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Cruise ship terminal plan unveiled for power site north of Edinburgh

Words: Roger Milne

Proposals have been unveiled for what would be Scotland’s first purpose-built cruise ship terminal on the mainland at the site of a decommissioned coal-fired power station.

The development, at Cockenzie in East Lothian, would be able to welcome modern liners that are unable to dock farther up the Firth of Forth because of their height and width.

It is estimated that Cockenzie could accommodate at least 200 cruise liners a year, bringing around 500,000 visitors to Scotland.

At present only Orkney has a purpose-built terminal for cruise ships in Scotland, although many liners call into Scottish ports around the country.

In addition to the terminal, the plans for the 50-hectare site include an eco-village, a green-themed visitor centre dedicated to naturalist John Muir and a retail and business park.

The scheme has a price-tag of around £300 million.

A question mark remains over the future of the site.

Last month the plug was pulled on controversial plans by Scottish Enterprise to build a giant marine energy park there. Site owner Scottish Power has been granted planning consent to replace the decommissioned coal plant with a more environmentally friendly gas-fired power station, but acknowledges that making a business case for the investment is difficult at the moment.

Image courtesy of Gavin Proc