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Climate campaigners join forces to save greenspace

This news post is 12 months old

The activists have hit out at plans for one of the most impoverished areas of Aberdeen. 

Climate campaigners have called on an environmental consultancy to cut ties with the controversial Energy Transition Zone in Aberdeen as part of long-running campaign to save a community greenspace from industrial development.

Campaigners from Climate Camp Scotland, This is Rigged, and Scot.E3 demonstrated outside the headquarters of Ironside Farrar in Edinburgh on Wednesday, who have been commissioned to design a masterplan as part of the proposed rezoning of St Fittick’s Park in Aberdeen for an “Energy Transition Zone”. 

The peaceful demonstration was held in response to a call for support from members of the community in Torry, Aberdeen, who have been campaigning to protect the award winning park and wetland from industrial development. 

Ironside Farrar were appointed by Energy Transition Zone Ltd, an industry group chaired by the oil tycoon Ian Wood, to produce a masterplan for the site, which includes parts of St. Fittick’s Park, Gregness and Doonies Farm in Aberdeen. 

They have also been tasked with obtaining planning permission for this development. 

Campaigners spoke with workers at the office, handed out leaflets, and hung out green laundry to highlight how the firm was engaged in “greenwashing” and “laundering the reputation” of the controversial Energy Transition Zone. 

A recent Peoples Assembly in Torry, one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Aberdeen where St Fittick’s Park is located, issued a declaration that it would “stop the land grab” and called for a “just and fair energy transition” designed in consultation with the community. 

A participant at the Torry People’s assembly, said: “The transition to a greener economy has to be for everyone. To call this land grab an energy transition zone is marketing hype and rubbish. We are really angry that we’ve been selected yet again to sacrifice our space, heritage, and nature for someone else’s money.”

The call for Ironside Farrar to boycott the project comes after the Minister for Planning, Tom Arthur MSP, refused to intervene to prevent rezoning of the park. 

The action follows a climate camp staged at the park last summer at the invitation of the local community, a rally outside the Scottish Parliament in January, and weekly vigils outside the Ironside Farrar offices by environmental campaigners.

Mike Down, a retired paediatrician and climate campaigner, said: “If St Fittick’s Park is industrialised it will represent a huge win for the Oil and Gas Industry and delay phasing out oil and gas extraction from the North Sea. 

“It will destroy the significant biodiversity which has developed in the Park as a result of a lot of hard work and fundraising by the Torry community over the past 20 years. And it will further sicken and impoverish the people who live in Torry. It’s this last which is arguably the most important of the three. Because if we don’t protect and prioritise the poorer communities up the north east coast of Scotland we’re done for. It’s these communities who can force significant change.”