Aberdeen harbour in £350m expansion plan
A £350m expansion of Aberdeen harbour has been approved.
The extension into Bay of Nigg, which will provide a facility for oil industry decommissioning work, is due to be completed in 2020. Work on the project will begin early in 2017.
Other improvements included in the expansion are aimed at attracting cruise ships to the port.
Aberdeen Harbour Board described the project as a "major new chapter" in the port's history.
Board chief executive Colin Parker said: "We are delighted that, after six years of detailed planning and extensive consultation with our many stakeholders and the regulatory authorities, we are now in a position to approve commencement of construction.
"Aberdeen Harbour Board, in partnership with Dragados UK, a main contractor, will develop facilities over the next three years that will represent a step change in the marine support capabilities in Scotland.
"These will transform the port's ability to accommodate the trend for larger vessels we are witnessing across a whole range of industries.
"The expansion will afford existing customers the opportunity to diversify and expand their interests, whilst attracting new customers and markets to the port, including up-scaled decommissioning activity, a more significant share of the available cruise vessel fleet and larger more cost-effective commercial vessels."
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "This is excellent news for Aberdeen and the Scottish maritime industry, as the signing of the construction contract means this nationally significant project can now get underway in earnest.
"The significant investment will bring jobs and business to Aberdeen, supporting the local and national economy.
"The historic harbour will be transformed to accommodate larger vessels, opening up potential new revenue streams and offering customers world-class marine support facilities.
"These are exciting times for Aberdeen Harbour."
However, residents from the Torry area who formed the Battle for the Bay of Nigg Committee say they remain against the plan.
A member of the group, Renee Slater, told BBC Scotland: "The size of it is massive.
"Dolphins, porpoises and seals use the harbour, it's a beautiful place.
"The images are a Disney-esque parody."
The Battle for the Bay of Nigg Committee is concerned that if the proposals are carried through they will threaten local wildlife and have a detrimental effect on surrounding roads and open space.