East Lothian Council has recommended that Scottish Ministers refuse planning permission for an electricity substation on the former Cockenzie Power Station site.

The application for planning permission in principle, by Inch Cape Offshore Ltd, was initially registered by East Lothian Council as the planning authority in March 2018 but called in by Scottish Ministers in April before a decision could be taken by the council as it was deemed the application could be of national importance due to its connection to electricity generation.


At a full meeting of East Lothian Council on Tuesday 26th June the council’s official response to the application was agreed along with a recommendation that Ministers refuse the application on the grounds that the development would not make best use of the land available and could prejudice the future development of the site and the economic potential of the area.


The substation, cables and associated infrastructure is to export electricity from the Inch Cape Offshore Windfarm. The application site covers part of the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area and the Firth of Forth Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is also within the boundary of the Battle of Prestonpans site and incorporates part of the John Muir Way.


Environment spokesperson Councillor Norman Hampshire said: “I’m pleased that Council agreed to recommend refusal of this application by Scottish Ministers. The former Cockenzie Power Station 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.”


In the event that Scottish Ministers approve the application, Council also agreed to request that conditions be attached to the approval, including:


  • Council approval on the details of the buildings involved and the route of the adjusted coastal path, incorporating the John Muir Way
  • Construction dust and noise management plans to be agreed by council
  • A flood risk assessment to be approved by council and SEPA.


Published: Wednesday, 27th June 2018