East Lothian Council has submitted a planning application for work on the former Cockenzie Power Station site in an important step forward in preparing the land for future economic use.

The site was purchased by the council to support future economic growth and to create employment opportunities. A successful submission was made to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund to secure funding in support of the site’s regeneration and making it developable.

The application details what the funding will be used for including:

  • removing the bunds from around the former coal store, increasing the area that is developable and improving access
  • using bund material to infill the hole where the former power station building was sited to create a level, developable platform

In more detail, the application seeks to use around 175,000 cubic metres of material (mainly gravel, sand and clay) that made up the bunds surrounding the former coal store to infill the void where the power station was situatedRemaining bund material will be used to regrade the coal store site, essentially making a level platform to allow for future development. Concrete structures within the coal store will also be demolished and the material retained for future construction use. Using the bund material to infill the void in the former power station site is a sustainable approach rather than importing material from elsewhere.

To minimise disturbance, material from the bunds will be transported in trucks using a temporary road to avoid having to route the trucks via the memorial junction in Cockenzie.

The works are being 90 per cent funded by the UK Government Levelling Up Fund following the council’s successful bid. The planning application submission follows on from a pre-planning application consultation on the proposals that took place over 12 weeks late in 2023. Public drop in events were in held in Port Seton in October and Prestonpans in December. Information on that pre-application process is available on the council website

The full planning application (24/00324/PM) is available on the council’s planning portal. It is accompanied with technical assessments on several subjects including air quality, contamination, ecology, landscape & visual impact, noise, transportation and trees.

If permitted, it is anticipated that works will begin in mid-summer 2024. Moving the bund material from the coal store is expected to take just over six months. Regrading of the coal store will begin in 2025. It is anticipated that work will begin alongside construction of the already permitted link road which will link the Alder Road junction on the B6371 approach to Cockenzie with the existing B1348 road. Much of the route would follow an existing service road to the former coal plant and be complemented by a lane, largely set back from the main roadway, to encourage safe walking and cycling.

An application to make improvements to the sea wall and the John Muir Way at the power station site, also 90 per cent UK Government Levelling Up funded, will follow later in the year.

For more information on the Cockenzie site, including planning history, visit the council website.


Published: Thursday, 4th April 2024