Pre-application discussions

Making a marine pen fish farm application for a SEPA permit requires a substantial amount of supporting information.

In simple terms the following information needs to be collected:

  • an understanding of how the proposal may impact on local communities. At pre-application stage, you should get this by engaging with the communities that may be affected;
  • bathymetry and current data to understand how material will be dispersed from the farm;
  • computer modelling to understand how marine species or habitats could be affected; and
  • surveys to understand the current state of the environment and confirm the presence or extent of important species or habitats.

The work to collect the information has to be done in the right order and to the right standards. Making a mistake at the start of the process could compromise all the subsequent work. Consequently, we recommend that applicants follow the structured approach to collecting information illustrated in the flow chart below. SEPA can then review the information collected at each stage to ensure that it is fit for purpose to allow you to move on to the next stage.

preapp-flow

Contact details:

SEPA Pre-application: aquaculture.pre-app@sepa.org.uk

SEPA Modelling:         aquaculture.modelling@sepa.org.uk

SEPA Monitoring:       aquaculture.monitoring@sepa.org.uk

Telephone enquiries: 03000 99 66 99

A SEPA lead officer will be identified for each pre-application discussion and their contact details will be provided.

The following menu provides access to the SEPA pre-application process and the associated guidance documents that will support you submitting an application.

Pre-application Proposal

NEWS

19 August 2019

We have amended the process to include a step where SEPA registry emails the applicant to acknowledge receipt of the proposal.

Registration of proposal

Purpose:

To record the start of the pre-application process and capture information required for Screening Modelling and Risk Identification.

Process:

  1. The applicant emails completed pre-application proposal form and any additional information to SEPA  aquaculture.pre-app@sepa.org.uk
  2. SEPA Registry enters details into the licence management system and creates a reference number.
  3. SEPA Registry sets up a pre-application file structure and store the information (access to these folders is controlled)
  4. SEPA Registry emails the applicant to acknowledge receipt of the proposal and to confirm that the information has been passed to the lead co-ordinating officer.
  5. SEPA Registry passes the information on to the lead co-ordinating officer.
  6. The SEPA lead co-ordinating officer passes the information on to SEPA modelling.

     

    Supporting Information

Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report

Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report

Purpose:

For SEPA to carry out an initial assessment of the proposal to determine what further assessment work needs to be carried out. This includes screening modelling by SEPA Modelling.

Process:

  1. SEPA Modelling carries out the screening modelling and produce a draft screening report.
  2. SEPA Modelling discuss the proposal and screening model output with SEPA colleagues. Risks are identified by this group and these are added to the draft screening report to form the Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report.
  3. SEPA Modelling sends the draft Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report to the SEPA lead officer and sets up an internal screening case review meeting to agree the response to the applicant. The SEPA lead officer chairs the meeting and records the outcome.
  4. SEPA lead officer notifies the applicant of any issues identified in the Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report that limit the likelihood of granting a permit.
  5. If the screening is acceptable the SEPA lead officer writes to the applicant enclosing the Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report.
  6. The Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report informs the engagement meeting(s) and is updated to reflect any new information received from that meeting or meetings.

Timescale:

Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report to be provided to the applicant within four weeks of the receipt of a pre-application proposal.

Supporting Information

Engagement meeting with SEPA, the applicant and local communities

Engagement Meeting

Purpose:

To engage local communities early in the pre-application process and identify sensitive receptors that could be affected by the proposal. The expectation is that this engagement would happen at the same time as any engagement required for planning so that all parties can reach a common understanding of the issues that need to be assessed.

Process:

  1. The engagement meeting will be informed by the SEPA Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report.
  2. The applicant should discuss with the SEPA lead officer how these meetings will be organised and who should be invited. This is to make sure that SEPA's interests are covered.
  3. The applicant organises the meeting(s) and makes available details of the proposal and the Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report.
  4. SEPA should attend the meeting and record issues relevant to the permit pre-application assessment process.
  5. After the final meeting, the SEPA lead officer organises an engagement case review.

Engagement Case Review

Purpose:

To review and update the Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report in light of the information received from the engagement process.

Process:

  1. The SEPA lead officer organises the engagement case review meeting with SEPA Modelling and Ecology and they agree the risks that need to be assessed.
  2. If a sensitive area is identified the SEPA lead officer contacts the organisation within whose remit this lies (e.g. SNH). Where necessary SEPA will include this in the report of risks.
  3. SEPA Modelling updates the Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report with a set of risks that came out of the engagement meeting.
  4. The SEPA lead officer sends the applicant a copy of the screening report and a letter asking for development of a Modelling Method Statement. The SEPA lead officer also sends the applicant and meeting participants a note of SEPA's conclusions.

