SARF024: A Review of Fish Farm Enviromental Impact Assessments

Start Date: 1/9/2006
End Date: 28/2/2007
Main Contractor(s):  
Other Sponsor(s):  SEERAD, Highland Council

Objectives

CONSULTATION AND REVIEW 1) Conduct a review of current practice, which will include: reviewing existing guidance documents, such as the Crown Estate EIA Manual, together with EIA guidance notes published by SEPA and other relevant sources; taking account of emerging guidance from the UN FAO project on EIA of Marine Aquaculture if this becomes available within the timescale of this project; and taking account of any harmonisation of the EIA (Fish Farming in Marine Waters) Regulation 1999 with the Planning EIA Regulations 1999 or any relevant changes to the Regulations as they occur over the period of this contract.

PLANNING ASSESSMENT 2)a) Conduct a review of the decision making process used by the planning authorities which will include: timescales for responses; need to request additional information (should this stop/reset the clock); roles and responsibilities; format of formal response to application; timescales for delivery of ES following the Screening and Scoping stages; integration of the previous timescale to that already in place under Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (CAR) application process; assessment of the level of definition and information consultees should require from an ES; assessment of whether communications between consultees could be improved to prevent un-necessary requests for an ES to be produced. 2)b) Following the decision to issue a Development Consent, assessment of the requirement to: ensure compliance with working practices set out in the ES. Add any necessary monitoring conditions whilst recognising the roles and responsibilities of other competent authorities in this regard such as SEPA and FRS. 

GUIDELINES 3) Prepare a draft practical guide for the preparation of Fish Farming EIA's considering Environmental Statements (ES) that have already been produced

Summary

A review of current practice, legislation and guidance has been identified as a key priority for the development of Environmental Impacts Assessments (EIA'S) for aquaculture developments under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Fish Farming in Marine Waters) Regulations 1999. The Scottish Executive is currently in the process of introducing statutory planning controls for marine fish farming, which will transfer responsibility for the authorisation of marine fish farming from the Crown Estate to Scottish Local Authorities. A review of existing practice in relation to current legislation and best practice is needed to assess standard practice, and identify any gaps in the environmental assessments. A concise set of guidelines will be prepared to provide an important resource for planners, EIA practitioners and stakeholders to ensure consistency and standardise EIA process.