Plans for a massive fish farming site off the Skye coast have been thrown out by the Scottish Government.
Organic Sea Harvest (OSH) had proposed a farm of 12, 400ft cages to grow Atlantic salmon organically just off the eastern coast of the Trotternish pensinsula at Flodigarry in north-east Skye.
They said it would provide employment for around seven people.
However, residents of the Skye township of Flodigarry, which has a population of 57, strenuously opposed the application.
Their opposition won favour with Highland Council who refused to grant the development.
However, OSH appealed the decision to the Scottish Government, but it was rejected by Reporter Lorna McCallum.
She said: “The proposal is not sensitively sited and would have significant and unacceptable impacts on landscape character and visual amenity.
“I consider that although the impacts would be localised they would unacceptably erode the special qualities of the Trotternish [area].
“I find the proposal fails to comply with local development plan policies.”
She added that “there remains some uncertainty regarding the significance of potential impacts upon wildlife and habitats.
“I have taken into consideration the potential economic benefits of the proposal. However, it is my conclusion that those would not outweigh the unacceptable impacts of the development.
“I find that it conflicts with the local development plan, the Highland coastal development strategy, Scottish planning policy and the National Marine Plan.
“I have assessed all of the relevant environmental information and I find nothing that leads me to a different conclusion.
“I conclude that the development does not accord overall with the development plan and that there are no material considerations that would still justify granting planning permission.”
During the initial hearing, OSH had said there was an unfulfilled market for organically produced salmon.
They claimed welfare would be improved through lower stocking density and by the fast flow of water in an open water site such as the north Minch, reducing the need for medicine to combat sea lice, and preventing effluent build up under the cages.
Sea lice, they said, would be further reduced by a system designed to drop the cages to a lower level of water where they are not so prevalent.
OSH, which has two Highland councillors, Alexander MacInnes and Alister Mackinnon as founding shareholders, had planned to create four fish farms along the stretch of coast.
They have consent already in place for two, Invertote and Clunacnoc and the fourth is planned for Balmaqueen, north of Flodigarry.
The company said there would be seven jobs per site, reflecting their drive to attract and retain young families within the community.
Organic Sea Harvest spokesman Alex MacInnes said: “We are obviously very disappointed that our appeal has been refused. We will take our time to discuss the decision with our legal advisors before making any decision on further steps.”