Salmon farms want to stay for good

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
26 April 2007, at 1:00am

UK - Scotlands salmon farmers will receive a significant boost in confidence if they are awarded planning approval for the long-term, according to the head of the industrys trade association.

Launching a new four year plan to improve the competitiveness of the industry, Sid Patten, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), said the new aquaculture planning regime must provide for accessible and permanent planning permission. The previous arrangements whereby planning permission was awarded for a pre-determined period was not fit-for-purpose in terms of a vibrant and responsible industry.

Entitled ‘Developing salmon farming, protecting the environment’, the four year plan is to be sent to Scotland’s politicians, councillors and prospective Parliamentary and local authority candidates ahead of the 3rd May elections.

“The benefits of permanent planning will give enormous confidence to the industry, as it will provide security and encourage further investment into many remote, rural communities,” said Patten. “The lack of full and permanent planning permission has always been an issue for farmers, but I believe we are close to achieving it by the co-operation between the industry and the public sector in bringing aquaculture into the new planning regime.

The transfer of planning powers to local authorities took effect on 1st April 2007. Noting that the development of the industry must be based on sound science, Patten added: “It’s time that salmon farming is recognised as a modern, responsible industry and that it is afforded the same benefits of permanent planning permission enjoyed by land-based industries.

“We are acutely aware of our environmental and economic responsibilities, and we would like to see the new planning regime acknowledge the likes of the government funded research projects which concluded the effects of sea lice medicines on the environment are undetectable (1) and the total area of seabed used for aquaculture is “insignificant in terms of the total coastal resource”.(2)

“Where appropriate, the industry is also willing to consider the relocation of certain sites and we will seek further engagement with individual local authorities and the Scottish Executive on the review of existing sites to ensure consistency is applied throughout Scotland,” he added.