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Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003

Section 24 - Planning permission :fish farming

92.This section introduces planning controls over marine fish farming in transitional water and coastal water as defined in the Act. This is achieved largely through amendments of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (“the 1997 Act”)

93.Subsection (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 Act. Fish farms within the 3-mile limit of UK territorial waters adjacent to Scotland will require planning permission. Fish farming in inland waters is already subject to planning control under the 1997 Act.

94.The definition of “tank” in the 1997 Act is repealed and replaced by a new definition of “equipment” .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.

95.Subsection (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 subsection (6) of section 26. Such orders are subject to affirmative resolution procedure.

96.Subsection (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 the Act. This includes fish farms in inland water as well as transitional water and coastal water.

97.Subsection (4) amends section 275 of the 1997 Act relating to the Scottish Ministers’ powers to make regulations and orders.

98.Subsection (5) confers power on the Scottish Ministers to make orders for the purpose of or in connection with the application of the 1997 Act to fish farming in transitional water or coastal water. This power does not provide for a general extension of planning powers to all offshore activities or extend planning authority boundaries seaward.

99.Subsection (6) makes particular provision for the Scottish Ministers to allocate, by order under subsection (5), responsibility for planning control for specified areas of transitional water or coastal water to particular planning authorities. The amendment does not change the districts of planning authorities.

100.Subsection (7) requires that the Scottish Ministers consult SEPA, every planning authority and such other persons as they see fit before making any order under subsection (5).

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