Hundreds of jobs are to be created with the multi-million redevelopment of a Scots port and marine yard into a decommissioning and renewables hub.

Scottish Enterprise has approved a funding offer of £10 million towards Peel Ports’ £30m proposed project to redevelop its Hunterston Port and Resource Centre site in North Ayrshire

The backing will help Peel Ports to unlock private sector investment for the site, which has been in operation since the 1970s.

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The project will go before the Peel Ports board for final approval in January and the dry dock facility is expected to "move quickly thereafter".

It is understood that without the public sector support the project would not got ahead at the location.

HeraldScotland:

The plan for the site is to support the development of the next generation of renewable energy such as offshore wind and the decommissioning and recycling of assets from the oil and gas sector.

Estimates suggest that decommissioning alone could be worth around £11 billion to the Scottish economy

The port at Hunterston is widely recognised as a key industrial site and it is thought that with the correct targeted investment it could play a pivotal role in future renewable energy and decommissioning.

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Allan McQuade, director of business infrastructure at SE, said the project could, at a conservative estimate, create hundreds of jobs.

He said: "At Scottish Enterprise, the board has agreed that we should support Peel Ports in the provision of some infrastructure at Hunterston at the existing site, which has been there for a very long time.

"Hunterston on the west coast is a key facility that we can unlock.

HeraldScotland:

"Once it’s operational this facility will accommodate a few hundred jobs.

"We are supporting the provision of the dock gate infrastructure and dredging which will open up the dry dock."

He said that Peel Ports board "are in discussions with companies that would then utilise the improved and renewed facility".

"Our understanding is they will want to get on and get this unlocked as quickly as possible with the necessary consents in place."

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He added: "We are optimistic that with the business that will come that there will be demand for space in the energy and decommissioning side that will take up other vacant space that’s there.

"It is very accessible to west coast water. Whilst it is southerly it is accessible to the facilities that were in the Irish and north west coast waters."

HeraldScotland:

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: "This funding offer is a significant step towards Peel Ports realising its ambitions for Hunterston, which will deliver significant benefits for North Ayrshire and Scotland for decades to come.

"This project represents a sizeable economic opportunity for the area, creating much-needed employment as well as valuable infrastructure which will help transform Scotland’s energy sector and support our commitment to a more circular economy."

Andrew Hemphill, port director, Peel Ports Clydeport, welcomed the funding, adding: "With this offer of support we can now explore opportunities for private sector investment, allowing us to complete the redevelopment of the infrastructure at the Marine Yard.

"The regeneration of Hunterston will not only support the development of the next generation of offshore wind and the responsible recycling of yesterday’s oil and gas sector, it will also bring much needed economic benefits and employment opportunities to the people of North Ayrshire for years to come."

Alex Gallagher, a North Ayrshire councillor and council economy spokesman, said: "Hunterston is a strategic site of national importance and plays an important role in transforming our economy.

"Hunterston has a rich industrial history and has so much already in place.

"The Hunterston Marine Yard is one of the largest dry docks in the country, with two rail terminals and over 300 acres of development land.

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"The site has deep-water links for global export and import trade and low cost rail and road options linking the site with central Scotland.

"This investment can take it to the next level which is hugely exciting as it should bring a range of much-needed quality jobs and opportunities for our local supply chain.

"We are also working with a range of partners to ensure that we have the right skills in our workforce so that local people can take advantage of these jobs."

He said: "The impact it will have for jobs, regeneration and the local economy cannot be overstated.

“North Ayrshire will be ready for this investment and we are determined to make the most of it."