Loch Hourn salmon farm, August 2022

Mowi Scotland appeals Loch Hourn planning decision

Mowi Scotland Ltd has submitted a notice of appeal regarding a recent refusal of planning permission for its Loch Hourn salmon farm.

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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%.

“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,” says 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.”

Fish delivery at Loch Hourn 2022

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 License.

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 hosts seven 160 metre (circumference) circular pens. The farm is currently stocked with juvenile salmon in line with the planning authority’s limitation of 2500 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 says. “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.”

Planning Permission Appeal (Case Reference PPA-270-2275):