Shellfish farm 'recommended'

DISTRICT planning officers have recommended that plans for three massive offshore mussel farms in Lyme Bay should be backed.

DISTRICT planning officers have recommended that plans for three massive offshore mussel farms in Lyme Bay should be backed.

East Devon District Council is not the authority that gives permission for the project - Crown Estate on behalf of the Queen has jurisdiction - but they are major consultees.

And councillors sitting on the Development Management Committee will now decide on June 1 whether to accept the recommendations and back the proposal.

Many organisations consulted by the Crown Estate support or do not object to the proposals by Scottish firm Offshore Shellfish Ltd.


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These include Dorset County Council, the Institute of Marine Research, the Marine Biological Association, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Marine and Fisheries Agency - who have granted a conditional licence for the operation.

But many local shellfish companies, including East Devon Shellfish in Littleham and Exmouth Mussels, are concerned.

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EDDC officers say in their report concede that there are objections but that the views of the statutory authorities 'need to be given significant weight.'

"Subject to the safeguards as set out by Devon County Council and other maritime organisations there are no adverse on shore planning implications arising out of this proposal.

"The views of Natural England as noted above confirm their will be no adverse impact on the ecology of the bay...

"There appears to be sufficient scientific comment as set out above to consider that the proposal will not have an adverse impact on local ecology.

"Neither is there any firm evidence that the proposal will adversely impact on the local economy either through fishing or recreational activities. "

They add that 'sufficient safeguards' will be in place to ensure the proposal will be acceptable in terms of highway safety and advises that Offshore Shellfish Ltd submit a traffic impact and travel plan.

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