Rocket firm plans await lift off

Thursday December 12th 2019

Cockenzie

Written by Local Democracy Reporter Marie Sharp

A controversial bid to establish a rocket engine testing site at the former Cockenzie Power Station site in East Lothian is to be decided by councillors at a meeting next week.

Edinburgh-based firm Skyrora has applied for planning permission to build the temporary testing site on the land with a view to making it a permanent fixture on the site.

However, local councillors for the Preston, Seton, Gosford ward where it would be based have called-in the proposal to next week’s meeting of East Lothian Council’s planning committee.

Both Councillor Fiona O’Donnell and Councillor Lachlan Bruce cited the large number of objections and concerns about the proposals as the reason to bring the plans, which were to be decided by officials, to the committee.

A packed public meeting in Cockenzie and Port Seton at the end of August saw a cross-generation delegation from the community demanding the proposals be scrapped.

Young people took to the floor to demand more concern was paid to their future by tackling pollution and one schoolgirl told the meeting: “We had the power station polluting our area for 40 years – we and future generations deserve better.”

More than 100 people attended the meeting, where concerns about having rocket fuel on the site, which was formerly home to the power station’s coal handing plant, and transporting it through the village.

Skyrora has insisted that the transport of fuel is safe and safety assessment has been carried out on the site .

They said: “Kerosene being used in engine testing is approximately only 60l. That’s the size of an average car tank and is classed as the same flammability as diesel.”

Neighbouring Prestonpans Community Council has supported the Skyrora plans for the former power station land.

The planning application will be put before councillors at a planning meeting on Wednesday.

Fife Council approved a similar planning application for the firm to test its engines on a site at Rosyth Dockyard in September.

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