Campaigners have been urged to “flood” the Scottish Government with emails over plans to build an energy transition zone on green space in Torry.
Last year Aberdeen City Council announced plans for the zone on a 70-acre site, which would include St Fittick’s Park and Doonies Rare Breeds Farm.
The facility would be part of radical proposals designed to safeguard the future of the north-east’s economy and reduce the region’s reliance on oil and gas.
However, a row has erupted over the use of the site amid accusations community campaigners had been “ridden roughshod over” in their bid to save one of the few remaining green areas in Torry.
The St Fittick’s area was chosen due to its proximity to the new South Harbour development at Nigg Bay, which is due to begin opening by the end of this year.
Scottish Government ministers have already pledged £26 million in funding towards the project.
Scotland facing ‘nature emergency’
However, the Scottish Greens, who are supportive of the energy scheme but want empty industrial units and land in Altens to be used instead, have launched a campaign calling for a rethink.
Last week the party’s north-east regional MSP Maggie Chapman visited protesters at the site, claiming there is “a lot of anger” in the community.
Now party bosses have urged members of the public to “flood” Holyrood energy minister Michael Matheson’s inbox in a bid to “ensure access to funding is conditional on the use of existing industrial sites”.
“We are in a nature emergency with one in nine species in Scotland under threat, and need to protect these habitats, not lose them,” they said.
“The Scottish Government has pledged £26m to the energy transition zone. Locally, residents support the transition away from fossil fuels but oppose the destruction of St Fittick’s Park and Doonies Farm.
“The Scottish Greens are calling for existing industrial locations in Aberdeen to be used instead as part of a socially and environmentally just transition to renewables.”
Location ‘crucial’ for transition zone
Council leaders and directors of ETZ Ltd, the company set up to drive the project forward, have claimed the zone will lead to improved career prospects for people in Torry and the surrounding area.
Maggie McGinlay, chief executive of ETZ Ltd, said the location is necessary because of the large number of wind power firms operating close to Aberdeen.
“Having the energy transition zone located in close proximity to the new deepwater Aberdeen South Harbour to support offshore wind activities is crucial in terms of attracting potential investors,” she added.
“It is important to note that a key focus of this proposal is developing various existing brownfield sites for energy transition related uses – both in East Tullos and Altens – and these locations are key to a thriving cluster within the heart of the energy transition zone.”
Scottish Government officials say they have encouraged the city council and ETZ Ltd to work with groups so the project is developed “with sensitivity to the environment and local community”.
“The Energy Transition Zone in Aberdeen is a hugely exciting project that promises to accelerate our journey to net-zero whilst creating thousands of new jobs as part of our plans for a just transition,” a spokesman added.