'Skyscraper' rig prompts local fury over 'unbearable' noise and light

Aberdeen residents are protesting against the 205m Nobel Innovator, which arrived at the port on Friday.

People living near Aberdeen’s South Harbour say the recent arrival of a “skyscraper” drilling rig is causing “unbearable” noise and light pollution.

The Noble Innovator is the tallest vessel to ever berth in Aberdeen and is expected to be the first of many to arrive in the city.

However, a group in the Torry area claim it’s imposing yet more heavy industry on their community.

The Noble Innovator jack up rig arrived in the Aberdeen South Harbour on Friday and is due to start working for BP later this year.

Standing at 205 metres tall, it reaches the heights of some of London’s tallest skyscrapers.

It is expected to berth for around three months for repairs, and the Port of Aberdeen hope it will be one of many.

They say more large vessels will create local jobs and return millions for the economy.

But some living close by are unhappy with the installation.

Ishbel Shand, a member of Friends of St Fittick’s Park, recalls more than two years of fighting to save their local park after there were plans for it to be turned into a transition zone.

The Noble Innovator is the tallest vessel to ever berth in Aberdeen

Successful campaigning saved most of the greenspace but there are complaints of more and more heavy industry imposing on their homes.

She said: “The houses are only 500 metres away and there’s a long history of broken promises.

“We were promised that the park would be left. Residents were promised that they’d get triple glazing and if the noise was too great they’d all be decanted while construction at the harbour was going on.

“None of these promises were fulfilled.”

The new £400m development of the city’s South Harbour allows much larger vessels to berth.

It means crucial repairs and decommissioning that may usually be lost to competitors will be facilitated in Aberdeen, directly feeding back into the economy.

In May, cruise ships are set to arrive to utilise the port.

A community meeting was held last Wednesday to inform residents of the types of vessels that would be berthing.

Roddy James, chief commercial officer from Port of Aberdeen, said: “When we first originally looked at plans for the new south harbour, we went out to local communities to consult and make sure that what we were building was fit for purpose.

“We also have very stringent monitoring devices around the port that make sure we are below the levels of light and noise pollution.”

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