THE Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme (MFPS) is set to take a major step forward at the end of this month.

The statutory approval process is due to begin, providing an opportunity for residents to view and comment on the controversial plan.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said: “The project team remain on target to ‘notify’ the scheme in accordance with the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 by the end of March, as instructed by the January full meeting of East Lothian Council. This is part of a formal process.”

A full update is expected to be given by the council next week.

The Musselburgh Coastal Change Assessment report is also now available to view by the public.

At the council meeting in January, the Musselburgh flood protection team also gave an update on the Musselburgh Coastal Change Assessment undertaken by Dynamic Coast, including an executive summary. It was confirmed the full report would be made available to the public when finalised.

READ MOREFirst look at how proposed Musselburgh flood defences could look

Dynamic Coast was formally commissioned by the council last year to undertake a detailed analysis of the coastal change in Musselburgh, and to consider the risk of future changes in shoreline due to projected sea level rise associated with climate change.

Musselburgh Coastal Change Assessment was undertaken by Dynamic Coast and the University of Glasgow in partnership.

This assessment provides a review of recent and future coastal changes under a range of climate change scenarios. It aims to inform the council’s works as part of the scheme, as well as the council’s wider planning and climate change duties.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, council leader, said this week: “Both the council and the Musselburgh Flood Protection Scheme’s project team are committed to ensure that all appropriate details concerning the proposed scheme, including the factual evidence gathered that guides its development, are available for all to access.

“Following the presentation of the outline design to full council in January, approval was given to move to the formal, statutory approval process, which will begin in March, providing an opportunity for the community to view and comment upon the proposals.”

Opponents say they are producing leaflets and holding meetings to assist people who wish to formally object to the scheme.

Information evenings take place at the Hollies Hub on High Street on Saturday, 10am-noon, and at the Fisherrow Centre on South Street at 7pm on Tuesday.

READ MOREPetition to halt flood scheme backed by over 3,000 people

The scheme sparked controversy in the town after costs soared from the original £8.9 million in 2016 to a current estimate of £53.9 million.

Opponents of the MFPS, which includes the introduction of walls through the town centre, wanted it paused, claiming that not enough work had been carried out to find “natural solutions” instead. They claimed that less than a 10th of the outline design for the scheme used natural options.

A petition calling for the project to be paused was considered by councillors alongside the report in January.

The Musselburgh project aims to protect the town from flooding from the coast and the River Esk, which runs through its centre.

Current plans include 4.7km of flood walls with 1.7km made up of “flood embankments and hybrid structures”.

New design proposals for the scheme show that much of the flood walls proposed for areas around the River Esk have been reduced in height to one metre to address concerns over their impact.

Go to to see the Musselburgh Coastal Change Assessment.