Since 1 April 2007 all new fish and shellfish farm development in Scotland has required planning permission under the Town and Country Planning Act from the relevant Planning Authority.
Applying for planning permission
Whether you're setting up a new fish farm or changing an existing one, you have to apply for planning permission from your local Planning Authority.
In Scotland most fish farming takes place within six Planning Authorities:
You can find out if your project needs planning permission by contacting your Planning Authority.
Once your planning application has been submitted, your Planning Authority will advertise it for public comment and consult with statutory consultees. After the consultation has finished, the Planning Authority will review the application and decide whether to grant you planning permission. As part of its decision it will consider whether the farm is suitable for its location and assess its environmental impact.
More information on the planning system can be found on the Planning and architecture webpages.
Permitted Development Rights
There are some changes, called Permitted Development Rights, you can make to your fish farm that don't need planning permission, as long as you meet certain conditions. These include: replacing an existing cage or adding a new one, replacing or moving a feed barge, replacing top nets and their support structures, deploying temporary equipment (but not fish pens), adding longlines at a shellfish farm and switching species from Atlantic salmon to sea trout, rainbow trout or halibut.
To find out the full conditions for each, read the Scottish Government's Permitted Development Rights guidance notes.
The Scottish Government carried out an Audit and Review process to bring farms established prior to 1 April 2007 into the planning system. If your farm was established prior to 2007 and has not already been granted planning permission, you may be eligible for the Audit and Review process.