County MSP Iain Gray attended the Scottish Parliament petitions committee today to speak in support of the CRA petition presented by Shona Brash. The petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to abandon the proposal for the development of an Energy Park at Cockenzie.
Iain Gray said:
“The CRA made the case powerfully for the halting of the current energy park proposal, and I was pleased to speak in their support. I made clear to my colleagues on the committee that the petition has the support of the local community, and that local people feel they have been neither consulted or considered.
“The site is one of national strategic significance but it is also of local strategic significance, at the very heart of the three towns of Cockenzie, Port Seton and Prestonpans. Those communities have supported Scottish Power and the power station’s contribution to Scotland’s energy needs for over forty years. They built the power station, worked in it and lived next door to it. Now that it has closed Scottish Power should take their interests into account when they dispose of the site.
“Only a part of the site is currently industrialised, and it includes considerable green space which the community do not want to lose. The Scottish Government proposal for an energy park, is not just an energy park burt the biggest facility they could possibly imagine on the site. It would hugely increase the industrial footprint, and worst of all cut these communities off from each other. I believe that we do need to see jobs provided on this site, but not at any cost.
“I do hope that this site can come into some form of public ownership, because if Scottish Power simply sell to a private developer then who knows what plans they might have. But we must abandon the current proposal, start all over again and this time work with the community to develop a plan for the site which addresses their interests as well as providing jobs.
“The committee agreed to write to Scottish Power, Scottish Enterprise and East Lothian Council for their response in the first instance. This is a good sign, because it means committee members believed that there was merit in the petition and a case to answer. It could well lead to further evidence being considered in committee. Several members of the committee expressed the view that it should be possible for interested parties to work together, with the community and I would expect them to seek answers as to why this has not happened.
“I have asked the convenor of the committee to keep me fully informed of the committee’s consideration of the petition.”