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16 January 2013
Embargo: Not for publication or broadcast before 00.01, 17 January 2013



SCDI North-East Committee Chairman, Colin Parker will use his speech to the SCDI Annual Lecture in Aberdeen to call for improvements to North-East transport connections and infrastructure planning processes.

Colin Parker will say:

“We very much welcome the progress that is now being made on the AWPR, however, our frustration that large scale infrastructure takes too long to deliver in Scotland remains, and whilst accepting that protection of the rights of individuals and groups to object to large projects is important, we do think the system is out of kilter and needs further examination as regards the balance of those rights and the economic benefits such infrastructure can bring to the country. The Scottish Government has committed to dualling the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025 and the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness by 2030. These already long time scales, must not be subject to similar delays as the AWPR.

“The oil & gas and food & drink sectors have a strong presence in the North of Scotland and make a substantial contribution to the UK’s economy and public finances.  As major Scottish exporters, international connectivity is critical to their continued success. With airport capacity in the South East market presently constrained by UK Government policy, the UK Government should intervene to ensure that some capacity benefits the regions of the UK, above all those which do not have a competitive surface alternative and have key UK industries which rely on global connectivity.

“The North-East region’s ports are crucial if we are to make best economic advantage out of the long term and continuing opportunities in oil & gas, but also the emerging opportunities in offshore wind, decommissioning and potentially carbon capture. To do so though will require long term planning and substantial investment and also a strong partnership between the ports and all their stakeholders.”

The lecture also sees former North-East Committee Chairman, Duncan Skinner awarded Fellowship of SCDI in recognition of his many years service to SCDI and significant contribution to economic development in Scotland and internationally.

Duncan Skinner said:

 “I’m obviously delighted and honoured to be given this award – SCDI is a wonderful organisation with good Scottish values at its foundation. As I look forward to new adventures following my impending retirement from Wood Group, I do hope my long association with my friends at North-East and national levels will continue through these interesting times for our country.”

SCDI’s Annual Lecture is a key event in the Scottish business calendar with over 250 representatives from the world of business, politics, education, public services and the voluntary sector in attendance. The 2013 lecture takes place at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa on Thursday 17 January. The guest lecturer is Samir Brikho, Chief Executive of AMEC plc.



Note to editors

SCDI is Scotland's leading independent economic development organisation representing 1,200 companies, SMEs, public sector bodies, charities, trade unions and faith groups.

SCDI has been active in the North East of Scotland for over 40 years and recognises the region as an integral and vital part of the wider Scottish economy. To acknowledge this and to provide additional value for members, the SCDI Annual Lecture was launched in 2004, an event of Scotland-wide interest held in Aberdeen.

The 2013 SCDI Annual Lecture will be delivered by Samir Brikho, Chief Executive of AMEC plc. Samir was appointed Chief Executive of AMEC plc in October 2006 and has led the transformation of AMEC into the leading supplier of high-value consultancy, engineering and project management services to the world's natural resources, nuclear, clean energy, water and environmental sectors.

Other SCDI Fellows include Tam Dalyell, Peter Lederer, David Paton, James Smith and James Milne.

A complete list is available in SCDI’s 2011-12 Annual Review at

For further information, please contact James Alexander, SCDI Senior Policy and Communications Manager on 0141 222 9728 or 07762 023 985.


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