The Planning and Development Service is responsible for implementing the Programme of the Highland Council 2009-2011 where it relates to fisheries and aquaculture. This function includes:
Determining Planning Applications for Marine Fish Farms.
Since 1st April 2007 all applications for new marine fish farms or alterations to existing marine fish farms require planning permission. Application forms and guidance notes for marine fish farm planning applications are available on the following link. In all cases we would advise potential applicants to seek pre-application advice from officers within the coastal planning team (e-mail email@example.com).
Marine Fish Farming Planning Application Form
By reason of their nature, scale and location, some proposals for finfish farms may require to be assessed under the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 1999. In order to assist applicants, local authorities and statutory consultees in considering EIA applications, document templates have been developed on behalf of the Scottish Government. These documents are available on the external links below.
Revised EIA Template for pre-application discussion
Revised EIA Template for Screening and Scoping
Revised EIA Template for Environmental Statement
The Scottish Government's guidance for aquaculture developers is at:
The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation has produced a protocol for Fish Farmers preparing planning applications. This is available on the following external link: SSPO Protocol for preparing fish farm planning applications
Forward Planning for Aquaculture
The former Highland Regional Council published the first suite of Fish Farming Framework Plans for selected areas of the Highland coast in 1988-89. Highland Council has continued to use these and started to produce a new suite of plans in 2000. These include updated and revised versions of the earlier plans (eg Loch Inchard and Loch Sunart) and they also include plans for new areas (eg Loch Bracadale).The aim of these plans is to guide the development of aquaculture to appropriate locations and to ensure a good fit with other interests. These plans are available to download on the following link.
Aquaculture Framework Plans
In more recent years, the Council has also prepared or helped to produce integrated (multi-sector) coastal plans which provide local planning guidance for aquaculture. Three such plans have been prepared so far. The Council published the Coastal Plan for the Two Brooms Area in 2006. In conjunction with Argyll & Bute Council, it also helped to prepare the Sound of Mull Marine Spatial Plan (2010) and the Loch Etive ICZM Plan (2011).
Responding to Consultations from Government and other bodies
In responding to policy consultations concerning Aquaculture and Fisheries the Council pays close regard to the objectives set out in its current programme. Policy is considered by the Council's Land Environment and Sustainability Strategy Group.
Management of the Tain Mussel Fishery
The Planning and Development Service is responsible for the management of the Tain Mussel Fishery in the Dornoch Firth, which is a Common Good Assest of the Old Royal Burgh of Tain. This role is carried out through a Limited Company, Highland Fresh Mussels Ltd and further information is available on the company website by following the link below. (External Link)
Highland Fresh Mussels
The Service also represents the Council on various trade, industry and and Government bodies including:
Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum
Aquaculture Planning Reform Task Group
Sub-group on improved systems for licensing Aquaculture Developements (ISLAD)
Scottish Inshore Fisheries Advisory Group
Fish Industry Training Association (Highlands and Islands)
Strategic Project Funding – Natural Resources
The Council has modest funds available for strategic highland projects in the areas of fisheries, aquaculture, biodiversity and agriculture. Although funding available is limited, enquiries regarding applications for strategic project funding should be directed to George Hamilton, Countryside Heritage and Natural Resources Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or if calling on 01463 702568.