Loch Long Fish Farm Application Goes To Appeal.

Loch Long Salmon (part of the Simply Blue Group) applied in October 2021 to the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park for planning permission to develop a substantial salmon farm in upper Loch Long. The proposal is based on the use of semi-closed containment technology (not previously used in the UK) which the developers claim will isolate the farmed salmon from the surrounding environment and would involve a substantial shore base on the west side of the loch with an ‘umbilical’ pipe system from shore to cages for transport of food and recovery of faeces. The proposal is too complex to set out in a brief summary and therefore those interested should visit the National Park planning portal for more information here. Installation of a Marine Fish Farm and associated development including shore base, slipway and pontoon and road upgrades | Beinn Reithe Loch Long (

The proposal attracted a lot of interest with 287 contributors (corporate bodies, politicians, private individuals) submitting views to the planning authority and it soon became clear that this is a controversial proposal. Loch Long and Loch Goil are currently free from aquaculture development: this is now unusual for west coast sea lochs and there are many who feel that they should remain free from aquaculture. The reasons for concern are numerous but primarily relate to concern for the natural marine environment (in particular possible impact of escapes and parasites on wild salmon and sea trout), the proportion of waste from the cages which cannot be captured and processed ashore, and also concern for the landward environment and the potential impact of a significant industrial development on a relatively unspoilt remote shoreline in the National Park.

Cove & Kilcreggan Community Council considered the application and, bearing in mind the potential impacts on the rest of the loch, submitted a letter of objection based on concerns including wild fish conservation, protection of landscape, contravention of National Park aims, risk to wildlife and loss of amenity. Other communities bordering the lochs also made representations both for and against.

The developers have been active in presenting their arguments in favour of the proposal suggesting that the impacts of their proposal are mitigated by the new technology and that development of this sort would be compatible with the National Park’s aims.

The application was the subject of a site visit and hearing before the National Park planning committee at Arrochar in November 2022. After a presentation of the planning officers’ report which recommended the application be refused and presentations by the developers, supporters and objectors, the planning committee voted 10 to 1 against and the application was refused. The Decision and reasons for refusal can be found via the link above.

Following the National Park refusal the developer has decided to submit an Appeal to the Scottish Government and details of the appeal can be found here. A Reporter will be appointed to consider the matter and he/she will decide whether or not to convene a further hearing. All those who have made representations should receive a letter from the National Park explaining the position and advising that previous representations will be passed to the Scottish Government for the Reporter’s attention. If anyone wishes to make further representations they have until 3rd March 2023 to do so.

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