Investment of around £96m for range of infrastructure and improved public space projects in Musselburgh

Following receipt of a number of enquiries and recent discussions with people and organisations in Musselburgh East Lothian Council would like to clarify details of an outcome from the October Full Council meeting which may not have been fully appreciated.

At the meeting the full Council unanimously gave authority to bring together three separate projects under the control of the flood protection scheme: (i) a flood protection scheme to protect Musselburgh against major floods from separate events deriving from the River Esk, the Firth of Forth, and also the Pinkie Burn; (ii) repairs to the existing 2.7km Ash Lagoons Seawall as it is beyond its original 50 year design life and it now requires to contain the ash waste into perpetuity; and (iii) the routes of the Sustrans funded Musselburgh Active Toun project where they sit on or directly adjacent to the footprint of the Scheme.

This greatly enhanced project can therefore not be compared to the original flood protection scheme that commenced in 2016, and so any comparisons with that project’s aims and / or its cost estimates are no longer appropriate. 

The original Preferred Scheme’s estimated cost has been revised from £42,100,000 to £43,500,000, which is primarily due to the impact of COVID-19.   The work on the Ash Lagoons Seawall is estimated at £52,400,000, which has been stated as a considered upper-bound estimate at a very early stage and it is currently expected that this estimate will come down once the Project Team have an opportunity to develop a design for this work. The Sustrans investment has been stated at £122,000 which is for design work only, therefore this figure is expected to go up substantially once the funding for the actual works is confirmed. 

Council Leader, Norman Hampshire, said: “East Lothian Council is proud to be coordinating £96m of capital investment into Musselburgh which will deliver outcomes in relation to: flood risk reduction including nature based solutions and river restoration; new active travel pathways; investments into landscapes and public realm spaces; securing of the bird sanctuaries and Ash Lagoons amenity areas; and continued containment of the Ash Lagoons waste material.  These efforts are in accordance with national strategies, the local development plan, and Council objectives.”

“Their design will be advanced though a process of consultation with the people of Musselburgh to ensure that they are fitted into the existing built / urban environment and are tailored to the needs of the town’s communities and people.”

Within the report to Council it is clearly highlighted that all of these costs are estimates and subject to the completion of an actual design and the securing of external funding.  Any final decisions will be taken by future meetings of East Lothian Council.  The costs have been stated as separate costs as it is expected that each estimate will individually change and thus the report clearly identifies that a full update on the projected costs will be provided to Council in January 2024 when the designs are developed.  

Cllr Hampshire added: “The Project Team were instructed by the Council to consult key stakeholders and the people of Musselburgh on the designs as they are developed through 2023.  Plans for the meetings through which this will be achieved are now being developed and will be published before Christmas.  The first of the community meetings is intended for late January 2023.  It’s hoped that as many people as possible can become involved in these consultations and then together we can develop a world-class design and achieve the best possible outcome for Musselburgh.”

Published: Wednesday, 16th November 2022