Redevelopment of Hunterston Port could support 1,700 jobs

16 May 2019, 10:03 | Updated: 16 May 2019, 10:08

Hunterston Port

Plans to unlock the "vast potential" of a former port and industrial site have been unveiled as a consultation on its future is launched.

Peel Ports has announced a masterplan for Hunterston PARC in North Ayrshire which features a dry dock, 300 acre brownfield site and deep water.

Hunterston was originally constructed as an iron ore terminal port and used for importing coal for many years, handling a peak volume of 10.3 million tonnes of coal in 2005.

However, there has been no market for coal imports since the closure of Longannet power station in 2016.

The masterplan sets out how Peel Ports intends to develop the site over the next 20 years.

Proposals include a train manufacturing plant, a liquid natural gas terminal, a combined cycle gas turbine power station and plastics recycling and storage.

Peel Ports said the proposals are expected to support more than 1,700 jobs and add more than £140 million in economic value to Scotland.

Andrew Hemphill, port director at Peel Ports Clydeport, said: "No other single site in the UK offers Hunterston's unrivalled combination of deep-water, extensive land area and transport links.

"This historic industrial site has the potential to transform Scotland's prospects in a variety of key economic sectors, providing jobs, skills development, import and export opportunities for decades to come.

"The intended benefits that we have set out can only be achieved with the input of the local community, public sector agencies and commercial partners.

"That will help us to create a final version that reflects the shared ambitions of the people who live, work and invest in North Ayrshire."

The site closed in 2016, with the loss of 120 jobs.

Peel Ports is calling on North Ayrshire residents and businesses to share their opinions about potential uses of the site as it launched a six week consultation on the proposals.

Karen Yeomans, executive director of Economy & Communities at North Ayrshire Council, said: "This is exciting news and I'm delighted to see the Masterplan unveiled to help unlock the vast potential held by the Hunterston site.

"We want North Ayrshire to be a vibrant, outward-looking and confident region that is an even better place to live for our communities and attractive to both investors and visitors, and these proposals will play a significant part of achieving that ambition."

Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North, SNP, said: "Our young people need opportunities for high-quality, skilled jobs and I am determined to see those brought to Hunterston.

"It is a prime site for investment in infrastructure and attracting new companies that will provide such roles."