Energy park proposal “unacceptable”

Iain Gray MSP has written to hundreds of concerned constituents to tell them he does not support the energy park as proposed by Scottish Enterprise for the Cockenzie Power Station site.

Mr Gray has received several hundred letters in a campaign organised by the Coastal Regeneration Alliance. In his reply he says,

“Thank you for your letter outlining your concerns regarding the Scottish Enterprise proposals for the site of Cockenzie Power Station, which I share.

I will always support what is best for East Lothian, and would not therefore dismiss out of hand ideas which might create high quality job opportunities especially for our young people. However the proposal submitted by Scottish Enterprise, with the increase in industrial footprint, impact on roads, local amenity and damage to the John Muir Way is, in my view, clearly unacceptable.

Decisions regarding this proposal will be for Scottish Ministers and the planning authority (East Lothian Council), and I will have no role in any such decisions. It is also the case that the land is, as I write, still owned by Scottish Power, and how they decide to dispose of it will of course have a bearing on what happens in the future.

However, this does mean that I do not face legal restriction on taking a view, as is the case with our local Councillors.

Therefore, and since this is a Scottish Government proposal, I have met with the Minister responsible, John Swinney and have made him aware of the unprecedented level of community concern which has already been expressed, and made clear to him that local residents do not feel they are being consulted or listened to. I also took the opportunity to make clear to Mr Swinney that there are other proposals for the site, for example tourism related proposals which should not be overruled out of hand.

I will make him aware of your letter and the hundreds of similar letters and petitions I have received.

I have also met with the steering group of the Coastal Regeneration Alliance to hear their concerns first hand, and promised to work with them to explore what the community would consider an appropriate way forward for the site. I do believe that this could involve some new industry, but not the massive increase in industrial footprint and consequent loss of amenity which the current proposal suggests. I am pursuing information the steering group asked me to find, and will continue to work with them.

I believe that this has a long way to go, and that local communities must be listened to. But the current proposal is not acceptable.”