East Lothian Council urges government to throw out power station plans

Councillors have urged Scottish Ministers to refuse plans for a controversial electricity substation to be built on the former Cockenzie Power Station site.

Friday, 29th June 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 1st July 2018, 9:10 pm
Cockenzie Power Station

East Lothian Council have put forward a recommendation asking government planners to throw out the application by Inch Cape Offshore Ltd for a new electricity substation at Prestonpans on the basis that it wouldn’t make best use of the available land.

Deemed of national importance due to its connection to electricity generation, the government appointed planning ministers to assess the application – taking the decision away from the local authority.

If approved the station would export electricity from an offshore windfarm.

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Councillor’s fear the substation development could jeopardise local plans to create jobs and boost the economy on the site.

East Lothian Labour MSP Iain Gray said: “I welcome the decision to urge the Scottish Government to reject the application. I campaigned for Ministers to return the substation decision to the Council and local communities to determine, but as they are not minded to do that I hope they will do the right thing and reject the application.

“If Ministers do allow the application, the potential of the site to deliver new jobs and economic development for the area will be put at risk. This is a once in a generation opportunity for East Lothian that should not be jeopardised by SNP Ministers.”

The official response will now be submitted to the Reporter for consideration as part of the determination process by Scottish Ministers.

The application for planning permission in principle was registered by East Lothian Council in March but called in by Scottish Ministers in April.

It covers part of the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area and the Firth of Forth Site of Special Scientific Interest and is within the boundary of the Battle of Prestonpans site.

Environment spokesperson Cllr Norman Hampshire said: “This site is key for us as a council in terms of the economic development of East Lothian and there are diverse views expressed by local residents and community groups which we would like to take into consideration when deciding the future of the site.

“Whilst recognising the importance of the application is respect of renewable energy, I believe the location and scale of this substation and associated works is wrong and would prevent us from making best use of the site.”

Cockenzie Power Station ceased operation in 2013 and East Lothian Council bought the 100 hectare site from Scottish Power in March.