Major developments in the fishing, agricultural and renewables sectors are being hailed as examples of what the north-east can do – and why more businesses should invest in the region.
The Regional Economic Strategy (RES) Action Plan sets out proposals to deliver a “renaissance” for Aberdeenshire and beyond.
And the ongoing Peterhead Harbour expansion, as well as the town’s new fish market and the news that Fraserburgh Harbour will play a pivotal role in the Moray Offshore Windfarm project have been included as examples of the “significant” investment in the region.
The strategy outlines plans to become an internationally-focused oil and gas supply chain, growing the fishing, agriculture, food and drink sectors and securing future well-being of people living in the region.
It also outlines a series of future projects that aim to further boost the economy in the years to come.
These include a marketing campaign to attract investment and people to the area, the transformation of Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens, the regeneration of the city’s seafront with a new promenade and a new visitor attraction telling the story of the oil and gas industry.
It has the backing of Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils as well as Opportunity North East.
The report also points to major infrastructure projects that are already under way or soon will be continue to show that business is booming, such as Hywind and the expansion of Thainstone Mart at Inverurie.
Councillor Peter Argyle, the chairman of the local authority’s infrastructure services committee, said: “There are strong signs of significant and improving economic investment and outcomes across the region and we all have to continue to work to secure a bright future for the north-east economy.
“The new, revised and updated Regional Economic Strategy Action Plan for 2018-23 sets out how we can achieve that, but it is important to note recent developments in the area which show an increasingly positive business environment.”
Council leader Jim Gifford said it showed firms were feeling “confident” and that the local authority were happy to back companies hoping to expand.
Last night, leading figures working with two key north-east sectors said it was important that every part of the economy was supported.
Conrad Ritchie, managing director of Peterhead-based engineering firm Score Group, said: “It is very encouraging to see the north-east economy enter a period of strong recovery. Diversification efforts are beginning to return dividends with traditional industries of fishing, farming and oil and gas enjoying a longer term resurgence.
“Of course we need to see continued investment in infrastructure and connectivity to support this recovery.”
Jimmy Buchan, Trawlermen star and Scottish Seafood Association chairman, warned that while some in the industry are enjoying something of a boom, it was not the case for everyone.
Mr Buchan said: “The fishermen are doing really well, but it is the processors who are now struggling.
“They have to deal with business rates and the minimum wage. These are external factors that they didn’t have to deal with a few years ago.”
Iain Sutherland, the manager of the Peterhead Business Improvement District, also said retail was lagging behind.
He said: “These major infrastructure projects and business developments in the north-east are most welcome.
“It’s great to hear that there is a buzz about our economy. In the past this would have resulted in an uplift in the high street.
“However the struggle on the high street is more related to the online and edge of town retail success.
“Town centres need to be shaped into a 21st century model that will attract the general public.”