A project by Orkney Islands Council which aims to support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry whilst protecting and maintaining the seas around Orkney has been shortlisted for a national planning award.
The 'Scapa Flow Aquaculture Water Quality Impact Modelling Assessment' has been designed to improve understanding of the water quality impacts arising from existing and proposed fish farms in Scapa Flow.
The project has now been shortlisted under the 'Plans' award at this year's Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning.
The 'Scapa Flow Aquaculture Water Quality Impact Modelling Assessment’ was developed following feedback received through a public consultation on aquaculture in 2017, during which stakeholders raised concerns regarding the cumulative impact of existing and proposed fish farm developments in Scapa Flow.
Stakeholder concerns were mainly around nutrient enrichment, water quality impacts, sea bed impacts and impacts on wild sea trout populations. It was suggested during this process that an assessment of capacity for further fish farms should be undertaken.
Taking on board the feedback received, the Council commissioned Intertek Energy and Water Consultancy Services to develop an assessment, with their work guided by a steering group led by the Council.
Accurately predicting areas of potential higher and lower water quality impacts, the assessment now provides a tool for fish farm developers, the planning authority, SEPA and wider stakeholders to better understand the impacts of fish farm developments and where further specific site assessments might be required.
It also marks the first use of hydrodynamic modelling by a planning authority for aquaculture spatial strategy.
A story map on the development of the project is available here.
The winners of the award will be announced in November. The project can also be voted for in the People's Choice Awards here.
Councillor James Stockan is Leader of Orkney Islands Council. He said: “I congratulate the team on their shortlisting in this award, an awards scheme in which the Council has found success before.
“The study presents an innovative approach to local planning policy that goes beyond current best practice for aquaculture spatial planning in Scotland. This work came about following feedback from stakeholders and was very much a team effort in its development, highlighting the Council's commitment towards partnership working to achieve the best possible outcomes for Orkney."
The Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning are one of the Government’s most prestigious awards. They celebrate achievements in planning, right from the detail of processing through to the bigger picture of creating places which will become the legacy of the profession. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Awards.
Orkney Islands Council's ‘Team Stromness’ scheme – a regeneration effort spanning ten years – took the Judges Award at the 2017 awards. It then went on to take the top award at the UK National RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence, first scooping the award for 'Excellence in Planning for a Successful Economy' - and then the Silver Jubilee cup, the overall award for the evening.
All entries to the awards are required to show:
Innovation: Demonstrate innovation, no matter how simple, in your approach or achievement and how it has improved the delivery of a project.
Impact: Demonstrate the impact that the project has had.
Transferability: Explain how the lessons learnt from the project can be or have been passed on or shared with other organisations.
The 'Scapa Flow Aquaculture Water Quality Impact Modelling Assessment’ is shortlisted in the ‘Plans’ award category alongside: