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Scotland's 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 Scottish industry’s trade association.

Launching a new four-year plan to improve the competitiveness of the industry, Sid Patten, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said the new aquaculture planning-regime must provide for accessible and permanent planning permission. The previous arrangement, 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 was sent to Scotland’s politicians ahead of the recent 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.

He added that the lack of full and permanent planning permission had always been an issue for farmers: “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.”