Aquaculture Consenting Task Group - Advisory Group minutes: 31 August 2023

Minutes from the meeting held on 31 August 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Other Organisation

  • Professor Dickon Howell, Howell Marine Consulting (Chair)
  • Dave Cockerill, Bakkafrost 
  • Dougie Hunter, Mowi
  • Anne Anderson, Scottish Sea Farms 
  • Peter Pollard, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Michael Montague, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Simon Pallant, Shetland Islands Council

Scottish Government

  • Jill Barber, Head of Aquaculture Development
  • Bill Ellis, Head of Aquaculture Consenting
  • Jamie Barnes, Aquaculture Planning and Consenting Policy Manager
  • Alex Jasinski, Aquaculture Planning Policy Support Officer
  • Iain Laing, Improvement Adviser, SG


  • Malcolm Pentland, Deputy Director, Seafood Trade, Aquaculture and Recreational Fisheries, SG 
  • Mark Harvey, Highland Council
  • Kieran McQuaid, Performance and Change Lead, SG
  • Professor Russel Griggs, Independent

Secretariat provided by Scottish Government officials.

Items and actions

Actions Agreed

SG officials to determine how to involve other operators as the trial progresses. I.e., the need to create a communications plan, which will be discussed at the forthcoming workshop.
SG officials to consider inviting statutory consultees and other regulators to the workshop.
SG officials to liaise with Salmon Scotland to arrange workshop booking.

Minutes of previous meeting (29 June 2023)

No comments.

Format of the Workshop

SG officials introduced the proposed outline of the workshop and its main aims: 

  • To provide a forum for the applicants and the regulators to discuss the technical aspects of the proposed draft management framework for the project, including outcomes. 
  • The draft management paper in Annex A shows the benefits of the draft management framework. 
  • These include to minimise delays by streamlining and removing unnecessary duplication in the preapplication process including the EIA process. 
  • And to provide developers with an early understanding of potential constraints in the consenting system. 
  • The workshop will agree on the initial draft of the management framework in advance of commencement of the pilot(s), while acknowledging that the framework is adaptable as the approach will be iterative. 

The focus of the workshop will be on the mechanics of the proposed new pre-application to application process from a technical perspective.
Industry noted that while it was useful to go over stages 1 to 5 in the workshop however we shouldn’t be constrained by the current draft management framework as presented, and that the technical specialists should be able to flex their creative approach.
The Chair noted that we need to agree on the scope of the workshop.
Industry members noted that the outputs and timeline of the trial are key.
Industry members noted that allowing the technical specialists space to contribute during the workshop is important. All in agreement.
There was a discussion on workshop attendees and being inclusive at this stage.
It was suggested that the 2 pilot authorities might each have a workshop with relevant stakeholders to raise awareness in their areas.
SEPA noted that the trials should be an iterative process, which industry members agreed with.
SG officials highlighted the draft evaluation paper to ensure the process is iterative.
On attendees, industry members noted that it may be of benefit to broaden out the workshop to include representatives from statutory consultees and other regulators (E.g., NatureScot and Marine Directorate – Licensing Operations Team (MD-LOT)).
SG officials highlighted the benefit of using a Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) template for evaluation.
The Chair summarised the above discussion, noting the importance of being iterative in and evaluating the process. 

Expected Outputs

SG officials introduced the proposed outputs of the workshop:

  • Agree the 5 stages in the draft framework.
  • Note key issues agreed and suggested amendments
  • Agree the next steps required to implement the Draft Management Framework
  • Proposed timeline

Industry members noted the need to ensure other operators, beyond those in the Consenting Task Group, are briefed on and involved in trials.
Local authority planning members noted the need to communicate and educate those not currently involved in the Consenting Task Group. 
ACTION – SG officials to determine how to involve others as the trial progresses. I.e., the need to create a communications plan, which will be discussed at the forthcoming workshop.

Workshop Attendees

The Chair highlighted the need to include NatureScot, MD-LOT, and Marine Directorate Science.
ACTION – SG officials to consider inviting statutory consultees and other regulators to the workshop.
Workshop date agreed as Tuesday 19 September in Stirling.

Any other business

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