Campaigners are jubilant after a proposal to build a large salmon farm off the north coast of the Isle of Arran was turned down at a North Ayrshire planning meeting in March.

Councillors on the committee voted unanimously to reject an application for planning permission from the Scottish Salmon Company, as they acknowledged the special qualities of the area and the vital importance of Arran’s natural environment for both the island’s economy and wellbeing.

Campaigners from a large cross-section of Arran’s community have been

opposing the plans for the last two years, with over 200 people of all ages attending a march out to the proposed site in 2019.

Since then, under COVID restrictions, islanders have camped-out and laid stones on a large community cairn in protest.

The council also received over 430 objections to the application in response to the mandatory public consultation phase.

Such a large, noisy, artificially-lit industrial development was felt to be totally out of place on a wild section of Scotland’s spectacular west coast and the effects on the marine environment were seen as equally unacceptable according to the Community of Arran Seabed Trust.

The Trust also said that the island’s economy is underpinned by the quality of the environment, with many thousands of visitors flocking to Arran every year to enjoy the wild, tranquil coastlines such as that at Millstone Point which was threatened by this application with the Scottish Salmon Company only offering a handful of jobs for the area.

Andrew Binnie, Director of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust welcomed the decision by councillors.

He said: “This decision shows once again that communities can stand up to the likes of the Faroese Scottish Salmon Company. However, this is at great cost to communities who would rather be engaged in restoring biodiversity and tackling climate change.

“The Scottish Government in Edinburgh should halt salmon farm expansion immediately and listen to the islanders who have to live with these unsustainable ventures.”