Dawnfresh wins battle over Loch Etive site

SCOTTISH trout farmer Dawnfresh won a long-running dispute over its Loch Etive site after the Court of Session refused to overturn planning permission.
A lobby group called Friends of Loch Etive had challenged the decision by Argyll and Bute Council to allow Dawnfresh to build a 10-cage rainbow trout farm in the area.
Dawnfresh has operated five farms on the loch, including ‘Etive 1’ and ‘Etive 5’, under management agreements with the leaseholders, who have been granted leases by the Crown Estate, which owns the rights to the sea bed.
Until amendment to the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 in 2007, the operation and establishment of fish farms did not require planning permission, but that changed by virtue of certain amendments to the 1997 Act.
In 2012, Dawnfresh submitted a planning application for the establishment of a new fish farm at a site called ‘Etive 6’, but following significant opposition to the proposals a revised application was submitted which proposed smaller and fewer cages.
In January 2014, a public meeting of the planning, protective services and licensing committee of Argyll and Bute Council took place in Oban in order to determine the application, and the recommendation of the planning officer, which was accepted unanimously by the committee, was to grant the application subject to concluding an agreement under section 75 of the 1997 Act.
Friends of Loch Etive then raised a petition against the council, which has now been refused by Lord Burns in the Court of Session.