Petition to halt Musselburgh flood protection scheme backed by over 3,000

Monday December 18th 2023

Musselburgh Flood Scheme

The River Esk in Musselburgh is at the centre of flood protection scheme.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A petition calling on East Lothian Council to ‘pause and review’ a multimillion pound flood scheme will be considered after gathering more than 3,000 signatures.

The Musselburgh Flood Protection scheme (MFPS) has seen projected costs rise to nearly £50 million in recent years but has sparked controversy with residents.

Objectors to the scheme have said the council is rushing ahead with a ‘hard-engineering’ design plan rather than considering nature-based solutions.

And following a public presentation by consultants in June this year campaigners say they have ‘lost confidence’ in the scheme and those involved.

An earlier petition calling for a review was rejected by the council in August despite raising nearly 2,000 signatures, after the council said it contained ‘false statements.’

Now a new petition has been ruled competent and will be heard by the council’s petitions and community empowerment committee at a virtual meeting on Wednesday morning, which will have a live webcast.

Lodged by Dr Jeffrey Wright on behalf of the Musselburgh Flood Protection Action Group, the petition calls on the council to pause and review the MFPS.

It says: “We entirely reject the the flood protection design presented at the June exhibition.

“We have lost confidence in the MFPS and the consultants. Musselburgh deserves better.

“We want co-production of options that reduce the flood risk and preserve the character of the town focussing on nature based solutions along the Esk river catchment and along the coast.”

The petition states it has 2,761 signatories online at change.org and around a further 500 from community engagement.

It adds: “The community wants to be fully involved in the co-production of a flood protection scheme that promotes biodiversity, fights the impact of climate change and can be a role model for climate resilience.

“Our petition is our expression of our democratic rights to protest and participate in local governance. Rejection will further fracture the bond between community and East Lothian Council.”

The petitions and community empowerment committee has only met once in the last four years and is made up of four councillors – Provost John McMillan, council leader Norman Hampshire, opposition leader Lyn Jardine and Conservative group leader George McGuire.

The petition can be found HERE.

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