Full council meeting approves timeline for preparation of flood protection design

The timeline for the advancement of an Outline Design for the Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme was approved at today’s (Tuesday 25 October) full Council meeting.

Elected Members at the Council meeting noted the work undertaken to achieve a full and final review of the Scheme’s hydrology and to ensure the Scheme is applying the best approach to modelling the flood risk to Musselburgh, and approved the defined flood risk to the town of Musselburgh. In addition the Council authorised the Scheme to now determine the flood defences, and thereby the standard of protection, through which the flood risk to Musselburgh can be reduced, noting that the appropriate defences will be evolved through consultation.

The updated report also advised the inclusion of the ash lagoon seawall into the preferred scheme. This will see the continuation of its primary environmental function to contain the waste ash and provide a new formal, flood protection within the Scheme. There will also be provision of a new active travel pathway along the 2.7km length of the seawall just inside the existing concrete wall which will offer significant benefits for Musselburgh and wider communities.

Council Leader, Norman Hampshire, said: “Both the actual and predicted impacts of climate change have required governments and public authorities to assess and prepare for associated risks posed to their relevant local communities. Musselburgh has been badly affected by floods in the past and through the use of computer modelling and predictions it is clear that parts of the town require measures to be put in place to protect properties and infrastructure from future events. The report discussed today provides clear, factual evidence that councillors across the political groups have been able to digest and so approve the scheme progressing onto producing an Outline Design.

“What is also clear is the continued commitment of the Scheme’s Project Board to share and consult with Musselburgh residents and businesses at each stage of the project and to provide mutual understanding and agreement on all stages of development. The appropriate defences will be evolved through consultation and it’s recognised that various factors require to be considered which may result in the aesthetic and landscape impacts of protection measures to be of more importance to Musselburgh compared with the reduction of the defined flood risk. I therefore urge both residents and businesses to follow updates on the Scheme’s website www.musselburghfloodprotection.com, where you can also sign up to receive regular newsletters and details of future public meetings, and to engage with local councillors to seek clarification on this important initiative.”

The Council also noted the revised estimate for the Scheme had risen to £43.5M from £42.1M approved by Cabinet in January 2020, which was due in part to the loss of time to programme due to COVID-19 pandemic and inflation between 2020 and 2022.

Cllr Hampshire added: “The project is now bringing together three separate individual projects - the flood protection scheme, the Ash Lagoons Seawall future-proofing, and parts of the Musselburgh Active Toun project.  The emerging total cost of these estimates is therefore not comparable with the estimates previously stated for the Scheme.

“The Scheme is already authorised under the Scottish Government’s flood protection scheme programme and it is assumed East Lothian Council will receive a Scottish Government 80% contribution on an annual basis as part of the capital grant settlement.”


Published: Tuesday, 25th October 2022