Musselburgh Ash Lagoons

Cockenzie Power Station from the Musselburgh Ash Lagoons
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Cockenzie Power Station from the Musselburgh Ash Lagoons

Lying on the seaward side of the Musselburgh Race Course, next to the mouth of the River Esk in East Lothian, the Ash Lagoons were created as a repository for the coal-ash from Cockenzie Power Station, 3 miles (5 km) to the east northeast. Pumped from the power station as a slurry, the ash settles out in these lagoons, which are managed by Scottish Power, a privatised utility which now forms part of a multi-national energy group. Constrained within a concrete sea-wall, the deposited ash has permitted the reclamation of around 120 ha (297 acres) of land which has been returned to East Lothian Council to become the recreation area of Levenhall Links. This includes a nature reserve, popular with ornithologists. Despite the sterile environment, the active lagoons provided a roost for wading and sea-birds. With the closure of power station in 2013, the lagoons have been entirely returned to nature and included within the Firth of Forth Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in recognition of their value to birds.

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