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23 February, 2018

New guidance to help communities and fish farm developers

High quality visuals have been required as part of the environmental information for new fish farm proposals for many years, but they can be difficult to produce. New guidance published today by Scottish Natural Heritage will help the aquaculture industry with these visuals and ensure local communities and planning authorities have a better understanding of the visual impacts of proposed fish farms.

The aquaculture sector needs to continue as a key contributor to Scotland’s rural economy, but securing support for new fish farms can be challenging and the new guidance aims to help the sector to improve the way new proposals are communicated.

Visualisations for Aquaculture advises the aquaculture industry on how to develop effective visualisations to show what proposed new fish farms would look like.

Aquaculture generates an estimated £1.86 billion each year to Scotland’s rural economy and supports 8,300 jobs, mostly in remote coastal communities. Scotland needs an aquaculture industry that is sustainable, diverse, competitive, and economically viable and which contributes to food security while at the same time minimises any environmental impact.

SNH Chair, Mike Cantlay, said: “Visualisations for Aquaculture will deliver significant improvements in the way aquaculture proposals are represented, helping the industry to give decision-makers and local communities a clearer impression of how a fish or shellfish farm will look in the landscape. It’s another tool to help Scotland get the right developments in the right places, supplementing our existing guidance on the siting and design of aquaculture developments.

“We worked closely with a range of partners who helped to shape the guidance, including aquaculture industry representatives, Marine Scotland, local authority planners and Landscape Institute Scotland.”

The guidance follows on from a recommendation made by the Independent Review of Scottish Aquaculture Consenting to provide practical advice and share knowledge with regards to the visual impacts of potential fish farms.

Visualisations are produced by developers to support planning applications and help councils, communities and the wider public to consider what change is likely if a planned development takes place.


Media queries - contact Carrie Wieteska on 0131 316 2631 or or the Inverness press office on 01463 725022.

Contact information

SNH Media

Notes to editors

The full guidance is available at

Scottish Natural Heritage is the Government’s adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland’s nature now and in the future. For further information on SNH, please visit our website at

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. We work to ensure that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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