Current socio-economic context

  • Current socio-economic context in Aberdeen Bay and surrounding region

    The immediate area of the landfall of the OWF electric cable is at Blackdog, which lies within Aberdeenshire Council area and is immediately adjacent to the Aberdeen City Council northern boundary. It is the northern terminus of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) which is a major transport infrastructure project currently under construction. The MoD owns the adjacent Blackdog Rifle Range, used by a number of different military groups for training.

    Socio-economic context images

    Houses in Aberdeen Bay

    Aberdeen beach - dune

    Aberdeen beach

    Blackdog is an expanding village of c200 population. The settlement has seen some recent new house building activity and also a major planning application (for 600 dwellings, business park, cinema and retail centre) which was submitted in early 2016 and is awaiting determination. The site is allocated for future development in the 2012 Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan for 600 houses and 11Ha of employment land. The retail element of the plans has been opposed by Aberdeen City Council. The proposals are projected to create 1500 net additional jobs in the longer term and increase the population to over 2,000. Major supporting infrastructure will be delivered as part of the plan. The proposal aims to transform the immediate location into a high quality lifestyle, leisure and ultimately global business location. The proposals are seen as serving as a gateway development for the Energetica Corridor project which is a major public and private sector initiative to promote a 30 mile long strip stretching from Aberdeen to Peterhead. The project promotes the area as a potential energy technology development and energy efficiency hub and is aiming to create an exemplar sustainable development corridor.

    Approximately 6km further north is Balmedie, an expanding large village settlement with an extensive coastal dune beach partly managed as a country park by Aberdeenshire Council. Close by is Menie Estate which has been developed into a 18 hole golf course. Balmedie is seen as a key settlement in both the Energetica area and the Aberdeen to Peterhead strategic growth area.

    Generally the policy of the key economic development agencies in the North-east of Scotland has been one of diversification away from an overreliance on oil and gas. Such a policy can be traced back initially to 1990 and the setting up of ‘Aberdeen Beyond 2000’ initiative. Successive administrations and agencies have pursued such a policy and the current wind farm development aims to cement its role in renewable offshore development, further positioning Aberdeen as the energy capital of Europe and a world energy centre. This connects with the aim of delivering long-term economic benefits to the region which are not solely reliant on hydrocarbons.

    The entire project should be seen against figures which show 84,000 jobs linked to the industry were lost in 2015 and with 40,000 losses expected in 2016. Such figures pertain to the entire supply chain estimated at 453,000 jobs at its 2014 peak. The losses are directly linked to the current sustained fall in the price of oil. The Regional Economic Strategy for the North-east, approved in December 2015 aims to deliver a more balanced and resilient economy as a result of world class innovation and competitive business. As part of this overall strategy, on-going major infrastructure projects are underway within the City including AWPR, a major City Centre office and retail development at Marischal Square and the southern expansion of Aberdeen harbour to increase capacity and to develop the cruise ship market.

  • Contact us

    You can contact us by writing to or emailing Dr Bridget Durning via:

    School of the Built Environment
    Oxford Brookes University
    Headington Campus
    Oxford OX3 0BP

    tel: +44 (0)1865 482845
    bdurning@brookes.ac.uk