farm.

The trust is working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to develop the port as the supply base of choice for companies working in the oil and gas fields in the Atlantic Frontier – and those targeting marine power developments in the Pentland Firth.

Last week the Crown Estate confirmed it is opening up the firth seabed for applications for commercial-scale marine energy development. It is estimated that more than 700mW of energy could be generated by 2020.

ScottishPower also said it expects to lodge planning applications next summer for a large-tidal stream projects in the Pentland Firth.

HIE sees Scrabster harbour as one of the linchpins of the major push to diversify the far north economy and replace the hundreds of jobs being shed as Dounreay is decommissioned.

An economic impact study has shown that the port presently generates 339 full-time equivalent jobs and is forecast to provide an additional 225 jobs as a result of further development. William Calder, the trust chairman, said:

"Given the scale of the port's impact, it is important that it continues to expand and improve its infrastructure and facilities to diversity traffic and attract new business"

Sandra McCaughey, HIE's head of operations locally, said the plans will allow the harbour to move into new markets while looking after existing customers: "

These new facilities will give it the potential to greatly increase the contribution it makes in Caithness and beyond."

Author: Jo Amey