A campaign calling on East Lothian Council to “pause and review” the controversial multi-million pound Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme is gathering momentum.

A second petition has been launched after the local authority rejected an earlier one, and a protest website, called Pause The Flood Scheme, has been created by opponents of the plan.

A GoFundMe online page has also been set up to support the campaigners to produce flyers and posters “in order to spread the word to residents of the town, help them understand what is planned and enable them to have their say”.

The initial petition, calling for the pause of the flood protection scheme, gathered more than 2,300 signatures and was thrown out on the grounds that it contained “premature” and “factually incorrect” statements.

But opponents of the scheme argued that the document was “unfairly and unreasonably” rejected by the council’s democratic services team, and branded the move as “stifling democracy”.

It has been said that the new petition, which currently has more than 1,500 signatures, has been kept “short and simple”, and it states: “We ask for your help to make it VERY clear to East Lothian councillors how you feel about their Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme.”

The flood protection plan, costing £43.5 million – 20 per cent East Lothian Council and 80 per cent Scottish Government Flood Programme – aims to introduce defences against a one-in-200-year risk of flooding in the town.

The scheme aims to provide formal flood protection to about 3,000 properties in the town at risk from a major flood event.

Four replacement bridges - Goosegreen, Shorthope, Electric and Ivanhoe - and various types of flood defences are among measures planned to protect Musselburgh from flooding including new physical defences along the River Esk corridor and coastal foreshore.

Another two separate projects have been brought together with the flood protection plan – future-proofing the ash lagoons sea wall at a cost of £52.4 million, with talks ongoing between the council and ScottishPower; and parts of the Musselburgh Active Toun project to provide enhanced footpaths, pathways and cycleways with £122,000 from Sustrans. This takes the total investment to £96 million.

Opponents are rejecting the flood protection design presented at the public exhibition in June, saying: “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 on the Esk river catchment and along the coast.

“We have lost confidence in the MFPS and the consultants,” they add on the online petition page.

Opponents have also launched a campaign website called ‘Pause The Flood Scheme,’ saying they are concerned about the proposed flood prevention plans and seek an alternative nature-based solution.

Local resident Roger Crofts, a member of the Musselburgh Flood Protection Action Group, said: “We hope that the people of Musselburgh and all of those who visit Musselburgh will join in rejecting the current East Lothian Council flood protection proposals.”

“They are over engineered, out of date with current thinking on working with nature, breach the council’s environmental policies with the amount of concrete which will be used, do not adequately address the three crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and cost of living and will destroy the amenity of our town,” he claimed.

An East Lothian spokesperson said: “This project will provide formal flood protection to around 3,000 properties in the town at risk from a major flood event. The scheme will use many techniques working together to achieve a major reduction in the flood risk in the town, and thus stop flood waters spilling onto the natural flood plains on which Musselburgh was built over many centuries.

“The public exhibition events in June provided opportunities for local residents and businesses to view the outline designs. All feedback received through the exhibition will be considered. Alongside this a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the design will now be undertaken, and it is highlighted that this EIA process will feed into the revision of the designs.

“It is hoped the designs demonstrate the desire to deliver objectives that have been requested in the community: flood defences that blend into the historical build landscape; river restoration; natural solutions; active travel pathways; better footbridges; protection for Fisherrow Harbour.

“The project team will continue holding meetings of the consultation working groups as it works to finalise the outline design, as well as publishing further updates/information for the community. We are happy to meet any group in the community to discuss further.”

They explained: “The first design - shown to the public during the exhibition in June - presented a mix of different solutions which were each tailored into a bespoke solution to best sit into the existing landscape at each design section. The presented approach along the sea wall was to use rock armour. Along the rest of the length there were 15 other different styles of physical defences proposed and these included the use of concrete walls, masonry dressed walls, earthen embankments, enhancement of dune systems, repair of existing boundary walls, repair of the existing Fisherrow Harbour walls and new structures that were hybrid combinations of some these various techniques. These new physical defences will also include flood gates and glass panels, but, again, final decisions on this are not yet taken as the design is evolving.”

To visit the Pause The Flood Scheme website go to https://pausethefloodscheme.com/

To view the new protest petition go to www.change.org/p/pause-musselburgh-s-flood-protection-plan-the-community-deserves-better

For the GoFundMe page to go https://www.gofundme.com/f/pause-the-musselburgh-flood-scheme

For information about the flood protections scheme go to www.musselburghfloodprotection.com

The outline design shows new flood defence walls, a modified existing river edge wall, new flood defence earthen embankments, a set of embankment and flood wall defences within the Pinkie area as well as hybrid structures - part earthenware embankment, seawall and dune system - on the coast, tying into Fisherrow Harbour.