Bribe-worthy islands and windy places

Sunday 1st April 2012
Above Cana.Courtesy: Below Colonsay:Courtesy:

Back in 2010, Marine Harvest withdrew its plans for a salmon farm near the island of Cana to the north in 2010 after islanders rejected the idea by eight votes to seven. Now the Norwegian company is offering the 120 residents of 'the island at the edge' Colonsay, to the north of Islay, £50,000 up front and £10,000 a year thereafter if they vote for 12 salmon cages to be moored 1500 metres off their east coast. It would be the island's first commercial fish farm.

The development  approach is a familiar one to the wind farming sector as well, where money can be ofered to be paid out to a region for it's enduring wind turbine power generation.

The Colonsay Islanders are understandably split on the issue reports Rob Edwards. Some worried about environmental risks, others anxious for new jobs. They will vote on the plan later this year, and Marine Harvest has  pledged to honour the outcome.

"I have not yet seen enough evidence to say that we are not taking an unacceptable risk," said Laird AlexHoward, who owns 60% of the island and 38% of its homes,  warning the farm "could backfire horribly" because it "could have incredible, far-reaching negative consequences, ruining the environment."

Marine Harvest has failed to control pollution at some of its fish farms. Eight of its west coast and island salmon farms were rated as "poor" by  Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) in 2010, some 48 "good" or "excellent."

The fish farm would create six full-time jobs, a significant boost to the existing 16 full-time jobs.

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