Saturday May 16th 2020
The site at the former Cockenzie Power Station.
Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp
A Bid to make a former power station site and new town one of Scotland’s top low carbon locations of the future has been made by East Lothian Council.
The local authority has lodged its vision for the future with Scottish Ministers as they prepare to create a new National Policy Framework (NPF4).
But it has warned its ambitions must not be sacrificed in a rush to kickstart the economy as the nation comes out of lockdown.
In an opening statement to their submission, officials expressed concern that new developments may lose sight of the long-term ambition they have for the county.
They tell the Scottish Government: “The current challenges brought about by coronavirus may have lasting effects on the economy.
“While demand for new development will return, it is important that, in the short term, standards in new development are not prejudiced to stimulate growth.
“The ambitions around climate change, ecology, health and well-being, equality, connectivity, inclusive growth and place-making remain.”
East Lothian Council wants the National Development designation given to the former Cockenzie Power Station site in previous frameworks to be expanded to include the new town of Blindwells which is underway on nearby land, in the new NPF4.
The council believes that National Development status for the wider area including nearby Blindwells would support ambitions for sustainable growth and an emerging vision for the area to be an influential, innovative, healthy and carbon neutral location.
And they say the larger site could become one of Scotland’s top ten low carbon locations.
While the boundaries of the area are still to be finalised it could stretch out to cover existing communities of Tranent, Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton and Longniddry.
Councillor Norman Hampshire, East Lothian Council spokesperson for Environment, said it was important the county continued to plan for the future during the Covid-19 outbreak.
And he said it was important the ambitions set out before the lockdown continued to be at the heart of decisions made.
He said: “We are ambitious for East Lothian and want to see it remain as a great place in which to live and work, which is well connected with good employment opportunities and sustainability principles at its heart.”
The local authority has asked Scottish Ministers to designate an area known as The Blindwells, Cockenzie and Climate Change Zone, as a National Development.
Councillor Hampshire said: “We want to see the new settlement at Blindwells developed as a fantastic community in which to live and work.
“It should be a zero emissions community embracing climate change objectives and embracing blue green infrastructure and biodiversity.
“The former Cockenzie Power Station site offers significant opportunity in terms of economic development and employment and work continues to understand its potential.
“In our proposal for a National Development, we are suggesting that a Climate Change Zone is created between these sites, and including parts of, neighbouring communities and sites.
“We believe this wider area, part of the former East Lothian coalfield, could be one of Scotland’s top 10 locations for low carbon, sustainable inclusive growth and we are determined to grasp the opportunity.
“We are making our case in a submission to the Scottish Government and will be carrying out public engagement on the extent of our vision for the area in due course.”Tweet Share on Facebook