This SPP aims to;
- provide guidance on the particular factors to be taken into account when considering proposals for new freshwater or marine fish farms, or modifications to existing operations; and
- establish the national planning context for the preparation by planning authorities of development plans for guiding the location of future fish farms.
Scottish Ministers recognise the importance of fish farming to the Scottish economy, particularly in rural areas. A Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture sets out Ministers' vision of a sustainable, diverse, competitive and economically viable aquaculture industry and commits the Scottish Executive to prepare this Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP) to support the new statutory provisions extending planning controls to marine fish farming.
The introduction of a system of statutory planning controls for marine fish farming complements existing provision covering freshwater farms. The controls cover the marine waters (including those previously covered by the Zetland and Orkney County Council Acts) defined in the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 as coastal and transitional waters and extended to territorial waters by the Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006. Both finfish and shellfish farming are now subject to the new controls.
This SPP takes account of the Scottish Executive's commitment to sustainable development and other relevant Executive policies and provides policy guidance on both marine and freshwater fish farming developments. It draws on the existing locational guidance and an advice note published by the Scottish Executive in January 2003 and sets out the planning policy framework that planning authorities should take into account when preparing their development plans and in determining planning applications for fish farms.
This SPP indicates that planning authorities should use the development plan process to support and encourage the continued growth of fish farming. Planning policies should not be used to restrict development where environmental and other impacts can be addressed satisfactorily. In all instances, plans should provide clarity on what should be met to enable development to take place in a satisfactory manner. Plans should, however, afford protection to areas designated for their national or international heritage value, and those areas where further development would result in unacceptable significant impacts.
Planning authorities should revise their development plans to take account of the guidance in this SPP. In the meantime, they should continue to determine applications that come before them in terms of existing policies and framework plans taking into account this guidance.