Scottish Ministers have granted planning permission in principle for an onshore substation, electricity cables and associated infrastructure on part of the former Cockenzie Power Station site.
A planning application for the development, submitted by Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm, was called in by Ministers for determination.
The substation and infrastructure is intended to be used for exporting electricity from the proposed Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm, around 15km off the Angus coast in the North Sea.
Recognising the need to grow the employment base of East Lothian, East Lothian Council has proactively set out to acquire sites of strategic importance. The former Cockenzie Power Station site was acquired by the council last year to support its ambitions for promoting economic growth in the local area, creating employment opportunities and is a key component of the East Lothian Economic Development Strategy.
The council has similarly focused significant effort into securing the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal to secure investment and build sustainable economic growth for the benefit of East Lothian and the wider region. There are also ambitions to create a vibrant new community for the 21st century and beyond at the former Blindwells site.
Commenting on the decision, Councillor John McMillan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Economic Development, said:
“We are hugely disappointed with this decision. East Lothian is Scotland’s fastest growing council area and there is a real need to grow the employment base locally. That’s why the council has very deliberately and proactively been working to secure sites of strategic economic importance. We acquired the former Cockenzie Power Station site because we recognised its importance to local communities and its potential for economic development and jobs.
“The council’s planning committee, comprising Local Members elected to represent our communities, had no opportunity to deliberate and decide on this application, as it was prematurely called in by Ministers for their determination. The council unanimously approved our statement recommending refusal, as submitted for the Minister’s consideration.
“We remain of the view that the substation does not need to be built as it is currently proposed, as this will diminish the ability to bring new jobs to the area. We want significant land to remain available for opportunities to boost the local economy and support employment, as well as meeting the aspirations of local communities.
“We will carefully reflect on the reporter’s findings and consider the next steps.”