The UK Government has confirmed plans to relocate up to 200 civil servants from its energy security department DESNZ to Aberdeen.
The move is part of plans to relocate 22,000 roles out of London by 2027 as part of the Places for Growth programme, three years earlier than the initial target of 2030.
In a statement the government said the Aberdeen move aims to “further strengthen the Union” and place key decision making roles in every corner of the UK.
Aberdeen has been chosen as the location of a second headquarters of the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ) in addition to Salford.
DESNZ has a presence in Aberdeen via the environmental operator OPRED.
Aberdeen also plays home to the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) and Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC), the latter being backed by UK Government and Scottish Government funding.
Scottish Secretary Allister Jack said the move demonstrates the UK government’s commitment to the North East of Scotland and the oil and gas and renewables sectors.
“They both have a vital role in ensuring our energy security and assisting with our transition to net zero,” Mr Jack said.
Energy minister and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie said the selection of Aberdeen for the second headquarters underlines the importance of the region in the UK’s net zero transition.
“An Aberdeen base puts those working in the department closer to those working in the crucial oil gas and renewables industries – both the companies and the tens of thousands of their workers who play a vital role in our energy supply – and I am delighted to see this happen,” he said.
Move follows push from Aberdeen business sector
Aberdeen has around 45,000 people employed through the offshore energy sector.
It comes amid a push to move the UK energy department to Aberdeen, with calls from the chamber of commerce in March ahead of the Spring Budget as part of the UK’s “levelling up” agenda.
Meanwhile Labour’s Ed Miliband said Aberdeen has a “strong claim” to host his party’s “GB Energy” proposal, should Labour win the next election.
Policy director at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Ryan Crichton said: “We have been pressing the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the UK Government to locate more civil service jobs in Aberdeen, so this is fantastic news for the region and a big victory for the Chamber.
“By bringing the headquarters of DESNZ to Aberdeen it will sit alongside other key institutions, such as the North Sea Transition Authority, Net Zero Technology Centre, Energy Transition Zone and the two universities leading on research and new technology to achieve net zero.
“Furthermore, it will place the department in proximity to an industry undergoing an exciting, yet nevertheless challenging transition — a transition that is critical we get right.”
It comes as Rishi Sunak has pledged annual licensing rounds for the North Sea, and as both major parties have ramped up rhetoric around the industry ahead of the looming general election.
The PM has come under fire for rolling back green policies, including delaying the ban on petrol and diesel cars.
Greenpeace said Aberdeen needs an “urgent plan” to move towards green energy but claimed Sunak’s record so far signals “the exact opposite”.
The FT said Oliver Dowden is also expected to shift civil servants to Wales and enlarge the business department in Darlington in north-east England.