Viability of a cruise vessel port at former Cockenzie power station site considered in report

A report on the viability of converting the former Cockenzie Power Station jetty and power station site into a port for cruise vessels has been submitted to a meeting of Group Leaders for consideration.

We all have a responsibility to secure the best possible future use of this siteCouncillor John McMillan

The report, by major infrastructure company AECOM, considered the technical feasibility of the scheme and includes identification of engineering requirements, an option appraisal and assessment of financial viability and economic benefits.

Cabinet spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism, Cllr John McMillan, said:

“The former Cockenzie Power Station site provides a tremendous prospect for growth of the local economy and for providing new employment opportunities for both current and future generations. It’s important that careful consideration is made at these initial stages of ideas generation to assess the costs and benefits of a potential development project as well as to take into account global trends that may impact on economic development including climate change and lessons learned from the covid-19 pandemic.

“Advantages of the Cockenzie site include having adequate water depth relatively close to shore that can accommodate the size of cruise vessels anticipated coming into the Firth of Forth and the opportunity to create a purpose-built facility not currently available elsewhere within the south east Scotland coastal inlets. However we must also weigh up the costs required to establish such a facility and the potential income and employment benefits for East Lothian.”

The report has identified that the Firth of Forth currently attracts around 100 cruise liners per year which use Leith and Rosyth as their berthing stages but neither of these ports can accommodate larger vessels.

AECOM identified 8 initial design berth and access permutations that provide varying levels of capability to accept cruise vessels at Cockenzie. Their cost, together with shore facilities, ranges from £50m to £110m. Those with the greatest capability have the highest cost. Differences in cost arise primarily from additional engineering infrastructure requirements including dredging works.

The report considers that 7 out of the 8 proposed design options would have their capital costs recovered within 25 years and the economic benefit of additional passenger and crew spending amounts to approximately £5.9 m in year 1 rising year on year to reach £27.8m by year 25.

Cllr McMillan added: “I welcome this report which gives considerable detail to reflect on. East Lothian Council will hold further discussions and consultations with the local communities and stakeholders about the future of the Cockenzie site. We all have a responsibility to secure the best possible future use of this site to providing much needed economic stimulus for the county.”

Published: Wednesday, 27th May 2020