A planning application for a salmon farm, near Papa Westray, which has attracted dozens of objections, is to be viewed by Orkney council’s planning committee next week.
Cooke Aquaculture are asking for permission to build a six-cage farm in waters near East Moclett, Papa Westray. The farm would also come with a feed barge.
Following an Environmental Impact Assessment, the development has been recommended for approval. However, councillors will make their decision on September 8.
Among the many objectors are the Orkney Marine Mammal Research Initiative, Ariane Burgess MSP, Papa Westray’s No East Moclett Group, and author Amy Liptrot.
Over 100 objections
Of the 102 objections, 82 have been judged to be valid by the local authority as some came from the same individual addresses.
The summary of points from the objectors contains 40 bullet points.
These include objectors claiming the plans don’t accord with policy and guidance, there would be negative effects on the landscape and seascape, the design would dominate the coastal landscape, there would be light and noise pollution, and the local community would see no benefit.
Other concerns include pollution from chemicals and waste, impact on local bird and fish populations, and the reduction of water quality for sea swimmers.
However, no objections have been given by the six statutory consultation bodies, such as Historic Environment Scotland, Marine Scotland, and NatureScot.
One letter of support has also been received.
The island’s community council has not objected to the plans. However has put forward concerns about light pollution, debris washing ashore, the effect on the environment, and the impacts developments like this could have on the island’s natural beauty.
The Orkney Trout Fishing Association (OTFA) has welcomed the development of a fish farm away from sea trout spawning burns.
Concerns raised by statutory consultees
However, it has also raised some issues.
For example, it says there has been a dramatic increase in sea lice numbers and disease at farms in Orkney.
The OTFA also says the current approach to salmon farming is failing to protect Orkney’s Marine environment.
The association staunchly opposed proposals passed by Orkney council earlier this summer, for the expansion of salmon farms near Orphir and Hoy.
Cooke Aquaculture Scotland is claiming the site would create six jobs for those in Westray or Papa Westray. More jobs may also be created at the processing facilities in Hatston, Kirkwall.
The planning meeting, featuring the application, is due to be held from 2pm.