Timescale:

An updated Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report to be provided to the applicant within four weeks of the engagement meeting.

Supporting Information

Modelling Method Statement

Modelling Method Statement

Purpose:

For SEPA to judge whether the applicant is proposing modelling work which will address the agreed risks outlined in the Screening Modelling and Risk Identification Report

. For the applicant to understand the modelling information required by SEPA so that all the identified risks can be assessed.

Process:

  1. The applicant develops a modelling method statement and sends it to SEPA Modelling. This takes account of the updated Screening Modelling and Risk Identification report following the engagement process.
  2. SEPA Modelling audits the method statement and emails the applicant and the SEPA lead officer.
  3. SEPA Modelling may carry out further screening modelling and risk assessment if required.
  4. The method statement is audited by SEPA and other authorities as necessary.
  5. SEPA Modelling organises internal meeting to discuss wider issues.
  6. SEPA modelling works with the applicant to finalise the modelling method statement. If agreement cannot be reached then SEPA modelling refers to the SEPA lead officer.
  7. When the method statement is acceptable SEPA Modelling confirms this in writing to the applicant and copies to the SEPA lead officer.

Timescale:

Response to Method Statement to be provided to the applicant within two weeks of receipt of a Method Statement.

Supporting Information

Modelling Data Collection Reporting

Modelling Data Collection Reporting

Purpose:

For the applicant to collect and provide to SEPA the agreed required current meter data, and other data, which will be used for modelling.

Process:

  1. Applicant collects metered current data over a period of 90 days and reports the data to SEPA Modelling. Early checks on current meter data are recommended, please see Process and Reporting Guidance.
  2. SEPA Modelling audits the data and returns to the applicant with any problems. If the problems cannot be resolved, SEPA Modelling refers to SEPA lead officer.
  3. If the data is acceptable, SEPA Modelling writes to the applicant confirming that modelling work may now proceed. This is copied to SEPA lead officer.

Timescale:

Data suitability response to be provided to the applicant within two weeks of receipt of data and/or a report.

Supporting Information

NewDEPOMOD Modelling Reporting

NewDEPOMOD Modelling Reporting

Purpose:

For the applicant to undertake the agreed NewDEPOMOD modelling to assess local impacts.

Process:

  1. The applicant undertakes the base modelling and application scenarios and reports it to SEPA Modelling.
  2. SEPA Modelling audits the modelling and returns to the applicant with any problems. If the problems cannot be resolved SEPA Modelling refers to the SEPA lead officer.
  3. SEPA Modelling sends a modelling response form to the applicant. This is copied to the SEPA lead officer.

Timescale:

Modelling response form to be provided to the applicant within two weeks of the receipt of modelling files and a modelling report.

Supporting Information

 

Marine Modelling Reporting

Marine Modelling Reporting

Purpose:

For the applicant to undertake the agreed marine modelling to assess wider scale risks. For the applicant to demonstrate to SEPA what level of impact the proposal will have on particular features.

Base Model

Process:

  1. The applicant builds a marine model (base model), which is checked against real data, and reports it to SEPA modelling.
  2. SEPA Modelling audits the model and returns to the applicant with any problems. If the problems cannot be resolved SEPA Modelling refers to the SEPA lead officer.
  3. When the marine model is acceptable SEPA Modelling sends confirmation to the applicant with a copy to the SEPA lead officer.
  4. SEPA Modelling sends a modelling response form to the SEPA lead officer.

Application Scenario Modelling

Process:

  1. The applicant runs the application scenarios. The base model is used to model the details of the farm discharge and other relevant discharges. The applicant reports the application scenarios to SEPA.
  2. SEPA Modelling reviews the application scenario modelling and returns to the applicant with any problems. If the problems cannot be resolved SEPA Modelling refers to the SEPA lead officer.
  3. When the application scenario work is acceptable SEPA Modelling sends confirmation to the applicant with a copy to the SEPA lead officer.
  4. SEPA Modelling sends a modelling response form to the SEPA lead officer.

Timescale:

Modelling response form to be provided to the applicant within two weeks of receipt of modelling files and a modelling report.

Supporting Information

Conclusion of Modelling

Conclusion of Modelling

Purpose:

To bring together all modelling data and reach a conclusion on the risks posed by the proposal.

