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Does the National Battlefield Inventory have NO meaning .. already?

First Culloden and now Prestonpans .. it's time Historic Scotland told the nation if it 'really really cares' about battlefield sites. Is there really any point to a National Inventory?

At Culloden it's been property development, incomprehensibly approved at national level. Now it's our turn for dire attentions in The Pans. We are confidently expecting, as they forlornly did at Culloden, that Historic Scotland will stand up and be counted. The Trust has written to the Cabinet Secretary responsible, Fiona Hyslop MSP, for her unequivocal opposition to the notion of a Sub-Station being constructed on the battlefield.

For reasons beyond comprehension, Scottish Power has led InchCape Offshore/Onshore to believe that the battlefield is a suitable place, indeed available, for the construction of an electricity Sub-Station as it brings wind derived energy ashore.

Well it's not. There are no ifs/ buts or maybe just a wee corner would be alright. The idea is flawed and the Scoping proposed is outrageous, and worse still, wholly unnecessary.

The red hatchings mark the proposed site for the Sub-Station. The blue and red arrows are the trajectory of the battle.

The blue hatchings show the cables coming ashore, running up south to the battlefield and then, incredibly, back down again to the National Grid connection which has a wee black edged yellow * displayed. That's the sort of extravaganza the Noble Duke of York would deploy!

Scottish Power has announced the demolition of its massive coal store at the end of its branch rail line following the closure of their coal fired power station at Cockenzie last year. It's a brownfield site which is closer to the necessary infrastructure connection to the National Grid that InchCape is quite sensibly seeking by coming ashore at Cockenzie.

Let them speak Spanish together ..

Both enterprises are Spanish owned. So they can exchange words swiftly with no room for misunderstanding.

If the two enterprises cannot come to their senses it's clear that the 2nd Battle of Prestonpans is imminent. Bookings to view from Preston Tower should be made early.

But that's not the outcome the Trust is seeking. Despite sharpening our Lochabar axes, we at the Trust have twice politely met with InchCape, swopped Consultation pastries and eaten supper together as we have expressed the firm opinion that coming ashore hereabouts is fine just so long as Scottish Power step up and make a proximate brownfield site available.

... and all this is said before discussion begins on the fate of the restoration/ interpretation of the 18th century Waggonway that runs south / north from Tranent to Cockenzie harbour, Scotland's first railway and powered by gravity on the way down laden with coal and horse power on the way back up. That was 50/ 50 Green Energy, so it's a natural ally of wind farming offshore.

What frankly the Trust would wish for is a three way discussion between Scottish Power, InchCape and ourselves so that everyone's legitimate purposes are met. The Trust wants ever improved battlefield interpretation and the Waggonway restored as far as practicable, and certainly InchCape wants a cost effective landfall and transformational access to the National Grid. And Scottish Power ... ah well, will we see a new gas fired power station perhaps, or nothing at all? Is that the rub?

Published Date: April 30th 2014

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