Eyemouth Harbour seizes opportunities blowing in from offshore wind

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Eyemouth Harbour Trust (EHT) is aiming to cash in on off shore wind developments off the Scottish coast.

The trust has commissioned a marketing plan as part of its strategy to explore opportunities for diversification and ensure long-term sustainability.

EHT has charged Scottish consultancy Caithness Renewables Ltd with developing a marketing plan which will identify fresh opportunities for the harbour, both within and outside its traditional remit, in particular the tourism and offshore renewables sectors.

Eyemouth harbour is the largest harbour on the southern section of Scotland’s east coast and overlooks the development sites for offshore wind farms in the Firth of Forth.

EHT chair Grahame Sinclair explained: “We are keen to provide a welcoming base for the offshore wind companies and their contractors, which include survey companies, vessel operators and workboats for crew transfer.

“The harbour benefitted from a deep water extension in 1997 and along with our dedicated access road and potential development land we are ideally placed to help this modern growth sector.”

With more than a century-old history of herring fishing, Eyemouth Harbour still has an active fishing fleet, albeit diminished in recent years.

The harbour is also popular with visiting leisure craft that utilise the serviced pontoon facilities in the harbour.

However, in line with EHT’s Business Plan for 2013–2018, Caithness Renewables Ltd will explore the opportunities arising from the development, installation and maintenance of wind farms off the Scottish coastline, particularly in the Firth of Forth.

In particular, Caithness Renewables Ltd will be looking at the offshore wind opportunities from the Mainstream Renewable Power site, Neart na Gaoithe, which last month gained planning consent for its onshore grid connection works.

The firm will also examine other potential work associated with the Seagreen Wind Energy Firth of Forth scheme and the Repsol/EDPR Inch Cape site.

Louise Smith, director of Caithness Renewables, said: “Eyemouth Harbour is in a prime location to benefit from the many opportunities arising from the offshore wind industry, as well as other sectors.

“We look forward to working with Eyemouth Harbour Trust to assist them with their diversification plans, which will have major benefits for the community.”

In addition, the consultants, whose team includes transport and logistics specialist Anne McGregor, will work with EHT to refine its vision for the future, focusing on enhancing the use of the harbour’s quaysides and commercial office and yard space.

Michael Moore, Borders MP and Secretary of State for Scotland, meets regularly with the Eyemouth Renewables Group, helping to highlight the benefits of the location and its niche facilities and services such as vessel repair and boat building at Coastal Marine Boatbuilders.

He said: “I am pleased to hear that Caithness Renewables Ltd have been awarded this contract and I look forward to the contribution they will make to the work of the EHT through the marketing plan.

“Eyemouth already boasts successful boat building, fishing and tourism businesses but there is potential for them to grow and for the port to tap into new opportunities in the offshore renewable sector.

“I have been working with the EHT over a number of years to ensure the port benefits from the offshore renewable development in the Firth of Forth and I am sure that the marketing plan will add to the work we have been doing to boost the local economy and develop new opportunities at the port.”

Eyemouth Harbour Trust was recently awarded up to £43,650 funding towards the project provided by European Fisheries Fund (EFF) Axis 4 and Scottish Borders Council. Eyemouth Harbour Trust will contribute an additional £4,850 to the project. The funding will allow marketing activities to be carried out following completion of the marketing plan.

Councillor Michael Cook, who represents the fisheries sector on the European ‘Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions’ said: “This is an important investment. The Harbour Trust’s plan to develop marketing activity targeted at the offshore renewables sector is an excellent project, and I am pleased that we have been able to part-finance it with Council and EFF funds. “