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Buckie Harbour misses out on Brexit fund cash

By Alan Beresford

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MORAL Council have been criticised for missing out on a share of nearly £2 million in funding for harbours.

The Scottish Government has backed a £1.8 million fund aimed at helping ports which have lost income from landing fees due to Brexit.

More than £500,000 has been allocated to the harbours at Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead, but no applications were fielded by Moray Council, which runs six harbours, including Buckie.

While the tight timescales for project delivery were cited by the local authority for missing out – although a total of 20 harbours around Scotland cashed in – news that Moray had missed out was greeted with disappointment by Buckie councillors.

Councillor Sonya Warren said: "I was really enthusiastic when I heard about the fund and the potential for our harbours here in Moray.

"However, it was with great disappointment that I learned that the council had no projects which could be brought to bear in time to meet the funding deadlines.

"It is very disappointing indeed that there were no shovel ready projects which could have been submitted for funding or items of equipment identified which could have been purchased with these funds to improve the workings of the harbour.

"I understand that the timescales were tight but the rules were the same for all local authorities and 20 harbours managed to benefit from the fund, including Macduff just down the road. Perhaps it would be worth looking into having projects which can be delivered at relatively short notice so we don't miss out in future."

Councillor Tim Eagle said that Buckie "cannot afford" to miss these funding opportunities

He continued: "I remain disappointed that the vast potential of Buckie Harbour is not being realised, for years local people have been told that we will see wind companies coming to use the harbour and taking over new locations.

"We had hoped for a big new ice plant and fuel tank and even talk of a complete modernisation of the area but yet very little has been done. With a well sheltered harbour with good transport links we should be competing favourably with all the other harbours in the north-east.

"We cannot afford to miss out on funding opportunities like this.

"This is not the first time we have seen Moray Council miss out on funding opportunities. We simply must ensure we have the capacity to be able to meet tight funding deadlines with key projects in the future."

Councillor Cowie spoke of his disappointment at there being a lack of projects in a position to be submitted for funding.

He continued: "I'm very disappointed to hear Moray Council had no shovel ready projects ready to apply for this fund as the harbour area needs funding to upgrade facilities.

"As it was a very tight turn around we have to get projects ready for any future funding that becomes available."

A spokesperson for Moray Council said: “We were eligible and had discussions with the funders but we had no projects that could be delivered within the tight timeframe of the fund, as all money had to be spent by the end of March.”

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