Cockenzie power station plan under fire

The park will be built at the power station and the site of the Battle of Prestonpans. Picture: Toby Williams
The park will be built at the power station and the site of the Battle of Prestonpans. Picture: Toby Williams
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FISHERMEN have warned that their livelihood could be wiped out if plans for a huge energy park and turbine plant in East Lothian is given the green light.

Controversial blueprints to replace the former Cockenzie Power Station with a renewable energy park that would construct offshore wind turbines may see the coastline dredged to make way for a deep water port.

The new quay would require up to 11.8 hectares of land to be reclaimed from the sea and become one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.

Today, fishermen warned that small prawn boats would “not survive” such a development.

Retired trawlerman Archie Johnston insisted the plant – which would operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – would have a devastating impact on the dozen boats that fish out of Port Seton.

The Cockenzie resident stressed that small fishing boats, limited to the Forth, thrived on finding prawns in a 20ft deep basin.

“If they took that away from [the fishermen], they’re not going to survive,” said the 77-year-old.

“It seems to me that they are not doing their homework. It will definitely hit the small boats to an extreme.”

Plans are at an early stage, with a planning application yet to be submitted to East Lothian Council, but residents have vowed to devise an “alternative” proposal.

It would see 156-metre cranes tower over the site and require the B1348 Edinburgh Road to be moved.

Residents claim there has been a lack of consultation, and they are also concerned about the potential loss of the site of the Battle of Prestonpans, a section of the John Muir Way, Prestonpans Yacht Club and Greenhills open space.

The proposals have been lodged by government agency Scottish Enterprise, which has put the plans out to tender.

The warning from the fishing industry comes days after a public meeting to discuss the proposals attracted more than 100 residents.

Long-time resident Shona Brash, who attended the meeting, said fishing was a “way of life for the community”.

Gareth Jones, chairman of the Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust, has vowed to fight the proposals.

David Leven, head of energy infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise, insisted the agency was “committed” to a community consultation to “fully unlock” the economic development potential of the Cockenzie Power station site.

He added: “Input from the local community is critical to the success of any project.”