Investment worth more than £12billion is expected to flow into the north-east over the next decade, helping aid the region’s economic recovery.
Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s latest Investment Tracker predicts how billions of pounds worth of upcoming projects will reinvent the region which has been badly hit in recent years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the decline in oil and gas.
The publication – delivered in partnership with Invest Aberdeen and Opportunity North East (One) – also reveals £3.2bn worth of projects have been completed in the region since 2017.
This includes £724.1 million worth of investment since the beginning of the pandemic.
In 2022, it is expected the £25m Aberdeen Harbour expansion will be completed – a welcome boost to the area’s connectivity complementing the Aberdeen International Airport, Peterhead Port, Fraserburgh Harbour and rail and road infrastructure investments.
£12 bn investment also includes
The north-east’s attempts at economic recovery started long before Covid-19 with businesses leaders identifying the need to diversify and improve connectivity during the oil and gas downturn in 2014.
And Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, says he feels this has helped us weather the storm of the last two years.
He said: “I think this region is really well placed for two reasons. Everywhere has been hit really badly over the last two years. But here we have a lifetime of experience rebounding from downturns and others don’t.
“We know how to put our foot on the accelerator and push forward. We are not starting from scratch now. What we are seeing is the results of the platform which was built in 2015 which was pulled together to react to the previous downturn. It was starting to gain momentum before Covid and now we are starting to see that momentum pick up again.”
This year’s tracker is the sixth published by the chamber and shows a consistent increase in investment over the years.
He added: “Billions of pounds of investment will deliver the infrastructure, regeneration and cultural activity to create a truly 21st-century environment in our city region; right here, right now.
“Outsiders might know of this region being Europe’s oil capital, and with that knowledge make assumptions of this place being industrial and in decline.
“Nothing could be further from the truth, but perception is reality, so this report is part of our shared narrative to demonstrate that as well as already being a great place to live, work, study, visit, invest and do business, ours is a region with big ambitions for the future.”
Opportunity North East was the brainchild of Sir Iain Wood who formed the economic development body in a bid to ensure the region was fully equipped to deal with the oil and gas decline, energy transition and wider economic recovery following the 2014 downturn.
Jennifer Craw, chief executive of One, said both the public and private sector had “ambition” for the north-east to lead the way in energy transition.
She said this move will create a “diversified and resilient economy” which would ultimately provide a high quality of life.
£12bn investment will help ‘energise’ the region
She said they hoped the projects they were working on would help “energise the region’s entrepreneurial spirit” and create new jobs across the sectors.
One is currently helping to develop digital tech companies, sustainable food production, life sciences and rebuild the tourism industry to diversify the north-east economy after oil.
As well as private investment in the region, major local authority projects are hoped to inject new life right into the heart of Aberdeen City Centre.
These include the proposed beach regeneration – estimated to be around £100m – the international food market costing £70m, the £150m Queen Street project and the £28.3m Union Terrace Garden regeneration.
In total these projects alone take investment in the city to around £350m.
Energy giant Shell’s relocation to the city centre’s Silver Fin is also expected to be worth £5m to the region.
Investment in Aberdeenshire also includes Banff Harbour works, Peterhead Port improvements and the Gairnshiel Bridge.