Historic Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, has compiled an inventory of nationally important battlefields and Prestonpans is included in this inventory. Its purpose is to provide information on the sites in it in order to raise awareness of their significance, and to assist in their protection and management for the future.
Scottish Government policy relating to battlefields means that inclusion of an area in the Inventory does not act as a barrier to development. Rather the purpose of the designation is to try to ensure that change happens in a way that takes the battlefield landscape and its constituent elements into account sympathetically and avoids unnecessary damage.
Our role in the planning process in relation to battlefields
While we do not determine planning applications, whether relating to battlefields or not; we are a consultee where developments affect battlefields, as we were in the application concerning an electricity substation, near Prestonpans. Our role as a consultee on any planning application is solely restricted to commenting on Historic Environment matters. We consider any application on its own merits and in accordance with Scottish Government policy.
Development proposals at Prestonpans Battlefield, East Lothian
Inch Cape Offshore Ltd: Electricity Substation
The Inch Cape Offshore Ltd substation development lies within the historic battlefield at Prestonpans, which is why we were consulted. We concluded that the proposal to build the substation on the site would not have a significant adverse impact on the battlefield landscape, particularly in light of the existing features in this part of the battlefield, for example, the railway embankment. In our advice to the planning authority, we did highlight that there is potential for impact upon archaeological remains associated with the battle. A full copy of Historic Scotland’s advice to the planning authority can be seen here: Letter to East Lothian Council (22 July 2014)
The relevant documents can be viewed on the Local Authority’s planning portal (14/00456/PPM):
The development was granted planning permission in principle by East Lothian Council on 2nd September.
In granting permission, East Lothian Council placed condition requiring that archaeological investigations occur before works take place. As is normal practice, such a programme of archaeological investigations will be agreed in advance by the planning authority and the developer. These archaeological investigations will be undertaken in accordance with national policy and in line with industry standards.
Scottish Enterprise: Cockenzie Energy Park
The proposal for an Energy Park at the former Cockenzie Power Station and surrounding area was announced by Scottish Enterprise earlier this year. While specific details have yet to be outlined, Scottish Enterprise have commenced an Environmental Impact Assessment and Historic Scotland (along with other agencies such as Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) are a consultee as part of that process. This assessment will consider the likely environmental impacts arising from the proposal, including those upon the battlefield site at Prestonpans.
Historic Scotland provided advice on the scope of this assessment in June 2014, highlighting the importance of considering what impacts the proposed Energy Park may have upon the Prestonpans battlefield.
We understand that the planning application will be submitted in Spring 2015 and Historic Scotland, as a statutory consultee in relation to historic battlefields, will be asked for a view at that point. Our role will be to advise the decision makers on how the development and any impacts it may have relate to national policies for the protection of the historic environment. The decision making and consenting authorities in this case will be Transport Scotland (for the harbour creation), Marine Scotland (for works within the marine environment) and East Lothian Council (for onshore matters).
Further information about the proposal, including the likely timescales for bringing forward an planning application, can be found on Scottish Enterprise’s website.