Aquaculture is the culture of aquatic animals and plants in fresh, brackish or marine water environments. Marine aquaculture in Argyll and Bute involves growing finfish (normally salmon or rainbow trout) in cages or pens and growing shellfish on the seabed, trestles, suspended on ropes or nets (mussels, scallops and oysters).
Planning permission is required for all new aquaculture developments, change of use of and alterations to existing approved sites.
New aquaculture sites and modifications to existing aquaculture developments require planning consent from Argyll and Bute Council under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Marine Fish Farming (Scotland) Order 2007. It applies to the placement of equipment in the sea, on the seabed or on the foreshore below MWHS out to 12 nautical miles. There are three types of application that can be made:
- New site – this will involve a proposal for a new previously undeveloped site or if it is proposed to change from Shellfish to Finfish or vice versa.
- Change of use – should be made when the proposals involve a change in the species that will be farmed on site, i.e. Salmon to Cod.
- Alterations to an existing approved site – this may involve a change to the overall size of the site and/or the equipment used on an existing site.
Pre-application discussion Prospective developers are advised to discuss their proposals with the Major Applications Team (see contact details below) as early as possible in the process of preparing a planning application. For finfish development, planning officers will be able to identify whether the proposal can proceed directly to formal planning application, or whether the developer should proceed to non-statutory but structured EIA pre-application consultation.
Major Applications Team
Development and Infrastructure Services
Whitegates Office, Whitegates Road, Lochgilphead, PA31 8SY
Tel: 01546 604840; Fax: 01546 604822
The following documents, reports and plans should be consulted at this stage in considering site selection and design:
- Argyll and Bute Development Plan (Structure & Local Plan) Developers should refer to the Local Plan policy LP AQUA 1 and any other relevant Development Plan policies. LP AQUA 1 sets out the criteria against which Argyll and Bute Council will assess any marine aquaculture applications.
- Loch Fyne Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan - where the proposal is within Loch Fyne coastal waters.
- Scottish Planning Policy - This document includes subject policy for Fish Farming and supersedes SPP22 – Planning for Fish Farming.
- Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) landscape guidance for Marine Aquaculture
- Locational Guidelines for the Authorisation of Marine Fish Farms in Scottish Waters" Not relevant to shellfish farming.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening and Scoping (not relevant to shellfish farming)
Most finfish developments will require to be screened as to whether an EIA is necessary. Developers should refer to the new Scottish Government EIA guidance and templates for screening and scoping purposes.
Planning application forms and guidance
Argyll and Bute Council’s Application Form and Guidance Note for Marine Aquaculture should be used for finfish, mussel, scallop and oyster development.
Key links The Scottish Government (Marine Scotland) web pages on aquaculture provide useful information and links to relevant guidance for aquaculture development procedures, other relevant consents and the role of regulatory authorities such as SEPA and SNH.