Arran Banner letters – week 48

Letters.

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Follow the money

Sir,

I have objected to the planning application for the new salmon farm on Arran. I agree with the many eloquent objections of others on the grounds of its negative impact on the environment, on tourism, the tons of effluent, the damage to the wild salmon population and the animal cruelty that is common in fish farms of the type proposed.


However, one aspect of this application that seems to attract less attention is the legal structure of the Scottish Salmon Company. It is a Scottish company registered at Companies House in Edinburgh. It only has three directors, two of whom live in the Faroe Islands (linked to Denmark) and one in Scotland. It may be a Scottish company but it is managed by a board with the majority of its directors based in the Faroe Islands, a long way away. The board of directors will not feel or see the daily impact of the salmon farm, and the majority of its members will not be directly affected by the damage it does.

Companies House also explains that the majority shareholder (75 per cent or more) of the Scottish company is a company based offshore in Jersey, called Scottish Salmon Company PLC. It has been reported that the ultimate owner of the Jersey company is Bakkafrost, a large Faroe Islands salmon farming company.

One thing is clear; the legal structure is likely designed to extract profits for the shareholders in the most ‘tax efficient’ way they can.

Inward investment from abroad, whether from Denmark, or from Jersey or elsewhere, is to be encouraged if it is for environmentally sensitive projects that are beneficial to the local community and economy. International investment in Scotland is positive and something the government is keen to encourage.


However, in this case, it seems that the profits from the farm will not benefit Arran or North Ayrshire.  They can be extracted via the off-shore company structure and end up in Jersey or the Faroes or beyond.  It doesn’t seem fair to leave the environmental and tourism damage in Arran, and take the profits away.

Increasing numbers of people in Scotland advocate independence in an effort to exert local control of the resources and assets of the nation. It seems strange to allow a company based in Jersey, with shareholders based elsewhere, to have control over the fish farm, when it is capable of such damage to the environment, and with little or no benefit to the local population.

Arran and North Ayrshire will pay a heavy price and, judging by the way the companies are organised, the profits will be enjoyed many miles from Scotland. It is difficult to see how the councillors of North Ayrshire can support such a one-sided arrangement.

Yours,

David Freeman,

Bury St Edmunds,

Suffolk.

 

Ardrossan car park – clarification

Last week’s Arran Banner carried a letter which suggested it was CalMac which operated the car park at Ardrossan harbour. Here we give it a right of reply.

Sir,

CalMac does not own or operate the car park at the Ardrossan ferry terminal. While it is used by our passengers, the car park is owned by Peel Ports and is managed by contractors on their behalf.

We are happy to alert customers through the CalMac website to any changes to the way that sites such as this are being run in case their journeys are affected in any way.

Thank you for allowing me to clarify this matter.

Yours,

Tommy Gore,

Area Operations Manager (Clyde),

CalMac.

 

Pet support service

Sir,

National pet charity Blue Cross was concerned to hear the recent Office for National Statistics figures which suggested the week after the clocks went back saw Britain’s highest levels of acute loneliness in the pandemic.

We know many people may have lost a pet this year and, for some, their four-legged companion may have been their only companion.

We want to remind people that our pet bereavement support service is here to help those who are grieving the loss of a pet. People can contact our free and confidential support line on 0800 096 6606 or email pbssmail@bluecross.org.uk for advice and support.

Yours,

Diane James,

Pet Bereavement Support Service manager,

Blue Cross.