6. Modifications to Existing Class of PDR
N.b It will clarified in the guidance that any changes to equipment will be expected to meet the requirements of the technical standard for Scottish finfish aquaculture and may need to demonstrate this as part of another consent.
6.1 Class 21A - placement, relocation or installation of a cage
Class 21A currently allows;
- replacing of an existing finfish pen, in the same or a different location, with a finfish pen of the same size, colour and design.
- relocation of an existing finfish pen; or
- installing an additional finfish pen
Sections 2, 3 and 4 set the conditions of use of PDR under this class. Section 4 (b) requires that the developer must apply to the authority to determine as to whether prior approval is required. This condition will be referenced as 'prior notification' from here within. The developer is currently required to provide prior notification for all changes under this class - including replacement of a 'like for like' fin fish pen in the same location.
- We do not consider that replacement or relocation of a fin fish cage should be subject to the restrictions of sections 2 & 3 which do not permit development under this class with respect to cages with a circumference greater than 100m or fish farms of greater than 15,000 square metres. We propose that sites of any size should be able to replace or relocate cages of any size within an existing farm boundary by PDR.
- We consider that the requirement for prior notification for finfish pens replaced, in the same location, with a finfish pen of the same size, colour and design, should be removed. Replacing of pens is considered a normal operational requirement for fish farms and it is expected that fish pens will be replaced over time, in line with normal wear and tear or to meet other operational requirements.
Question 1 - Do you agree that the cage size and area restrictions which prevent PDR use for replacement or relocation of an existing cage should be removed?
Question 2 - Do you agree that prior notification should not be required for fin fish pens replaced, in the same location, with a finfish pen of the same size, colour and design?
6.2 Class 21C - replacement of top net or support
Class 21C allows the placing or assembly of equipment within the area of an existing fish farm for the purpose of (a) replacing an existing top net or support with a top net or support of the same size, colour and design; or (b) replacing an existing top net or support for a top net with a top net or support of a different size, colour and design. Section 2 sets the conditions for use of PDR under Class 21C. This currently includes the requirement of prior notification.
- We consider that the requirement for prior notification for the placing or assembly of equipment within the area of an existing fish farm, for the purpose of replacing an existing top net or support with a top net or support of the same size, colour and design, be removed.
- Prior notification for changes which are not 'like for like' should remain
Question 3 - Do you agree that prior notification should not be required for the purpose of replacing an existing top net or support with a top net or support of the same size, colour and design?
PDR is not permitted by Class 21C where the equipment to support the top net is to be greater in height than 2.5 metres. Removal of the limit will allow some flexibility in accommodating innovation of cage equipment and supports in the future.
- We propose that this restriction is removed. It is considered that the height of the support to the top net will be assessed and permitted at the planning stage.
- Alternatively, should a change in support net structure height be required, in order to allow for any potential environmental impacts to be screened (especially any visual impacts), we propose any changes which are not 'like for like' should require prior notification.
Question 4 - Do you agree that the limit for use of PDR of 2.5 metres for equipment to support the top net should be removed from this class of PDR?
6.3 Class 21E - placing a long line
We consider that class 21E is updated to give similar provisions to long line operators as those afforded to fin fish operators under Class 21A
- We suggest Class 21E should allow the replacement of an existing long line, in the same or a different location, with a long line of the same size, colour and design within an existing farm boundary.
- There should be no requirement for prior notification for a long line replaced, in the same location, with a long line of the same size, colour and design (as also recommended for fin fish cages above).
- Lines are replaced on a cyclical basis in line with the shellfish production cycle and it should be expected that lines will be replaced throughout a shellfish farms operational life.
- Prior notification should be required for placing a line in a different location.
Question 5 - Do you agree that shellfish farms should be able replace existing long lines, in the same or a different location, with a long line of the same size, colour and design as those already on site?
Question 6 - Do you agree that replacement of long lines which are 'like for like' and placed in the same location should be permitted without prior notification?
Class 21E allows the placing or assembly of a long line for use in shellfish farming within the area of an existing fish farm. Development is not currently permitted under this class where the surface areas of the waters covered by the long line together with the original equipment be either - (a) more than 500 square metres greater; or (b) more than 10% greater, than the surface area of the waters covered by the original equipment.
Farms which utilise long lines usually gain permission for lines of equal length. This creates an even footprint for the farm and is visually pleasing. The current area restriction often results in permission for a line which is less than equal in length to those currently on site and has led to limited uptake of PDR.
- We consider that the additional long lines be permitted under PDR on a scaled basis and that the current area based restriction be removed.
- Farms of up to and including 6 long lines should be permitted an additional long line of the same size, colour and design as existing lines, within the existing area of the farm.
- Farms consisting of 7 or more long lines should be permitted two additional long lines of the same size, colour and design as existing lines, within the existing area of the farm.
- Prior notification for addition of lines should remain. It is envisaged this this will allow councils to consider visual impacts, carrying capacity of the water body and any other potential environmental impacts.
- Permitted additional lines would be based on the original farm size and available for use once.
Question 7 - Do you agree with the change from the current area limits described above to a scaled line approach which uses lines of equal length to those currently on site?
Question 8 - Do you agree with the chosen scaled approach to addition of long lines[ less than or equal to 6 lines = 1 additional long line, 7 or more = up to 2 additional long lines]?
6.4 Class 21F - Change of Use (Species)
Class 21F permits change of use of a fish farm from;
- salmon farming to halibut faming
- sea trout or rainbow trout farming to salmon farming
- salmon farming to sea trout or rainbow trout farming
The change of use of species of a shellfish farm has not previously been considered under PDR. We are of the opinion that shellfish farms should also have a right to change the species being farmed. This is subject to the condition that there would be no change in associated farming equipment - this would require full planning permission. Other requirements, such as notification to Marine Scotland's fish health inspectorate and authorisation for a change in species remain.
We consider that Class 21F should be amended to allow change of use for shellfish species to include;
- Mussel farming to scallop farming
- Mussel farming to oyster farming
- Scallop farming to mussel farming
- Pacific or native Oyster farming to scallops
- Scallop farming to pacific or native oyster farming
- Pacific oyster farming to native oyster farming
Question 9 - Do you agree that shellfish farms should be able to change the species farmed under PDR as described above, with the caveat that no change in equipment is permitted under this class?
Email: Jill Barber
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House