Fish farm accepted in sensitive environment

Proposals for a large fish farm off the coast of a Scottish highland island in an area of exceptional landscape quality found favour with a reporter.

The fish farm comprised twelve 120 metre circumference pens plus ancillary structures and equipment including lighting.  The landscape around the proposed site was recognised by its inclusion in a NSA and two SLAs as being of an exceptionally high quality in a national, regional and local context.

The reporter considered the potential cumulative impacts with three nearby fish farms, but was satisfied that although the proposal would be seen in combination at some viewpoints, they would be a small component of the overall coastal panorama and landscape backdrop. The proposal, being low profile and finished in neutral colours would not be of sufficient size and presence as to dominate the landscape. She agreed with the conclusions of SNH that the proposal, including consideration of the cumulative impacts, would not have an adverse effect on the integrity of the NSA or the SLAs, nor the qualities for which they were designated. Overall, she found that the proposal, subject to mitigation regarding surface equipment colours and lighting required by condition, would have very limited impact on scenic quality, in accordance with policy.

The reporter was also satisfied on other matters of marine pollution and impact on wild fish and other marine wildlife including dolphins and porpoise, that subject to mitigation and monitoring secured by conditions, there would be no harm. She allowed the appeal.

Reporter: Karen Black; Written representations

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