Planning Circular 1/2007: planning controls for marine fish farming

Guidance on the provisions contained in the Acts, Regulations and Order relating to marine fish farming which come into force in April 2007.


Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003

1. Section 24 of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) provides the definition of development for marine fish farming and the enabling powers to bring marine fish farming into the land use planning system. This section introduces planning controls over marine fish farming in transitional water and coastal water as defined in the Act. This is achieved through amendments of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (the 1997 Act). Sections 24(1)-(4) of the 2003 Act were commenced by the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (Commencement No. 5) Order 2007 coming into force on 31 March 2007. Further changes to the 1997 Act were made by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 to allow for a robust and workable framework to be introduced.

2. Section 24(2)(a) amends the definition of "development" in section 26(6) of the 1997 Act to include fish farming in coastal water and transitional water as defined in the 1997 Act. New fish farms or modifications to existing farms within the 3-mile limit of UK territorial waters adjacent to Scotland require planning permission.

3. The definition of "tank" in the 1997 Act is repealed and replaced by a new definition of "equipment". The new definition of "equipment" includes tanks, cages and other structures as well as long lines, which are used in the farming of shellfish.

4. Section 24(2)(b) introduces two new subsections, (6A) and (6B), into section 26 of the 1997 Act. These provisions confer powers on the Scottish Ministers to make orders making modifications (including amendments and repeals) as they consider necessary or expedient to the definitions of "fish farming" and "equipment" in section 26(6) of the 1997 Act.

5. Section 24(3) amends section 40 of the 1997 Act dealing with the assessment of the environmental effects of fish farming development. The amendment requires a planning authority, before granting planning permission in respect of a fish farming development, to consider the effect of the proposed development on the water environment as defined in section 3(2) of the 2003 Act. This includes fish farms in inland water as well as transitional water and coastal water.

6. Section 24(4) amends section 275 of the 1997 Act relating to the Scottish Ministers' powers to make regulations and orders. It includes the requirement for any such regulations or orders to be passed by affirmative resolution of the Scottish Parliament.

7. Subsections (5) to (7) of section 24 are repealed by the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 (see Annex B) without coming into force as they are superseded by changes made by the 2006 Act.



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