DISCUSSIONS are continuing to take place to ensure that Dunbar and the surrounding area benefit from a trio of multi-million-pound projects.

Plans are already under way for the Berwick Bank Wind Farm and the Eastern Link project, as well as the decommissioning of Torness Power Station.

Each of the projects is expected to bring hundreds of workers to the area, but concerns have been expressed about where they will stay, additional traffic on the road and ensuring that the area reaps the benefits.

Paul McLennan, East Lothian MSP, has already organised a series of meetings, which have been attended by representatives of the developers, East Lothian Council officials, community councils and other community groups.

Mr McLennan highlighted the potential positives for the area, including a sizeable economic boost.

Berwick Bank Wind Farm, which has already secured a grid connection at Branxton, near Torness, will be created 40 kilometres off the county coast and feature more than 200 turbines.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Link project involves more than £1.5 billion of underwater cabling linking Thorntonloch Beach, near the East Lothian town, to County Durham.

Finally, Torness Power Station is expected to stop generating power in March 2028.

The SNP politician, who previously represented the Dunbar and East Linton ward on East Lothian Council, described the projects as “a fantastic opportunity for East Lothian in terms of providing long-term sustainable jobs, boosting our economy, and moving towards net zero”.

He said: “The benefits of increased climate-friendly energy production to East Lothian and Scotland could be game-changing for our local economy: providing a large number of well-paid long-term jobs across East Lothian, as well as an increase in infrastructure investment and direct investment into community initiatives.

“I set up these meetings in order to make sure that resources are directed in the best way for local communities, as well as support developers with their logistics and planning.

“We need a joined-up approach to these projects, and I’m pleased to see the conversations between all groups are continuing.”

Those in attendance were split into work groups to discuss various issues raised by the projects, including community benefits, skills, workforce and logistics, and supply and manufacturing.

Mr McLennan, who will speak to Dunbar Community Council next Monday (November 21) about the projects, acknowledged that there was still work to be done to ensure disruption and issues were kept to a minimum.

He said: “Just one example: we have agreed to look at setting up a cross-development supply forum, which will allow groups to talk to each other about supply issues, working out whether there are suppliers that can be used in East Lothian, or whether new supply resources need to be developed, with input from all sides of the development.

“This sort of collaborative work could reduce wasted time, effort, and financial resources, as well as supporting the East Lothian supply side industry – another long-term benefit of these projects.

“Another really important area of work is ensuring that there is suitable accommodation for additional labour.

“At the meeting on Monday, there was a significant step forward as we agreed a plan to begin gathering data on estimated workforce numbers.

“This will allow communities to have an idea of the costs and benefits of the projects to the local area in the short term, as well as identify areas where additional support may be needed.”

However, both Dunbar Community Council and East Lammermuir Community Council still have concerns as to the impact of the developments on the community.

Pippa Swan, chairwoman of the Dunbar group, said: “The community council still has quite significant concerns about how the workforce is going to be accommodated and what the implications might be for transportation issues, health and welfare of the workforce.”

Chris Bruce, chairman of neighbouring East Lammermuir Community Council, called on the developers to keep in touch with them to ensure those affected were aware of what was going on.

He said: “We have found it works well when developers host liaison meetings regularly with local people and explain if large machinery is going to come through, when it is going to come and making sure workers adhere to speed limits.”

Mr Bruce was also keen to look at potential benefits, including money being put aside for community projects and engineering projects, such as safe crossings of the A1, being carried out.