Mowi Scotland appeals inconsistent salmon farm planning decision

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
23 September 2022, at 7:00am

Mowi Scotland Ltd has submitted a notice of appeal regarding a recent refusal of planning permission to increase production on its Loch Hourn salmon farm by 10 percent.

fish farm pens
Mowi Scotland's Loch Hourn salmon farm

The company wants to add one extra pen and increase the site's 2,500 tonne production limit by 10 percent © Mowi Scotland

Should the appeal be successful it would grant permission for an additional fish pen to be installed together with an increase in the farms production capacity by 10 percent.

“After careful consideration we have concluded there are strong evidence-based grounds to contest the reasons for refusal and, in accordance with the statutory provision, we intend to appeal against the decision,” said Stephen MacIntyre, head of environment at Mowi Scotland, in a press release.

“In this appeal we present clear evidence and information showing why we believe the decision to refuse planning permission was not consistent with development plan policy, nor a proper assessment of the application and Environmental Impact Assessment Report.”

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s (SEPA) assessment of the risk to protected species and seabed habitats posed by the application concludes that it would not pose any significant risk and have issued a varied Controlled Activities Regulations Licence.

The initial planning permission was recommended for approval by Highland Council planners and received no objections from statutory agencies.

The salmon farm at Loch Hourn has recently been upgraded with fewer, larger pens and currently consists of seven 160 metre circumference circular pens. The farm is currently stocked with juvenile salmon in line with the planning authority’s limitation of 2,500 tonnes of production.

“As we outlined in our planning application the benefits of fewer, larger pens are evident and include reduced visual impacts, operational efficiencies, reduced fish stocking densities and improved health and welfare for our salmon,” MacIntyre said. “We are pleased that we have been able to commence work to update and modernise the Loch Hourn farm as fish farming in Scotland evolves in response to developing new technology. Loch Hourn is the fifth Mowi fish farm to transition to new larger pens and we are seeing the benefits they bring to these locations.

“We acknowledge that the planning application resulted in a mix of positive and negative feedback from local residents about the farm that has been operating near the Arnisdale community for the past 30 years. Notwithstanding, we expect that development decisions that affect the livelihoods of many local families be evidence-based when considering social, economic and environmental sustainability.”

Click here to see the Planning Permission Appeal (Case Reference PPA-270-2275)