Arran Banner letter add – week 37

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Farm blight to economy

Sir,

COAST have engaged on a number of occasions with the Scottish Salmon Co. (SSC)  and have no reason to be left in any doubt about the arguments from us against their proposed North Arran development.  We are tired of hearing their false narrative that they care for the Arran environment and community.  We are clear from the answers given to us at the Q and A sessions and at other meetings that the only reasons that they want to site a new mega-farm off Arran is because they thought that they would face less planning opposition on our isolated coast and they need to keep growing shareholder value, particularly as the company is now currently a takeover target.

We see no sustainable economic value coming to Arran (no new island jobs promised in their planning application) only long term damage to our environment and reputation and therefore our tourist industry and our businesses.  An Arran brand of farmed salmon, which has been mooted, has missed the bus.  The Scottish open cage sector has been exposed ad nauseam  in the mainstream media and by the Government’s cross-party Environment and Rural Economy Committee reports; it is a tainted and unsustainable industry which is encouraged to expand and continue to pollute by the Government.  This farm will put untreated waste continually into the waters equivalent to a town the size of Troon; killing the seabed and damaging our wildlife.  If we used Prof. Paul Tett’s figures from the SAMS report to the ECCLR committee (2018) then the estimate for a farm this size is that it will produce waste equivalent to a town of 66,000 people going into our sea untreated.  Is this what we want even though it may meet current Government regulations?

Does Arran want to be associated with this when the rest of the world is investing hundreds of millions in exponentially growing land based, low carbon,  recirculating aquaculture sites, which also collect and use the waste for land and hydroponic fertiliser?  Let us see the Scottish Salmon Company investing their millions in land based aquaculture to still make use of the Scottish quality brand and use vacant, derelict brownfield and abandoned farm sites, and light industrial sites to farm salmon sustainably, without infecting our seas and precious wildlife  with waste, lice and disease.

If we persist with growing open cage farming we will get left behind by foreign land-based competition and the Arran and Scotland food brand image will be damaged for everyone along with Arran’s image as a great tourist destination, which cares about its landscape and seascape. Peel Ports in part of their Hunterston Master Plan have proposed a land based salmon farm with an annual GVA of >£5 million and 60 jobs, the abandoned Big Idea site on the Ardeer Peninsular could also be a possible site for land based fish farms.  These parts of mainland North Ayrshire would welcome investment for sustainable employment and these brownfield site alternatives have not even been considered by the Scottish Salmon Company in their planning application. They have opted instead for the same old same old visual impact on our seascape and using their farms as open sewers into our waters.  It is not sustainable and not what Arran’s community and most businesses want to be associated with.

Public objections to the application are due in by 30 September and guidance can be found here: https://www.arrancoast.com/responding-to-the-north-arran-salmon-farm-planning-application/

Yours,

Paul Chandler,
Executive Director,
COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust).