A letter to the Scottish Government highlights “serious reservations” held by the community in response to a planned battery storage facility in Cockenzie and Port Seton.

Cockenzie Battery Storage System, led by Sutton Coldfield-based Pegasus Group, would see the installation of three substations and more than 150 battery storage units on land south of Inglis Farm, Cockenzie.

If approved, it would be one of the largest projects of its kind in the UK.

In Scotland, certain applications in relation to energy infrastructure are made to the Scottish Ministers for determination. These cases are administered by the Energy Consents Unit.

Applications for consent for the construction, extension and operation of electricity-generating stations with a capacity in excess of 50 megawatts, such as the planned facility in Cockenzie and Port Seton, fall into this category.

This means that they fall out of the remit of the local planning authority, which in this case is East Lothian Council.

Cockenzie and Port Seton Community Council has shown its support for renewable energy development and infrastructure in the local area but has raised serious concerns at the proposed location of the site.

In the letter, it said: “We would be failing our community if we did not express serious reservations about the proposed siting of the battery energy storage system (BESS).

“We understand the requirement for the system and are completely supportive of the development of renewable energy sources and infrastructure.

“However, the proposed site is directly adjacent to residential areas and a children’s play area, and situated so the prevailing south west wind from the site is directly towards a local school, medical centre and residential areas.”

The group also highlighted the “inherent risk” of fire to the nearby community, which will sit upwind from the site.

The letter added: “We understand that fire and explosions are an inherent risk from BESS, and no matter what controls are implemented to mitigate this risk, the only way to eliminate it is to not site the BESS adjacent to and upwind of communities who will be seriously impacted in such an event.”

The group has proposed an alternative site further south at the former coal-handling plant, which it believes would be more suitable and reduce the risks present in the planned site.

It believes that, while this site does not completely eliminate all the risks, it would bring an extra layer of safety to the closest residents.

Additionally, the group believes that the site would be more amenable to the community, as it would ensure the retention of productive arable farmland at the planned site.

A spokesperson for the group added: “We would urge both local and national government to consider the wisdom of such a development in the midst of residential communities.”