Carbon neutral future in East Lothian

Saturday May 30th 2020

Blindwells


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A water park, new train station and new leisure routes through a series of waterways are all included in a vision for a carbon neutral zone in East Lothian which could become a game changer for future developments.

East Lothian Council has produced a map of how it sees the new under-construction town of Blindwells and surrounding communities transform as the county tackles climate change.

And the hope is that as the country comes out of the Covid-19 crisis, more people who have been exploring their surroundings as they worked from home or were furloughed will take part in a public consultation on its vision and embrace the concept of “my space” as they move forward.

East Lothian Council is petitioning the Scottish Government to extend the National Development status it gave the former Cockenzie Power Station site in its National Planning Framework (NPF3) document to a wider area in their planned revised framework (NPF4) which is under review.

 

 

The map is part of a wide-ranging consultation which will be launched on the council’s consultation hub on Monday and tackles everything from the environment to travel, leisure and geothermic and renewable energy.

It considers how the council can take the opportunity of creating a new town at Blindwells to look at the latest technology and reducing the town and surrounding areas carbon footprint.

Among the ideas up for discussion is using groundwater from the area to create waterways and how they can be used to create geothermic energy projects.

Project leader Douglas Proudfoot said the idea behind the new water features across the area was to avoid putting pipes underground to remove groundwater and utilise it instead as the new town of Blindwells develops on the former opencast coal site of the same name between Longniddry and Tranent. The firrst houses are due to be built later this year.

He said: “We have a unique opportunity here with a blank canvas for a new town at a time when climate change is central to policies.

“I also think the Covid-19 pandemic has driven forward the idea that people can work from home and find alternative ways to work with the support of digital technology.”

Central to the vision is alternative ways to travel with an emphasis on walkways and cycle routes.

A new train station at a central hub within an area the council has dubbed Greater Blindwells will provide additional access to public transport.

To the north of the central hub between Cockenzie and Port Seton and Longniddry there are proposals for a water park or outdoor leisure area with the potential to create a lido, space for kayaking and other water sports.

At the former Cockenzie Power Station site, less than half-a-mile away, a new centre of excellence is proposed described as a training school and “exemplar development in modular manufacture and construction”.

The council is launching an eight-week consultation on their vision for the area from tomorrow and people will be able to go in and give their views.

They are also hoping that as lockdown restrictions ease they may be able to have outdoor exhibitions for people who cannot access the proposals online and will be advertising the consultation locally so people can get in touch through the post.

The Scottish Government is currently looking at revising its framework and the council has made its case for the wider area to be classed as a National Development, which will give their proposals support at a national level.

The consultation will open at eastlothianconsultations.co.uk from Monday, June 1.

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