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Aberdeenshire development review laying foundations for future

By Kyle Ritchie

Aberdeenshire Council has revealed “green shoots of economic opportunities and investment” in its Economic Development Annual Review for the past year.

The objective of the council’s economic development service is to create the conditions for a successful economy promoting sustainable growth, diversification and regeneration within Aberdeenshire and the wider region.

Its annual review gives an overview of some of the varied and significant work which it has undertaken over the past 12 months across a wide range of industries and economic sectors to build long-term benefits and success.

The opening of Vanilla Ink at the Smiddy in Banff was highlighted in the latest Aberdeenshire economic development review.
The opening of Vanilla Ink at the Smiddy in Banff was highlighted in the latest Aberdeenshire economic development review.

Chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, councillor Peter Argyle, said: “With a new normal for the region, following previous years’ economic downturn due to suppressed oil prices, we have green shoots of economic opportunities and investment.

“We do now see the energy industry again investing and exploring. The Oil and Gas Technology Centre, a City Region Deal-funded innovation centre, has been supporting the industry throughout and inspiring our younger residents to consider a career in the energy industry.”

With 680Mw of renewable power now being generated by a mixture of onshore wind, biomass, solar and hydro, councillor Argyle stressed that Aberdeenshire was playing a vital role in the transition to a lower carbon future.

He said the challenge now for individuals, organisations and partnerships is how to respond meaningfully to climate change and energy transition as the level of change expected by communities and consumers is becoming far more apparent.

Councillor Argyle added that he had enjoyed meeting businesses and industry leaders from the region’s diverse sectors, including energy, fishing and tourism, stressing it was clear that the area is taking on the challenge of diversification and opportunity.

He said: “Seeing the ambitious expansion of Peterhead Port Authority now welcoming trawlers to a new, state-of-the-art fish market, while supporting subsea vessels and the expanding cruise ship market, is excellent.

"Such investment is a symbol of the level of optimism in the businesses to invest in the infrastructure of their sectors.”

Among the highlights reported by economic development service in 2018-19 were: between April 2018 and March 2019, the North East of Scotland Local Fisheries Action Group (NESFLAG) awarded funding of £576,000 to 14 projects; securing funding to pay for extra digital marketing workshops, benefitting north-east businesses; and delivering excellence in north-east communities with the opening of Vanilla Ink at the Smiddy in Banff.

Head of economic development and protective services, Belinda Miller, said: “As a council, we work daily in partnership with agencies and organisations from across the north-east.

"Many of the updates in this year’s review would not have been possible without working together.

“Partnerships provide opportunities that cannot be achieved on their own. They also assist us to use our resources more efficiently thus ensuring improved outcomes for our residents, from helping someone into employment, to a community setting up a new enterprise, to large scale strategic interventions such as the City Region Deal.”

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