Planners approve Cooke’s new Orkney farm site

The Orkney Islands Council has approved the application by Cooke Aquaculture for a new salmon farm site in the north of the islands.

The six-cage site will be based at East Moclett, off the island of Papa Westray in Orkney’s North Sound, with permission for up to 3,850 tonnes of biomass.

The proposal had seen no objection from statutory bodies including the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), NatureScot and Scottish Water, but a group of campaigners under the banner of the No East Moclett group had voiced opposition to the plan.

Joel Richardson, Vice President of Public Relations for Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, said: “We appreciate that the Planning Committee was guided by and accepted the thorough technical and scientific reviews of all the statutory consultation bodies which filed no objections.

Farm-raised Scottish salmon has one of the lowest carbon footprints of all animal proteins, and Cooke Aquaculture Scotland is committed to science-led research to set the highest standards for responsible harvesting and sustainable processes across all aspects of our business.”

He added: “We have heard very valid points raised by the Papa Westray Community Council and Papa Westray residents, and we will continue dialogue with them and ensure that this new farm site is compliant with all appropriate regulations and best practices. As one of the largest employers in Orkney and Northern Isles, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland will maximise economic and social benefits.”

The fish farm was also assessed against all relevant policies of the Orkney Local Development Plan and other relevant material planning considerations. The Orkney Islands Council agreed with their planning staff, who concluded that on balance the objections raised by various parties were not of sufficient weight to merit refusal.

Cooke plans to start hiring and training six new local employees to service the East Moclett site out of the company’s Westray shorebase in 2023.


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