ReportageThe Scottish city, where 10% of jobs are linked to the oil industry, is starting its transformation with an “energy transition zone” project which threatens one of its rare green spaces.
From the Nigg Bay municipal golf course, overlooking Aberdeen harbor, Lesley-Anne, Susan and Ishbel take in the sight: the bottle green lawn, the gray sea below, and at the quayside, the ferry to the Shetland Islands and some huge oil rig supply ships. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” “, launch the three retired dynamics.
At the beginning of October, they took their morning to show around and especially defend the existence of St Fittick’s Park, an astonishing green space wedged between the golf course and, further south, the construction site of the new port of Aberdeen, the British capital of the hydrocarbons. Wetlands planned against flooding, dozens of bird species, an old cemetery, shared gardens, a playground: this small green lung of 12 hectares is frequented by the inhabitants of the Torry district, “A former fishing village, [qui] has always had a bad reputation because he is poor ”, says Lesley-Anne Mulholland, a resident of the neighborhood.
But this haven of nature, bordered by an incinerator and a water treatment plant, is coveted by a local company, ETZ Ltd, which wants to make it a « energy transition zone ”. In 2020, its instigator, Ian Wood, a child of Torry who made his fortune in hydrocarbons, obtained the green light, with one vote, from the Aberdeen city council (held by an exotic Conservative-Labor coalition). Without prior consultation with the inhabitants.
“Project not coherent”
Since then, formed in association, the latter have struggled to prevent the sacrifice of their park in the name of a green transition that they find unjust. “We still do not understand what Mr. Wood intends to install here, we are opposed to commercial secrecy. This space seems very small to mount the turbines of the wind turbines at sea ”, juge Ishbel Shand. “We are told that ETZ could generate 2,500 jobs over ten years, but where does that figure come from? Offshore wind farms only create a few hundred jobs each ”, adds this ex-biochemist.
“It’s essential for the mental and physical health of people in cities to have green spaces, and it’s good for the environment”, note Susan Smith. “Ten thousand people live here, completes Lesley-Anne, designating all gray social housing on the edge of the park. During the lockdown, he was a precious space. Those who want to suppress it don’t give a damn about saving the planet, they mostly want to earn money. ” Contacted, a spokesperson for ETZ Ltd ensures that“It is a priority that the benefits of the project are extended and that the citizens who live and work near the energy transition zone benefit from them”.
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