Council pushes environmental case to redevelop Nigg yard

HIGHLAND councillors are to keep up pressure on the owners of a former oilyard to have it re-opened to cash in on renewable energy opportunities.

KBR, the American engineering and construction company, is considering converting the former fabrication facility at Nigg in Easter Ross to build foundations for wind turbines.

The move would be worth 150 million and create 2,000 jobs by 2019. But despite the board making an outline business case for the yard's redevelopment in December, it is not expected to make a final decision until May while it weighs up the market for the "high-risk" project.

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Highland Council sees the facility as vital for the economy and has considered making a case for compulsory purchase of the yard to bring it back into use.

Ian Ross, chairman of its planning, environment and development committee, said Nigg could be a European centre of excellence: "It is a disappointment that KBR has delayed making an announcement. We realise the huge scope for the site to play a key role in the UK renewable industry."

A report to the committee said KBR had concerns about uncertainty of demand and whether the industry was sustainable without government subsidies.