MORE than 100 climate activists have invaded a restricted area of Aberdeen Harbour over proposed expansion plans and in protest against new oil and gas projects in Scotland’s energy capital.

Demonstrators occupied Aberdeen Harbour at Torry Quay to demand an end to investment in polluting fossil fuel companies and in protest against the development of the Energy Transition Zone in the working-class area of the city.

Climate Camp Scotland said the development of the zone, which is being considered as part of the city’s climate strategy, would amount to a “corporate land grab” which would bulldoze the “last accessible green space in Torry”.

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The Energy Transition Zone is an industry-led project which says it “supports sustainable economic growth and the transition to net zero”.

Activists forced their way into the harbour on Sunday following a rally in Aberdeen city centre, attended by North East Greens MSP Maggie Chapman and local campaigners from Friends of St Fittick’s Park as well as activists from the Aberdeen Trades Union Council.

A camp will be held for five days in an area of the neighbourhood campaigners say was cleared of homes in the 1970s to expand the port.

The Port of Aberdeen said protesters left the site at around 6pm and said the protest had put "both the protesters and personnel operating within the port at risk". 

A statement read: "Our expanded port will be at the heart of the development of high potential sectors, including offshore wind and green hydrogen."

Those in favour of the Energy Transition Zone say it will bring more renewable projects to the city and create jobs as well as growing the local economy.

The Energy Transition Zone's website says it has allocated £3 million to energy-related projects and highlights its focus on funding training to allow oil and gas workers to transition to jobs in the renewables sectors.

It also says the site will open up possibilities for offshore wind farms and green hydrogen facilities by further connecting the North Sea with the mainland. 

The plans were approved by Aberdeen city council in 2020, in a local development plan which approved the rezoning of the land for industrial use, reports Aberdeen Live.

Climate activists are also calling on Aberdeenshire council to reject proposals for a new gas-fired power station at Peterhead.

Jessica Gaitan Johannesson, a spokesperson for Climate Camp Scotland, said: “As an increasing number of people experience the dire reality of climate collapse, and soaring energy prices victimise the most vulnerable, we need to remember that fossil fuel companies do not work for us.

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“The proposed Energy Transition Zone in Torry is a stark example of their priorities: to exploit communities for profit for as long as possible.

“We’re here in solidarity with the people of Aberdeen, making the vital connection between local and global climate justice.”

Steve Gray, a member of Aberdeen Trade Union Council, said the “last thing that people in Torry need is an industrial wasteland on their doorstep”, claiming the Energy Transition Zone was “really a Freeport in disguise”.

The Scottish Government’s so-called Green Freeports policy has come under fire and led to a split between the Scottish Greens claiming they were a way to “give tax relief and to throw public money at multinational companies who are already doing their best to avoid tax”.

Richard Caie, a spokesperson for Friends of St Fittick's Park said: "We are very grateful to Climate Camp Scotland for helping to highlight the very unjust way the ‘energy transition’ is being managed in northeast Scotland and for their support for our campaign to save St Fittick's Park.”

A spokesperson for the Energy Transition Zone said: "We have embarked upon an extensive programme of engagement and dialogue with the local community and other stakeholders through a dedicated masterplan exercise covering the entire Energy Transition Zone project.

"We recognise the strength of sentiment and how important accessible green public space and biodiverse areas are for the people of Torry, particularly the walkways, wetlands and habitats at St Fittick’s Park and have already confirmed through this process that the East Tullos Burn will be retained. 

"We have also committed to a programme of accessible green space enhancement that will ensure no overall net-loss in environmental capacity associated with the development of the zone.”

Police Scotland said there were no arrests at Sunday's demonstration.

A force spokesperson said: "We are aware of the ongoing Climate Camp Scotland event. It will be policed proportionately and appropriately."