Government blunder after map erases every harbour north of Dundee

Aberdeen Harbour with the city centre in the background
Aberdeen Harbour

An embarrassing blunder has led to the UK Government suggesting that there are no ports in the north of Scotland.

A map published this week in a new coalition strategy document highlighted all of Britain’s key harbours.

But the most northerly port identified by officials was Dundee.

The map failed to mention Aberdeen, one of Scotland’s most important harbours, or Europe’s busiest fishing port at Peterhead.

The Cromarty Firth, Britain’s largest oil rig and cargo vessel inspection, repair and maintenance centre, was not included either.

The error was contained in the government’s new strategy for the offshore wind sector, launched with much fanfare this week by Westminster’s business and energy departments.

Yesterday, the map disappeared from the edition of the 74-page document on the business department’s website.

It is understood it was hastily cut from the report after the mistake was brought to the attention of officials.

The Highlands and islands are estimated to hold a quarter of Europe’s wind energy reserves, but not one of their many ports were highlighted on the map.

Orkney and Shetland – which are at the heart of the burgeoning industry – did not even feature.

The UK Government map showing Britain’s key harbours
The UK Government map showing Britain’s key harbours

Manufacturing developments at the Nigg Energy Park were discussed in the report, but the site was not on the map. A spokes-woman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills declined to comment yesterday.

Mike Weir MP, the SNP’s energy spokesman at Westminster, said: “It is astonishing the UK Government has failed to include such key Scottish offshore wind developments – forgetting about Scotland speaks volumes about the UK Government’s priorities.”

He added that it was “particularly embarrassing” for senior Liberal Democrat MPs who represent seats in the north and the north-east.

Stephen Paterson, chief financial officer at Peterhead Port Authority, said: “There are a lot of ports north of Dundee that are very interested in renewables.

“We view it as a target market that Peterhead is well suited to supply.

“We think Peterhead can play an important role.”