Community campaigners rejoice after salmon farm appeal rejected

The Scottish Salmon Company initially wanted to install a 20-pen fish farm off Isle of Arran.

Community campaigners rejoice after salmon farm appeal rejected Arran Coast
The Friends of Millstone Point gather in opposition to the proposed salmon farm.

A community that campaigned against the development of a large salmon farm on the shore of Arran has rejoiced after it was rejected for a second time.

The Scottish Salmon Company initially wanted to install a 20-pen fish farm off Millstone Point, on the north-east of the island.

But in April, North Ayrshire councillors unanimously voted to reject the application citing the area’s special qualities and natural environment.

The Scottish Salmon Company appealed the decision, reduced the number of pens down to 12 and delivered proposals that the necessary feed barge would resemble a fishing boat.

The pens of the Scottish Salmon Company farm off the Isle of Gigha.Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots
The pens of the Scottish Salmon Company farm off the Isle of Gigha.

But this week, the reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers denied the appeal on the grounds it was an “unacceptable incursion into an isolated, locally and nationally valued area of landscape and seascape”.

The initial planning proposal came eight months after nearly 50,000 salmon escaped from the North Carradale farm which lies between Arran and the Kintyre peninsula.

The pens were damaged during Storm Ellen on August 20, 2020.

The Friends of Millstone Point, made up of locals on the island, lead a campaign against the establishment of the Scottish Salmon Company farm.

A spokesperson for marine environment charity Arran Coast said: “This is fantastic news at what we hope is the end of a long road of campaigning, led by dedicated locals on the island.

“The Friends of Millstone Point have worked tirelessly over the last couple of years to ensure the voices of the island community were heard. We thank them for their dedication to the cause and are delighted to have supported them in their campaign.”

The Scottish Salmon Company said it would continue to work with the government towards growing the country’s aquaculture industry which it described as crucial for Scotland’s economic recovery.

A spokesperson said: “We are understandably disappointed by the decision but it’s pleasing to note that the reporter for the Scottish Government largely agreed with the environmental assessment that any environmental impacts would have been confined to the landscape and visual impact from the proposed fish farm site.

“We take our environmental responsibilities and stewardship extremely seriously and we are working hard on this as a business through our healthy living plan, guided by our core values in our goal to become the leading and most sustainable salmon producer in Scotland.

“We are at the forefront of working alongside industry partners and Salmon Scotland to drive up standards and develop the Sustainability Charter, which outlines our commitment to operating in a responsible and sustainable manner.

“We have strong links with Arran stretching back over 30 years and our existing operation there continues to provide long-term employment for people on the island and is a key driver in the local economy.”