LAST week, I was able to raise the Eastern Link project in Parliament – a bland name but it’s the UK’s largest infrastructure project in recent years.

Two cables are being laid to take renewable energy south from Scotland to England. One runs from Torness to Redcar and another from Peterhead to Yorkshire. They’ll be taking enough energy to power 2.8 million homes, which is more than we have in Scotland.

The project makes sense, as Scotland is blessed with a surfeit of energy. Almost 100 per cent of Scotland’s domestic electricity supply is already provided by renewables.

Berwick Bank, just one of the offshore wind farms being constructed, provides that supply alone. And there’s more, as there’s onshore wind, never mind existing hydro, with tidal and wave still to be commercialised, though they will be.

Supplying England is sensible, as is accessing the European market. But where’s the benefit to Scotland or East Lothian?

We’ve seen natural bounties before such as oil and gas, and yet people and country missed out.

There’s no payment for the energy going south other than a small sum to Crown Estate for accessing the foreshore. What’s the use of being able to see turbines turning on or offshore if you can’t heat your home?

It’s why I raised the issue of community benefit. Now there’s provision for that with onshore wind.

However, when that was set, no one considered that windfarms would go offshore.

That’s where there should be a real benefit for East Lothian, with energy flowing ashore at Torness and Cockenzie.

There should be a payment to the council, as happened with oil and gas in Shetland. It wouldn’t be a huge amount which might discourage investment, but enough to significantly benefit local communities.

I’m meeting the minister who recognises the legislative gap and has similar issues in his Humberside constituency. It’s right and badly needed.