The Bay of Nigg Development Framework Baseline (BNDF) report, published in early 2016, outlined the plans for the New Harbour, and improved transport links from it to East Tullos. Although AHB and “users of the harbour” (oil and gas industry), wanted land immediately next to the new Harbour for associated industrial activities e.g., wind turbine manufacture, storage and laying down of components as well as decommissioning, the BNDF allocated them to Altens and in East Tullos. Complying with planning policies in at all levels of the hierarchy (Aberdeen City, Aberdeen City and Shire, and the Scottish Government), and an awareness of the wish of the community to keep the area as it was the land round The Bay of Nigg zoned as green belt would stay that way.
The public and environmental organisations like Scottish National Heritage (SNH), Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) as well as Historic Environment Scotland had objected on environmental grounds and Aberdeen City Council had also pointed out that the plans considered only the economic gains, ignoring the environmental and social costs. Construction of the Harbour could only start once the Scottish Government had passed the Aberdeen Harbour Revision Order (AHRO), Marine Scotland had granted the Harbour Board a Marine Licence and ACC had granted planning permission in principle.
This then required the Minister for Rural Affairs had connectivity had to approve a detailed mitigation plan setting out the measures to prevent damage to marine species, water quality and soils much as possible and to compensate the community for the effects of the harbour on the landscape of the site and the land next to it. He also had to approve the Construction and Environmental Management Document (CEMD) that would describe what these measures were, how they would be achieved and how they would be monitored.
Only when the environmental organisations were satisfied that their mitigation measures were sufficient and withdrew their objections, were the Scottish Parliament reassured that the considerable environmental damage was being mitigated for as much as it could be. It was therefore able to pass through AHRO and Marine Scotland, and was issued the Marine Licence. The landscape measures in chapter 10 of its plan included reinstatement of the temporary construction sites, soft landscaping, hedge planting. The AHRO itself provided for measures to maintain the drainage function of the East Tullos burn achieved by its wetlands that prevents the polluted burn water reaching the sea.
Meanwhile, ACC’s December 2015 response to the Scottish Ministers on the Harbour Revision Order and Marine Licence needed for construction of the Harbour to start pointed out that the Harbour Expansion project’s Environmental Assessment had focussed on the harbour area and ignored the wider one. Therefore its recommendation for approval was on conditions including mitigation and compensatory measures for the people of Torry.
These became the joint responsibility of ACC and AHB under the agreement under section 69 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975 signed between the two. The measures were set out in the Detailed Mitigation and Compensation Plan (DCMP) produced after consultation with the people of Torry. compensating measures included improvements to St. Fittick’s Park, most of which would be started in the first 6 months of Harbour construction. A hedge on the park’s boundary with Balnagask Road would be planted in the first planting season after construction started. None of these have even been started, let along completed, more than 3 years after the start of construction. People in Torry were told that St. Fittick’s park was protected from further developments. As yet, only one of these mitigatory measures can be confirmed as having happened - with one other having possibly been finished but not confirmed.