ANGER over plans to build a rocket engine test site on part of the former Cockenzie Power Station site led to one local resident comparing the risk of an explosion to a “Grenfell-plus disaster”.

More than 100 people packed into a public meeting in the Port Seton Centre on Monday to express their views on the proposals by space technology firm Skyrora.

And they told elected councillors it was time for residents in the village to be given something back.

Younger members of the community took the floor to demand more concern was paid to their future by tackling pollution.

One schoolgirl told the meeting: “We had the power station polluting our area for 40 years – we and future generations deserve better.”

And a mum told how her eight-year-old son asked her about the impact on the environment when she told him about the plans.

She said: “I told him I was coming to a meeting about rocket engine testing and expected him to find it exciting. Instead, he asked about the pollution.”

Many residents expressed fears about plans to have rocket fuel on the site – which was formerly home to the power station’s coal handling plant – and to transport it through the village.

One said: “Rocket fuel is one of the most explosive things on the planet.”

And in reference to the fire tragedy at Grenfell Tower, London, in 2017 which claimed more than 70 lives, he added: “We are talking about a Grenfell plus disaster.”

And residents who live at The Chimneys, which sits next to the former coal store, demanded to know what risk assessments were in place.

Another pointed out that the test site would be on top of a layer of coal which could ignite.

One parent said: “This is a vibrant community with a lot of young families – what consideration has been given to the school and nursery that the proposed route for the fuel will use?”

Prestonpans community councillor Calum Miller attended the meeting but was met with a wave of boos when he revealed the community council was supportive of Skyrora’s plans.

Mr Miller said Skyrora had submitted amended plans this week which reduced the number of monthly tests it proposed on site from about 70 a month to just five and said it was “disappointing” that the amendment had not been circulated.

And he pointed out that no other viable proposal for the site had been put forward “in the last five years”.

Skyrora has submitted a second noise assessment report, which it says is more accurate, as well as amending its plans.

A spokesperson for the company insisted that the transport of fuel was safe and safety assessments had 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.

“Our hydrogen peroxide is approximately 250l and transported in fully equipped ADR (the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) small transit vans.

“Skyrora are landscaping and are laying down a large concrete pad (approx 300mm thick) to protect the ground and to also provide a foundation. We will be sending this to tender to the local builders.

“The engine test or propellants used do not come into contact with the coal.

“As well as this, any leakage will not cause coal to ignite.”

The company also insisted that emissions from engine testing would be no more harmful than a car engine or a tractor.

They said: “Sixty per cent of what is produced is steam. The rest is carbon dioxide and a very small amount of carbon monoxide (4.7 per cent).”

Despite their claims, residents called on their elected councillors to support their objections to the plans.

One woman told the meeting: “It is time for the community to get something back.

“It is up to the faith we put in our councillors to care for our community now. That is all we are asking, for this beautiful place.

“How can the council even consider putting something like this here?”

Local councillor Fiona O’Donnell told the meeting that even if the plans were approved “the council owns the land”.

She said: “Ultimately, the council owns the land and will decide what happens to it. It will be a council decision.”