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Edinburgh Business Supports Leith Renewables Hub Plan

Posted: 7th September 2021

Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce has thrown its weight behind an ambitious £40million project to create Scotland’s biggest and best-located renewable energy hub in Leith.

And they have called on politicians to back and progress the proposal from Forth Ports, which will help create thousands of new, skilled, green jobs as well as being essential to the progress of Scotland’s offshore wind sector.

Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber, said today:

“The Scottish Government wants our country to be net zero carbon by 2045 and Edinburgh has an even more ambitious target of 2030. This target means that in under 10 years, the daily operation and life of our capital city should have no detrimental impact on our environment.

“However, there is a real balance that requires to be struck. Can we achieve the vital reduction in emissions needed to protect the planet and ensure a healthy economic recovery that safeguards the future wellbeing of people? An emissions reduction based on shrinking economic activity will not provide the future we need.

“A model that protects critical productive centres essential to our country, such as the area of the Firth of Forth, while at the same time tackling climate change through immersion in cleaner technologies must be the logical direction of travel.

“And that is why Edinburgh Chamber unequivocally supports the plans put forward by Forth Ports to create Leith Renewables Hub in the docks, which will support thousands of jobs in our city and help to underscore our future economic resilience.”

Ports and harbour infrastructure are recognised to have an enormous role to play in the growth of the multi-billion pounds renewables sector which, with support from government and industry, is likely to grow ever more quickly. Leith’s proximity to the North Sea, which is set to become home to many more offshore wind developments, coupled with the natural deep waters of the Firth of Forth, makes the port the ideal location to support existing and future developments.

This entirely private investment will see the creation of a marine berth capable of accommodating the world’s largest offshore wind installation vessel. Its heavy lift capability backed up by land for logistics and marshalling will be supplemented by the upgrading of a 140-acre cargo handling site to accommodate lay down; assembly; supply chain and manufacturing opportunities. The scale of commitment is staggering – a total area equivalent to around 100 full size football pitches. That is a huge area of industrial land transformed to help build a cleaner, better future for our city and our country with the potential to:

  • Support the growth of offshore wind in the North Sea
  • Secure the Firth of Forth as the driver for Scotland’s green energy transition
  • Create future opportunities for existing and new businesses at Leith Docks
  • Help spearhead Edinburgh’s and Scotland’s Covid-19 recovery plan
  • Support up to 1,000 high quality, long term direct jobs and about 2,000 indirect jobs

Liz added: “The time for action could not be more right. The recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report delivered a “code red for humanity”, with predictions that entire nations could be lost to rising sea levels within decades.  Parts of Leith and Seafield, amongst others, could also be lost. The report was prepared by 234 scientists from 65 countries, drawing on more than 14,000 research papers.

“Forth Ports is investing to reinforce the vital role of the Firth of Forth in Scotland’s clean energy transition. It will further underpin the position of Scotland’s Central Belt as a leading area of engineering and manufacturing skills and capabilities.

“The potential is enormous; the private sector leadership exists; and the investment is demonstrable. To make it happen, we need political will to match political rhetoric if our nation and its capital are to enjoy a brighter, greener, wealthier future.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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