A QUARRY at Kyleakin, on Skye, is the preferred site for a new £80 million fish feed plant which will create 55 full time, permanent jobs.
The announcement was made by Marine Harvest Scotland after consideration of a number of different sites on the west coast.
The site, known as Altanavaig (Allt Anabhaig) quarry, is more than large enough to accommodate the plant.
Ben Hadfield, chief operating officer feed for Marine Harvest globally and managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, said: ‘We are delighted to have found a site which sits at the heart of our operations – one that is already an industrial site but which has not been fully utilised for some time.
‘We would like to have the chance to bring it back to life and provide well paid jobs, as well as taking the opportunity to produce our feed in the most sustainable way.
‘This is a large investment in Scotland and the development of a feed plant here is part of our overall drive to become a more efficient and sustainable business.
‘We hope this will be a major boost for the local economy and we are keen to start discussions with the local community and hear their views about our proposals.’
Marine Harvest Scotland said in January it was looking for a site to accommodate its new plant, which will produce feed for use on its Scottish farms, as well as for Ireland, Norway and the Faroes.
The company hopes to replicate the success of a similar plant in Norway, which has provided a welcome boost to the local economy by providing jobs directly, as well as generating employment for local contractors and suppliers.
The company will now start consultation with the local community as part of the planning application process. It plans to hold public meetings in Kyleakin and Kyle in April.
Construction of the plant will take between a year and 18 months and Marine Harvest believes it could be up and running as early as 2018, depending on the planning process.
Around four acres of the site will be used to accommodate the buildings, which will include the processing plant itself as well as raw material storage silos, product storage and packaging, a loading area and car parking. The existing pier will need to be extended.
Hadfield said: ‘We considered a number of different locations before deciding on Kyleakin Quarry. The site more than meets our criteria, which included a central location for our farms, access to an existing jetty or pier, or the potential to build one, good road transport links and the availability of power and water supplies at a reasonable cost.’
Public exhibitions are to be held in Kyleakin Village Hall on Monday, April 18, and Kyle Free Church of Scotland Hall on Tuesday, April 19. Both exhibitions will be open from 11am until 8pm.
These initial exhibitions will explain the work the company plan to undertake to prepare their planning application.
Staff from Marine Harvest will be available to answer questions and explain what studies need to be carried out as part of the planning process. They will also be keen to gather information from local people about the site and understand any issues they may have.