Local authority at heart of investor confidence

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
19 January 2007, at 12:00am

UK - The Highland Council is to be at the heart of building investor confidence in the salmon farming sector, according to Sid Patten, Chief Executive of representative body Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO).

In a meeting with Councillors and officials from The Highland Council on Thursday 18th January, Sid Patten will assert that the implementation of planning powers by the local authority will be a crucial element in attracting further investment into the industry.

The sector is witnessing a number of changes and not only in ownership, technology is improving, customer requirements are increasing, and there are continuous demands to attract investment into the sector in order to grow in-line with market demand and compete with other salmon producing countries, said Patten.

One of these changes, the transfer of planning powers to local authorities is a fundamental change to the current regime, and it will empower the Council to have a big say in the vitality of remote, rural communities.

By and large, local authorities want to see a healthy salmon industry as they recognise the real benefits both socially and economically, but I want to emphasise the role of the planning regime in building investor confidence, he added.

Patten will also stress that the industry already attracts high value and highly skilled jobs, both directly and indirectly, and the future prosperity of many businesses depend on the continuation of investment in and support for the sector.

As approximately one third of Scottish salmon production is in the Highland Council region, he will insist that a key factor to securing high quality employment in rural communities is to provide the right conditions to secure UK and international investment.

Production of Scottish farmed salmon has fallen from its peak of 169,736 tonnes in 2003 to 129,588 tonnes in 2005, but (once reporting is complete) the 2006 total is expected to show modest growth once more. UK consumption of salmon continues to rise at an unprecedented rate.

TheFishSite News Desk