Plan to reopen yard at Ardersier progressing
Plans to turn a former oil and gas industry fabrication yard into a port for the construction of offshore wind turbines have taken a step forward.
Highland Council has granted planning permission in principle to Port of Ardersier Ltd's proposals for the site at Whiteness Head, west of Nairn.
The plans include rebuilding a harbour wall, dredging and reducing a sand spit to the size it was in 2001.
The local authority said the plans had the potential to create 2,500 jobs.
Offshore turbines and the bases needed for the towers could be built at Whiteness.
Port of Ardersier Ltd needs consent from Scottish government agencies Marine Scotland and Transport Scotland for a marine licence and a harbour revision order.
Highland Council said these could be in place in the coming weeks.
Council Leader Drew Hendry said: "The prospect of this once bustling oil fabrication yard being brought back into active service is really exciting news for the Highlands.
"The business promises to generate high quality jobs and to re-establish Ardersier on Scotland's industrial map."
The site is the former McDermott Yard which opened in the early 1970s for the fabrication and construction of offshore platforms for use in the North Sea gas and oil industry.
At its height the yard employed about 4,500 people but it closed in 2001 as demand dropped.