At its meeting on Tuesday 28 February, East Lothian Council was updated on matters relating to the former Cockenzie Power Station site.
The report, which was heard in private for reasons of confidentiality, gave details of legal and contractual matters relating to delivery of the renewable energy developments at the site.
Inchcape has detailed planning permission for a substation and onshore transmission works, granted in January this year. This part of the site is seven acres on the western portion of the former power station footprint. Pre-commencement works are taking place on site, with formal commencement of the development due shortly. The construction period is expected to last for two and a half years with the substation being operational from Autumn 2025.
Seagreen has ‘in principle’ planning permission for a substation, proposed to be sited to the west of the Scottish Power grid connection building. This means that the principle of a substation on the site has been established but the detailed design has yet to be approved through the planning process. Seagreen is currently looking to secure a funding package for the siting of their wind turbines off the Angus Coast. The council is expecting Seagreen to submit a detailed planning application in the autumn.
Councillors were also updated on the potential for a battery energy storage development on land immediately to the south of the Scottish Power substation.
Meanwhile, the UK Government Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing (DLUCH) announced on 18 January that East Lothian Council had been successful in its £11.3M bid to its Levelling Up Fund. The basis of the bid is to undertake site preparation and remediation works, to allow for future employment development. These works include: removal of the earthwork bunds surrounding the coal store and regrading that site to increase its developable area; using the bund material to infill the void where the power station stood; works to the underground cooling water tunnels; repair of the sea wall and improvement works to the John Muir Way. Council officers are in the process of finalising details of the funding package with DLUCH.
Once the funding is in place, the council will procure designers to work the proposals up in detail. The local community will be engaged in discussion on the detailed proposals and the aim is then to submit planning applications in late 2023. It is intended that works will be completed in 2025, once necessary consents are in place.
At the June 2022 council meeting, members agreed to procure a technical masterplan of the entire Cockenzie site to identify how it can be serviced and formed into development parcels. The appointment is expected to be made in the spring and this will take account of the proposed Levelling Up works, which will remodel the site.
Council Leader Norman Hampshire said: “The former Cockenzie Power Station site has significant potential in terms of helping to boost the local economy, creating high-quality employment opportunities and delivering sustainable growth.
“The energy developments that already have and are seeking planning permission only constitute a small portion of the site so will not prevent wider development both in terms of employment and community aspirations for this important piece of land. It will be an exciting time ahead for local communities as we see progress towards further development at Cockenzie, and securing the Levelling Up funding has been very important in allowing us to take these steps forward.”
More detail will be set out in a wider Cockenzie power station site report to April’s full meeting of East LothianCouncil.