Peel Ports sets out future for Hunterston PARC


Peel Ports has revealed its plans for the major port and industrial centre at Hunterston, one of Scotland’s most important development sites comprising a 300 acre brownfield footprint, deepwater, and rail connections.

It is calling on North Ayrshire residents and businesses to share their opinions about potential uses of the site, which is expected to support over 1,700 jobs and add over £140m in economic value to Scotland. 

The company has published its vision for Hunterston and how it intends to develop the site over the next twenty years. The details are contained in a Master Plan, published today (Thursday 16 May) at the beginning of a six-week consultation process.

Andrew Hemphill, Port Director, Peel Ports Clydeport, said: “No other single site in the UK offers Hunterston’s unrivalled combination of deep-water, extensive land area and transport links. This historic industrial site has the potential to transform Scotland’s prospects in a variety of key economic sectors, providing jobs, skills development, import and export opportunities for decades to come.

“The intended benefits that we have set out can only be achieved with the input of the local community, public sector agencies and commercial partners. That will help us to create a final version that reflects the shared ambitions of the people who live, work and invest in North Ayrshire.”

Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North, said: “Our young people need opportunities for high-quality, skilled jobs and I am determined to see those brought to Hunterston. It is a prime site for investment in infrastructure and attracting new companies that will provide such roles.

“Developing the site is also a one-in-a-generation chance for the region to lead the way with innovative and sustainable industries, potentially in the circular economy or renewable energy. One thing is for sure is that we much create a new future for employment in the region otherwise we will continue to see a drain of talent to Glasgow and beyond. I urge everyone with an interest in the health of North Ayrshire to read the masterplan and get involved in the debate.”

In recent years, the Government has changed its preferred energy policy from fossil fuels towards renewable resources. The result is Hunterston Port’s role, as a major importer of coal previously burnt in Scottish power stations, is now obsolete. 

Peel Ports has already worked with North Ayrshire Council, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and many businesses in preparing the Master Plan and is now consulting with the public and others stakeholders about the next steps. 

Karen Yeomans, Executive Director of Economy & Communities at North Ayrshire Council, said: “This is exciting news and I’m delighted to see the Masterplan unveiled to help unlock the vast potential held by the Hunterston site. We want North Ayrshire to be a vibrant, outward-looking and confident region that is an even better place to live for our communities and attractive to both investors and visitors, and these proposals will play a significant part of achieving that ambition.”

The Master Plan, which is not legally required and is not a substitute for planning or other regulatory permissions, sets out: 

  • how the port expects to grow and develop
  • changes of land use
  • what environmental measures will be taken
  • how people will be consulted
  • how the plans relate to economic, transport and planning policy. 

Among the potential uses put forward in the plan are:

  • Liquid natural gas terminal
  • Combined cycle gas turbine power station
  • Train manufacturing plant
  • Modular manufacturing
  • Concrete batching
  • Marine Construction and Decommissioning
  • Aquaculture
  • Plastics recycling and storage

Sustainable communities in North Ayrshire

Hunterston PARC has the potential to support sustainable North Ayrshire communities for generations to come by:

  • Providing around 1700 jobs that will reduce the need for local people to travel long distances for employment (with the associated costs of that)
  • Retaining or even attracting younger people with high quality and long term jobs
  • Halting or even reversing the trend in the declining population
  • Creating the jobs that will in turn maintain demand for supply services (e.g. local shops) and public services (e.g. schools and healthcare)
  • Building a more resilient economy by introducing a variety of industry sectors to the region
  • Giving school leavers a ‘positive destination’ locally to aim for
  • Stimulating education, training and skills development activities in the area
  • Attracting complementary economic activities that will provide further opportunities for local people
  • Actively managing environmental issues are part of the ongoing site management and development

Consultation process

The consultation closes on 28 June 2019. Peel Ports is promoting the consultation and providing opportunities to comment via the following:

  • Copies of the Master Plan available online at and for inspection at the offices of North Ayrshire Council
  • A consultation survey available at and promoted through social media and digital advertising in local media
  • Print advertising in local media
  • A print copy of the Master Plan executive summary and survey distributed via Community Councils
  • Direct communications with an extensive database of local partners, stakeholders and businesses

Peel Ports will publish a revised adopted Master Plan, taking into account all feedback in 2020.

Facts and figures – Hunterston PARC site

  • The site is approximately 35 miles (by road) south west of Glasgow and 80 miles from Edinburgh. Ayr is located 30 miles to the south along the coast.
  • The site includes a 230m x 130m dry dock, capable of accommodating large floating assets.
  • There is a 300 acre brownfield site.
  • Hunterston Marine Yard covers an area of 100 acres of reclaimed land.
  • The port handled a peak volume of 10.3 million tonnes of coal in 2005. Since the closure of Longannet power station there has been no market for coal imports at the port.
  • In recent times, the port has been looking towards further opportunities with the Marine Yard being utilised as an onshore wind turbine test centre. The two turbines are now in the process of being removed.
  • The former coal terminal site is currently being remediated and the time frame for the removal of obsolete equipment is predicted to be completed by 2020.
  • National Planning Framework 3 was published in 2014 and identified that Hunterston was an area that required co-ordinated action for industrial and employment use. 

Facts and figures – Hunterston PARC history

  • Hunterston Port was initially identified in 1968 as a site that could provide an ore-importing terminal to service the iron and steel industry. Construction on Hunterston port began in April 1974.
  • When built, Hunterston Ore Terminal was one of the deepest water ore/coal terminals in the world and it was primarily used to supply the needs of the British Steel Corporation’s Scottish works, especially at Ravenscraig.
  • The marine yard has previously been used to build oil platforms between 1978 and 1983, a Trident dry dock between 1988 and 1993 and a Gravity base Tank between 1993 and 1996.
  • The Hunterston Construction Yard was built in the 1970s by infilling onto Hunterston and Southannan Sands.
  • In September 2003, Hunterston Terminal (forming part of Clydeport) became part of the Peel Ports Group. 

Facts and figures – economy

  • North Ayrshire has suffered from a declining population and has fewer residents today than in 1991.
  • Economic activity rates in North Ayrshire are below national average, both overall and in most age/gender groups.
  • Unemployment rates are also significantly above national average at 7%, although they have fallen somewhat from a peak of 13% in 2013.
  • The overall number of jobs in North Ayrshire is 17% lower than in 1991.
  • The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) ranks North Ayrshire as the third most deprived Council area in Scotland.
  • There are 1.24 employed residents for each job, meaning that North Ayrshire is a net exporter of labour.
  • In the past 40 years, freight traffic through UK ports has increased by 75% with some 95% of total UK freight being handled through UK ports. 

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