The massive programme of regeneration underway in the city will reaffirm Aberdeen’s position as Scotland’s ‘northern powerhouse’ and help mitigate the effects of the North Sea crisis.
Rather than sit back and do nothing while the downturn casts a dark cloud over the city, we at Aberdeen City Council have sprung into action with an investment plan designed to propel us forward and out of the economic mire.
The list of infrastructure projects is genuinely unprecedented and you only have to look at the details for evidence that Aberdeen is a city on the march.
It is only right and proper that Aberdeen City Council leads this programme of change – a beacon for the journey of transformation which will see an investment of £516 million over the next five years.
The council is already spending £59 million for roads infrastructure projects, including £23 million for the Berryden Corridor.
There’s also £80 million of investment for green energy, £333 million for the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre and a £440 million Harbour extension which will equip us to be a world leader for decommissioning.
This investment, which will also see £50 million spent on the city’s digital infrastructure, will allow Aberdeen to face the current challenges for the downturn in oil and gas and allow us to prosper.
Tens of millions has also been earmarked for the City Centre Masterplan. We live in a global world and it’s vital that we can compete for inward investment with cities not just around the UK but the world.
The £250 million City Region Deal earlier this year is also a huge boost but it is crucial that we continue to explore new technologies, while drawing on the innovation which resides here.
So it is clear that Aberdeen is beginning to face up to the challenges of its long-term economic future and the work that will transition Aberdeen from the European Oil and Gas operations centre to a global hub for energy-related technology innovation and development, is well and truly underway.
The City Region Deal included funds to support diversification and we look forward to working with Opportunity North East (ONE) and Sir Ian Wood, as well as Oil & Gas UK, as we unlock the region’s huge potential.
Earlier this month we saw plans to turn the former family home of ‘Scottish Samurai’ Thomas Blake Glover into a £2 million ‘ideas hub’ and the new Oil and Gas Technology Centre will play a transformational role as we tackle the growth of the region’s other key sectors, including food and drink, agriculture, life sciences and tourism.
We are also in the process of securing much better alignment between local and central government, industry and other partner agencies to make sure that this local authority has a bigger say in the
key decisions which affect the people who live and work in Aberdeen.
The second oil and gas summit, to be staged in Aberdeen later this month, will provide key stakeholders with an opportunity to report on the progress being made as well as re-examine our priorities to ensure the region continues as a “significant contributor” to both the Scottish and UK economies.