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Scottish semi-closed farm pioneers to fight planning rejection
February 6, 2023 By Colin Ley
The team behind the proposed creation of Scotland’s first semi-closed salmon production unit is to fight the rejection of the venture by local authority planners, claiming that a blocking decision taken last autumn was “fundamentally flawed.”
The planned Beinn Reithe farm project, due to be located near Arrochar, Argyll, was rejected by the Board of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park in October 2022. Now, after considering the decision, the farm’s developers, Loch Long Salmon, have submitted an appeal against the rejection, complete with backing from seven elected members of the Scottish and UK parliaments.
The company also states that their semi-closed technology is endorsed by environmental groups, such as the Atlantic Salmon Trust, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust.
“We believe the National Park’s decision to prevent this proven, transformative technology being brought to Scotland for the first time was based on fear and a lack of knowledge and understanding,” said Stewart Hawthorn, Loch Long’s managing director.
“Through the appeal process, we are committed to demonstrating we can bring positive change to Scotland, radically improving the environmental performance of salmon farming and securing jobs in rural areas.”
The company pointed out that while, from the surface, a semi-closed containment site looks like a traditional salmon farm, underneath the water, the production net is surrounded by an impermeable membrane, with water drawn up and circulated from deeper in the Loch.
“This removes the threat of sea lice and attacks by seals, meaning we won’t ever use sea lice treatments or acoustic devices that can harm dolphins or other cetaceans,” said Loch Long Salmon. “Hundreds of cycles of this technology in other countries have proven these facts, as well as showing no escapes, addressing a further and legitimate concern around the aquaculture sector.”
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