New proposals to streamline and improve efficiency of the planning process have been unveiled today in a bid to enhance Scotland’s #367 million aquaculture industry.

The Planning Reform for Aquaculture document, published today by Cabinet Secretary for Finance John Swinney and Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, will:

* Make clear what is required by way of information to support a planning application


* Streamline procedures to remove any unnecessary barriers

* Improve decision-making to attract further investment in aquaculture in Scotland

* Make sure responses from public agencies are proportionate and focused

Ahead of a debate on aquaculture in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, Ms Cunningham said:

“The Scottish Government wants to see Scotland’s aquaculture industry go from strength to strength, these changes will allow this to happen in a sustainable way.

“According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, aquaculture is the only way to meet the surging global demand for seafood. Scotland is well placed to embrace this and benefit from further investment in the sector; we are recognised globally as a land of food and drink with the iconic Scottish Salmon playing an important role in this reputation.

“Scotland’s aquaculture is worth more than #367 million to the Scottish economy and is a lifeline to many of Scotland’s fragile rural communities. But we are not complacent and want to build on this success.”

Mr Swinney said:

“Aquaculture is becoming an increasingly important sector and, in these challenging times, we must ensure Scotland’s planning system supports recovery and the long term development of our economy.

“This publication builds on the Scottish Government’s work to ensure planning is increasingly efficient, joined up and effective. It will lead to more certainty and speed of decision making for the aquaculture industry, which will be vital for jobs and communities around Scotland.”

Professor Phil Thomas, Chairman of the Scottish salmon Producers Organisation said:

“As part of its contribution to Scotland’s sustainable economic growth the salmon farming industry plans a progressive expansion of three-five per cent per year for the next five years. This will require restructuring and rationalisation of existing farm sites and also the development of some new locations. The Planning Reform for Aquaculture document is an essential step in ensuring the seamless development that is required to meet the industry’s goals and the Scottish Government’s economic purpose.”

Walter Speirs, Chairman of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers said:

“The Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers has welcomed the opportunity to participate in this process, and looks forward to working with Scottish Government going forward, to assist the further sustainable development of the shellfish industry in Scotland.”

Responding to the publication Councillor Alison Hay, COSLA spokesperson on Regeneration and Sustainable Development said:

“Our member councils have demonstrated enthusiasm and determination in leading on the drafting of the report’s objectives. I am clear that the councils concerned want to work positively with the other stakeholders to support and promote the aquaculture environment and all who derive benefit from it.” Cllr Hay continued, “In enthusiastically welcoming the partnership working, I feel it is equally important that all recognise the interests of communities and the need for decisions to be taken locally.”