Cockenzie Coal-Fired Power Station, the dirtiest power station in Europe and a scar on the East Lothian coast line, is due to close in 2015. ScottishPower had hoped to re-build it, or retrofit it, making it one of up to 7 new coal-fired power stations to be built in the UK. However, those plans quickly disappeared, to be replaced by plans for a gas-fired power station instead. At a packed public meeting on the 9th February, councilors and community members resoundingly rejected the plans.
Over 150 people attended the meeting in Port Seton called by Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council.
The East Lothian Courier reported that Robert Bryson, vice-chair of the community council, said: “The community council is very concerned about these proposals from Scottish Power concerning the future of the Cockenzie Power Station. We are not convinced by their argument concerning emissions, the lack of electricity if it is closed down and the promise of further jobs for local people.
“Emissions and noise will continue to be a problem for the community, coupled with the fact that carbon capture is still really in its infancy.
“This area continues to have high instances of lung problems, and heart illness is higher than the national average. Something is causing this anomaly.
“We have been promised there will be further employment opportunities for local workers, but there are no guarantees on this.”
Guest councilor Mr MacKenzie said: “It is the settled will of the East Lothian people that the power station will close, and I know many people have been looking forward to the closure for many years. Just imagine what the East Lothian coastline and landscape would look like if the power station was not there. Currently, cables and pylons marr the countryside.”
Another councilor Mr Currie added: “This decision is very important to the people of East Lothian because it will affect us for the next 40 years. Generations will have to deal with the effects of a gas-fired power station in their back yard. This is purely a commercial decision by Scottish Power and one I strongly disagree with. The future of Scotland is in renewable energy which can produce just as many jobs for people in our area.”
Needless to say no ScottishPower representatives were present at the meeting. This does look like one power project that ScottishPower won’t get away with imposing on the surrounding communities.