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.


Town and Country Planning (Prescribed Date) (Scotland) Regulations 2007

1. New fish farms and modifications to existing fish farms will be subject to local authority planning control whilst planning permission for the operation of existing farms is granted by the Scottish Ministers under provisions contained in section 31A of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.

2. The Town and Country Planning (Prescribed Date) (Scotland) Regulations 2007 ( SSI 2007/123) prescribe 1 April 2010 as the earliest date on which planning permission is required for the operation of an existing marine fish farm. The only exception to this being where planning permission is either granted or refused by the Scottish Ministers before that date in which case planning permission would be required for the continued operation of the fish farm from the date of such grant or refusal.

3. Section 26AA(1) of the 1997 Act provides for the circumstances in which the operation of an existing fish farm is considered as development. At subsection (1)(a) these are that the marine fish farm is being operated after the "appropriate date" or, if before that date, the date when planning permission is granted or refused under section 31A by Scottish Ministers, and at subsection (1)(b) that the operation involves the use of equipment which was placed or assembled in waters at a time when that action did not constitute development under the planning Acts i.e. before 31 March 2007.

4. Section 26AA(2) clarifies that the "appropriate date" for a fish farm with reference to section 26AA(1)(a) is whichever is the later of: a date prescribed by Scottish Ministers and a date on which any authorisation ceases to have effect. Such an authorisation relates to the operation of a fish farm and is in effect on the date of commencement of section 4 of the 2006 Planning Act.

5. Without this provision, there would be the potential that when planning controls came into force, such existing fish farms would be in breach of planning control if their authorisation expired before the farm had been through the review process. This provision was seen as necessary to allow Ministers some time to deal with those farms whose authorisation expired relatively early in the review process. Three years was chosen as the lead in time to minimise the risk of a fish farm being subject to such a breach.

6. These Regulations were laid on 1 March 2007 coming into force on 1 April 2007.



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