East Lothian Council
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Cockenzie Power Station site

Frequently Asked Questions about the site

Who owns the current power station site?

Where does the site currently extend to?

Why is the site identified for redevelopment?

Who is developing the land? How many proposals are there?

What does the council propose?

Who will make the final decisions on the Cockenzie site?

How can I get involved?


Who owns the current power station site?

The power station site and its land is owned by ScottishPower, although it was recently announced by ScottishPower that East Lothian Council is the preferred bidder to buy the site.

Where does the site currently extend to?

Cockenzie Power Station site currently extends from the coastline back to Meadowmill, Tranent. Although it has areas of greenspace around it, to which public access is granted, in some cases there are underground pipes beneath this space. It is adjacent to the Battle of Prestonpans battlefield site.

Why is the site identified for redevelopment?

Cockenzie energy station closed production in March 2013. The site has lain dormant since then with its structures being safely demolished by a company hired by ScottishPower. Through its National Planning Framework (NPF) 3, the Scottish Government has identified Cockenzie as a national development site for thermal energy generation as well as a location of significance for renewable energy. East Lothian Council must reflect this national need in its Local Development Plan by proposing land that could be used for energy.

The proposed Local Development Plan, approved by Council on the 6th September 2016, reflects this requirement and also allows for Supplementary Planning Guidance to be brought forward for other uses for the site in response to change in the national policy context and the market. This provides flexibility to act in the short term should the context change.

Who is developing the land? How many proposals are there?

In 2011 the Scottish Government granted ScottishPower approval to develop a high efficiency gas power station at the site. In August 2015, ScottishPower confirmed it would not be proceeding with this development. The council considers that this consent has effectively lapsed.

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) to the council on 2 June 2014. The PAN was not a planning application; it was a notice that Scottish Enterprise hoped to bring forward more detailed proposals for outline planning consent. Scottish Enterprise confirmed on 30 March 2015 that it did not intend to continue with its proposals.

Inch Cape Offshore Ltd

On 2 September 2014 Inch Cape Offshore Ltd was granted planning permission in principle for the construction, operation and decommissioning of an onshore substation with infrastructure that would enable it to be linked to a proposed offshore wind farm. The application was approved at a meeting of the council’s Planning Committee subject to a number of conditions. The conditions were put in place to protect the surrounding environment, minimise impacts on the road network, allow archaeological investigations and safeguard the local area for residents.

Red Rock (previously Inch Cape) has submitted a Proposal of Application Notice for an alternative site for a substation on part of the footprint of the former power station building. The previous planning permission in principle has now lapsed.

Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust

In November 2014, the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust was granted planning permission to create a Field of Remembrance with stone table markers on the Battlefield site, which has previously been used as agricultural land, on land beside the power station. 

Coastal Regeneration Alliance

The Coastal Regeneration Alliance, a community company, has developed a vision of the site’s future combining retail, performance, heritage and green space. The Coastal Regeneration Alliance also applied to Scottish Ministers to exercise a Community Right To Buy over two parts of the site – the ‘Greenhills’ and the ‘Battlefield site’. This application was rejected by Scottish Ministers and an appeal to the courts regarding this decision was unsuccessful. 

Perfection Car Wash has recently been granted planning permission for a temporary period of one year for part of the former gasholder area for use for carwash facilities.

Lark Gas Assets has recently applied for a relatively small scale gas powered electricity generation plant on part of the site near the existing transformer building. The council has yet to issue a decision on that application.

What does the council propose?

The site presents a key opportunity in terms of economic development and is a significant natural asset. The council's priority is to work with all parties to secure a sustainable future. In broad terms we would seek to maximise the economic opportunities in line with the council's economic development strategy - but not at the expense of the local community or environment.  

Along with representatives from Cockenzie and Port Seton, Prestonpans and Longniddry Community Council, the Coastal Regeneration Alliance and the Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust, the Council has formed a Cockenzie Community Forum, which is chaired by the Chair of the Preston, Seton Gosford Area Partnership. 

The Forum agreed to engage consultants Peter Brett Associates to undertake a masterplanning process. The purpose of this was to 'develop a clear vision for the future of the site with local communities and stakeholders in a manner which facilitates and reflects a shared understanding of the future opportunities and options'.

The Masterplan Report has now been published following community and stakeholder consultation and sets out a possible vision of a mixed-use site including an employment zone, multi-purpose open space, landscaped areas with paths, an area for a potential energy quarter and an improved harbour setting with further employment space and infrastructure improvements.

The Masterplan does not dictate exactly what will happen on the site - it is more of a vision document based on the opinions expressed by local people and interested parties during the consultation process.

You can view the Masterplan on this site.

Who will make the final decisions on the Cockenzie site?

Hopefully, East Lothian Council will be able to purchase the site, so will have an important role in any future development.

East Lothian Council is also the planning authority and will consider and decide upon any planning applications it receives. The planning committee meets in public and all dates are listed on the council’s website. Scottish Ministers do have powers to call-in applications for their own determination. Any such consideration of this would be for the Scottish Ministers.

Marine Scotland will be responsible for assessing any application it receives for offshore space.

The council is keen to understand the direction of future national planning policy set by Scottish Ministers, with the National Planning Framework due for review in 2019. It will also be necessary for the council to carry out technical work, including a Strategic Environmental Assessment on whatever ultimately is agreed upon for the site in planning policy terms.

In the meantime, the masterplan report will serve as a basis for further reflection, discussion and engagement between the council and key stakeholders.

How can I get involved?

Look out for notifications of any future consultation events, which will be publicised on the council website and in the local press.

East Lothian Council, John Muir House, Haddington, East Lothian, EH41 3HA

Telephone: 01620 827264/827257

The Cockenzie Masterplan Report has now been published following community and stakeholder consultation

East Lothian Council has submitted its response to the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee on petition PE01537: Proposed Energy Park at Cockenzie.

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.