Buckie boost from offshore windfarm development

Buckie Harbour - back-up base for offshore windfarm operations.
Buckie Harbour – back-up base for offshore windfarm operations.

BUCKIE HARBOUR WILL glean an economic boost from the announcement earlier this week that the Beartrice offshore windfarm project is to go ahead.

Announcing the £2.6billion project would proceed earlier this week, SSE said that the main service harbour for the project would be Wick in Caithness.

However, it has now been revealed that Buckie is the choice as a contingency base for operation and maintenance work and as a marine control co-ordination base.

On announcing Wick as the main base, SSE later confirmed that they did require a back-up to cover poor weather, emergencies or additional harbour capacity requirements – and that would be Buckie.

As a result, infrastructure investment will be required to ensure that Buckie is fully equipped to accommodate its additional demands as an ancillary support service base for the project.

Councillor John Cowe, chairman of the economic development and infrastructure services committee at Moray Council as well as chair of the Moray Economic Partnership, was first to welcome the news saying it underlined the “valuable asset” that Buckie is.

He said: “This is great news for the area. As well as bringing in direct revenue in the lease of buildings and berths, this will also create a use for the buildings and hopefully support to the local area in indirect jobs in accommodation and contractors.”

Construction for the project is expected to begin next year and is anticipated to take over the office spaces and bays within the former fishmarket building at Buckie.

There are also plans to use the adjacent quayside in support for marine activity – but assurance has been given that the new role will fit alongside the existing use of the harbour.