Plans have been unveiled to transform the former coal terminal at Hunterston in Ayrshire into a modern freight hub with a deep water port.
Peel Ports’ 20-year blueprint includes rail connections from the new docks, a potential home for manufacturing and destination for cleaner energy sources.
The owner is asking North Ayrshire residents and businesses for their views in a six week consultation on potential uses of the 300 acre brownfield site, which is expected to support over 1,700 jobs and add over £140 million in value to the economy.
Andrew Hemphill, port director of 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.”
Among the potential uses put forward in the plan are:
- Liquid natural gas terminal
- Combined cycle gas turbine power station
- Train manufacturing plant
- Modular manufacturing
- Concrete batching
- Marine Construction and Decommissioning
- Plastics recycling and storage
Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North, 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.
“Developing the site is also a one-in-a-generation chance for the region to lead the way with innovative and sustainable industries, potentially in the circular economy or renewable energy. One thing is for sure, that we must create a new future for employment in the region otherwise we will continue to see a drain of talent to Glasgow and beyond. I urge everyone with an interest in the health of North Ayrshire to read the masterplan and get involved in the debate.”
Hunterston Port was built to handle iron ore bound for Ravenscraig steelworks in Lanarkshire, and completed in 1979. It was designed to berth ships of any size. More recently it took delivery of coal to be Longannet power station in Fife, which closed in 2016.
The switch from fossil fuels to renewable resources means Hunterston in its present form is obsolete.
Peel Ports prepared its plans with North Ayrshire Council, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and businesses.
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.”