Mussel farm told to curb its plans

A WEST Side mussel farm company which operated farms with longer lines than it should have done because of a seabed lease issued by the Crown Estate was told to curb its plans this week.

Si Seafarms applied to the SIC’s planning board for retrospective permission to use lines 175 metres long at the north and south end of the firth at Bixter.

The company was told to adhere to an SIC works licence permitting it to use lines only 130 metres long, despite having a sea bed lease from the Crown Estate for 175 metres.

Members of the planning board had previously heard seabed leases issued by the Crown Estate for fish farms often did not match the area permitted by the council’s own works licence, and were sometimes so wrong they did not cover even part of the actual site.

Councillors had recommended the move be approved when they met in August.

But the Full Council meeting a month later agreed to refer it back to the planning board in light of new information from objectors.

Residents in the area were concerned about the visual impact on the seascape, and the noise pollution caused by a bird scaring machine.

Bird lovers feared the machine could be behind a recent decline in bird nestings in an area that was environmentally sensitive.

At a hearing in the Town Hall on Monday, members of the planning board backed calls from chairman Frank Robertson by four votes to two that Si Seafarms adhere to the council’s works licence.

“It’s extremely prominent, and it’s also now reaching its full development capacity,” said Mr Robertson. “The length does change the visual appearance of these lines.”


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