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Energy project report really hard work, says councillor

Energy project  report really hard work, says councillor
Councillors want more clarity on planning guidelines drawn up as part of a massive north-east energy project.

Councillors want more clarity on planning guidelines drawn up as part of a massive north-east energy project.

Members of the local authority’s Buchan area committee have asked for a full briefing on the latest stage of the multimillion-pound Energetica scheme.

A report detailing the results of an eight-week consultation exercise were discussed at a meeting at Peterhead yesterday.

The planning guidelines aim to encourage a higher standard of development on the proposed Energetica corridor, between Aberdeen and Peterhead.

The scheme is expected to attract £750million of investment in its first 10 years, creating hundreds of jobs.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan area committee declined to make a decision on the consultation report yesterday, and instead called for a further presentation to go over the information in greater detail.

Committee chairman Stuart Pratt said: “I’ve read through this report twice and I still can’t manage to get my head round it. It really is hard work.”

Architects Knight Frank, Halliday Fraser Munro and Baxter Design have said the 72-page planning advice paper was “not useable, understandable or helpful”.

Project leaders Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef) said the documents would be revised and clarified using feedback from 28 individuals, groups and businesses which responded to the consultation.

The report was one of three papers put together for the consultation. There was also a detailed overview of the project and a supplementary guidance report.

Last night, project director Sara Budge said: “If Energetica is to be a world-class energy enterprise zone, it has to be at the forefront of all-energy technologies and low-carbon development. We will not attract new business and people if it is not truly ahead of the game.

“This means we have to lead by example on how new development is put together to create a real sense of place in a sustainable, attractive, natural and built environment with exceptional facilities. We must be aspirational if Energetica is to succeed.”

She added: “Only 28 submissions to the consultation on the guidance documents were received. They were largely supportive but were seeking more clarification in some specific areas. Two were more critical in their feedback, but we have subsequently spoken to the parties involved and they now understand the ambition and are much more positive.”

The consultation report will be presented to the council’s infrastructure services committee in the new year.

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