2020 - 2021 Aberdeen City Region Deal Annual Report Published
Friday, October 1, 2021
Our City Region Deal is now in its fifth year. The period since the last annual report however feels like a lifetime, and we have witnessed a seismic global shift throughout the pandemic. It has touched every aspect of our life and work, all whilst increasing the need for a deal such as ours to help stimulate sustainable economic growth and recovery.
This Annual Report demonstrates, this year as in others, the impact of our Deal process over the 2020/21 financial period. We continue to see projects grow, evolve and positively impact our economy.
The most tangible benefit of the Deal to our new way of working is in the digital progress we are making, with Aberdeen well on its way to being a Gigabit City with the completion of the City Network Project expected by September, and Aberdeenshire led Full Fibre Project expected to meet the halfway mark in the summer. These investments have already stimulated market demand to connect fibre to the premises, meaning more homes can access these speeds at more competitive prices. The Duct Network project infrastructure will allow for better delivery of public services including extending our traffic management network to other areas of public services which already provides real time information on our roads and networks.
The need to focus on Net Zero has sharpened all our minds. Just recently it has been confirmed that OGTC has rebranded to the Net Zero Technology Centre. This is a significant statement, clarifying their intent to develop and deploy technology for an affordable Net Zero future.
Work has started on site for the creation of the BioHub, which will open in late 2022. This £40 million investment will provide incubator space, laboratories and accommodation, and business growth support for up to 400 scientific entrepreneurs, spinouts and start-ups, and scaling businesses. This is the latest project delivered by the Deal’s private sector partner Opportunity North East and is an important milestone to reach on a project of national significance when the profile of life sciences has never been higher. The final steel for the frame of the BioHub building is being installed and the main construction phase will run through to 2022.
On our other projects, we continue to work hard to see them come to fruition, including improvements on the network around the new Aberdeen South Harbour. Following options appraisal, a preferred route for enhanced road access and wider transport improvements were approved in February 2021, which will maximise the additional activity around the harbour which we are seeing as an off-shoot of this investment.
The Strategic Transport Appraisal has provided the evidence base for the Regional Transport Strategy, informing regional transport priorities for the next twenty years.
The year ahead looks optimistic, with planning permission for SeedPod, a digital business case addressing the gaps in infrastructure in the region, the opening of Subsea Centre and the phased opening of Aberdeen South Harbour.
Our deal, with its blend of public and private sector partners, is quite unique and continues to serve the projects well. It is our working model of collaboration, transparency, and the range of skills around the table which give us all confidence in the future of our projects and our partnership working. As chair of the Joint Committee, I would like to express my thanks to all of our partners and I look forward to the coming 12 months.
Councillor Andy Kille, Leader, Aberdeenshire Council Aberdeen City Region Deal Joint Committee Chair