European delegates visit Aberdeenshire for North Sea Commission events

European delegates from regions around the North Sea arrived in Aberdeenshire this week to look at common issues, including marine resources and climate change.

Around 50 delegates were here for a joint meeting of the North Sea Commission (NSC) Marine Resources Group and the Energy and Climate Change Group on October 2 and 3.

The agenda included presentations on renewable energy generation, storage and transmission by representatives from Equinor and North Connect, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen generation by representatives from Pale Blue Dot, climate change mitigation and adaptation, a session on Marine Spatial Planning, an update on marine litter initiatives in Scotland and in Europe, and discussions on what Brexit is likely to mean for the fishing industry.

Aberdeenshire Deputy Provost Ron McKail gave an official welcome to delegates at a council-hosted seafood dinner on Tuesday, followed early next morning by a visit to the new fish market at Peterhead, part of a recent £51million pound investment by Peterhead Port Authority.

The group was based at the Buchan Braes Hotel near Peterhead and also visited the town’s Scottish Maritime Academy.

The NSC is one of six Commissions established under the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR).

It aims to develop beneficial partnerships between the regions around the North Sea basin. Through co-operation, research, funding, policy statements and lobbying at a European level, the NSC aims to promote and develop the region as a strong economic entity within Europe by building upon heritage and history and adopting a shared approach to common issues.

NSC comprises member regions from eight countries – Norway, Denmark, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Scotland. Norway has very strong energy and fisheries connections with Scotland and provided the largest delegation.

The four thematic groups of the NSC reflect the key areas of common interest to the Region as a whole. The groups are Energy and Climate Change, Marine Resources, Transport and Smart Regions

Cllr Richard Thomson, Aberdeenshire Council’s representative on the NSC Marine Resources Group said: “We were delighted to welcome our visitors to the north east. The event provides an excellent opportunity to help develop our close maritime connections with our European partners and to discuss how best to optimise the use of marine resources.

“We also showcased recent and substantial investments in Aberdeenshire such as the new fish market in Peterhead and renewable energy projects.”

Cllr Isobel Davidson, the council’s representative on the NSC Energy and Climate Change Group, added: “Membership of the North Sea Commission Energy and Climate Change group provides an excellent opportunity for Aberdeenshire Council to develop partnership opportunities in relation to climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

“I was happy to share some of the projects taking place across Aberdeenshire with my European colleagues and promote the region’s cultural and natural heritage.”