Former Cockenzie power station and surrounding area
The former Cockenzie Power Station site was acquired by East Lothian Council in 2018 to support its ambitions for promoting economic growth in the local area and creating employment opportunities. It is a key component of the East Lothian Economic Development Strategy and features within the current National Planning Framework (NPF 3) as a site of strategic national significance for thermal energy generation and carbon capture.
A significant amount of technical work is taking place to fully understand and plan for the necessary infrastructure and environmental, economic and sustainability work that will be required for this key site to be delivered.
East Lothian Council intends to market the site extensively to help understand potential future use with much interest already shown.
In February 2019, Scottish Ministers granted planning permission in principle for an onshore substation, electricity cables and associated infrastructure to Inch Cape Offshore Ltd on part of the site. East Lothian Council has agreed to sell Inch Cape a reduced area of the site enabling more land to be retained for opportunities to boost the local economy and support employment. Inchcape will know later this year whether their project will receive subsidy support from UK Government.
In August 2021, the council's Planning Committee unanimously approved outline planning permission for Seagreen to construct an electricity substation on part of the Cockenzie site, to take power from an offshore windfarm and feed it into the National Grid, with associated underground cabling. The undersea cables will be considered separately by Marine Scotland.
The proposed new settlement at Greater Blindwells is also of significant relevance to the Cockenzie site. Both are strategically important to East Lothian and the wider city region.
The Masterplan report, produced for the Cockenzie site, will continue to be an important visionary document and serve as a basis for discussion between key stakeholders to help realise ambitions for economic development.
The National Planning Framework (NPF) is scheduled for imminent review by Scottish Government. The site is currently safeguarded for use in respect of Energy Generation and Carbon capture. The council will work with Scottish Government to both understand the site’s ongoing national significance and to positively influence the next version of the NPF to allow greater flexibility of future use of the site.
Whilst decisions are still be taken on the permanent use of the wider site through this process, the council’s priority is to secure an outcome which ensures sufficient land remains available for opportunities to boost the local economy, support employment and meet the aspirations of local communities.
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