MEMBERS of Prestonpans Community Council have raised concerns about the safety of battery storage facilities after a massive fire at a recycling centre in the west of Scotland.

Following the major fire at WEEE Solutions Ltd at Paisley, Renfrewshire, on June 23 – where 10 fire appliances were called, with emergency services stationed days after – members of the community council have expressed safety fears as a similar facility is planned nearby.

Prestonpans Community Council met late last month and discussed the topic at great length, with concerns raised about current and future battery recycling centres in East Lothian.

They also discussed the proposed plans for an electricity generating station and storage facility, known as a BESS, which would house 140 lithium-ion battery containers in Cockenzie.

The new facility would be based to the south of the former Cockenzie Power Station site, partly on the former coal store and partly on agricultural land.

Councillor Lachlan Bruce, ward member for Preston Seton Gosford, said: "I can see the opportunities that could be created by making the battery storage station.

"In terms of developable land, we can get businesses in and create local jobs, and that is the opportunities I see.

"I understand that people disagree and I do get concerns around contaminations but, from my viewing of the reports, that can be managed.

"There is a risk, but there is in everything you do, but fundamentally the risk is very small and minimal."

Ferhan Ashiq, community council member, said: "I think there have to be places outlined where you cannot put these stations.

"I know it is tough in this area but at the moment there is a free-for-all situation where so many companies are vying for this land and not thinking about the consequences of the potential risks."

DJ Johnston-Smith, community council chairperson, said: "This seems like the best time to talk about the dangers of battery storage due to the recent incidents just outside of Glasgow and the rest of the UK.

"The footage that has been shared is absolutely remarkable, so we do have a number of questions to raise about the heavy metals and other toxic substances that are in the bunds.

"The Scottish Government and East Lothian Council obviously has interest in these areas to develop and there are a lot of questions to be answered."

Approval of the project, which is considered a national development, rests with the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit (ECU), with East Lothian Council only able to comment on the proposals.