Process:

  1. SEPA Modelling produce a Modelling Summary Report and pass it to SEPA lead officer.
  2. SEPA Modelling organises a modelling case review which to assess the implications for permitting and for baseline monitoring.
  3. The SEPA lead officer chairs modelling case review meeting and records the outcome of meeting.
  4. The SEPA lead officer writes to the applicant with conclusion of Modelling Summary Report and explains next steps.
  5. Where appropriate SEPA makes the Modelling Summary Report and record publically available.

Baseline Survey and Planning

Baseline Survey and Planning

Before submitting an application for a fish farm CAR permit, applicants must develop a plan for a baseline survey of the environment in which the proposed that the farm is to be sited. The applicant must also develop a plan for how ongoing environmental monitoring at the farm will be conducted.

Supporting Information

Baseline Survey

News

31 July 2019

We have added a guidance document setting out the interim MACS performance standard for the sampling of soft-substrate for biological and chemical analysis related to marine pen fish farms.

Baseline Survey

Purpose:

To develop a survey plan that meets the requirements of the performance standard for a baseline survey and undertake the baseline survey in a way that conforms with the plan and relevant performance standards. The aim of the baseline survey is to characterise the seabed in and around the predicted area of impact of the farm and provide an assessment of the environmental status of the seabed. It is also used to identify any protected habitats and species in the area and address any risks to the wider environment.

Process:

  1. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry convene a meeting of Compliance and Beyond, and SEPA Modelling. They agree what baseline survey work is required based on information from the screening process and modelling.
  2. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry send the applicant an explanation of what needs to be assessed as part of the survey.
  3. The applicant develops a baseline survey plan.
  4. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry check the proposals against the requirements of the relevant performance standards
  5. SEPA notifies the applicant of any issues that have been identified. The applicant resolves the issues and re-submits the baseline monitoring plan if required.
  6. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry write to the applicant when the baseline survey plan is acceptable. This is copied to the SEPA lead officer.
  7. The applicant undertakes the baseline survey and submits the survey report to SEPA Ecology.

Supporting Information

Baseline Survey Results

Baseline Survey Results

Purpose:

To audit the quality of the baseline monitoring survey submitted by the applicant. To assess whether it allows SEPA to understand the current environmental condition and ensure that any features will be adequately protected.

Process:

  1. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry review the baseline monitoring survey results to make sure that the survey was undertaken in a manner consistent with the plan and the guidance.
  2. SEPA notifies the applicant of any issues. The applicant resolves the issues.
  3. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry write to the applicant when the baseline monitoring survey is acceptable. This is copied to the SEPA lead officer.

Baseline Summary Report

News

31 July 2019

We have added a guidance document setting out the interim MACS performance standard for the sampling of soft-substrate for biological and chemical analysis related to marine pen fish farms

Purpose:

To assess the implications of the baseline monitoring results and whether it addresses all the issues that have been identified.

Process:

  1. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry produce a baseline monitoring summary report and pass it to the SEPA lead officer.
  2. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry organise a monitoring case review.

Monitoring Case Review and Baseline Monitoring Summary Report

Purpose:

To reach agreement on the outcome of the baseline monitoring and to agree the next steps. To highlight issues that may have an influence on the design of the Seabed and Water Quality Monitoring Plan for the proposed marine pen fish farm.

Process:

  1. SEPA lead officer chairs case review meeting and records outcome of meeting.
  2. SEPA lead officer writes to the applicant with baseline monitoring summary report and sets out the next steps.
  3. Where appropriate SEPA makes the summary report and record of meeting publically available.

Supporting Information

Seabed and Water Quality Monitoring Plan

Applicant supplies SEPA with a Seabed and Water Quality Monitoring Plan

Purpose:

For the applicant to develop a Seabed and Water Quality Monitoring Plan (SWMP) that allows SEPA to assess the environmental impact that arises from the farm following the start of production and allows validation of the modelling outputs.

The SWMP should set out what the applicant proposes to do with respect to ongoing monitoring at the site. It must be designed in accordance with the Baseline Survey and Monitoring Plan Design Standard and be informed by the results of the baseline survey and discussion between SEPA and the applicant.

Process:

  1. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry review the SWMP.
  2. SEPA notifies the applicant of any issues. The applicant works to resolve the issues.
  3. SEPA Ecology and Chemistry organise a case review meeting with SEPA compliance and beyond, and SEPA Modelling. The SEPA lead officer chairs the meeting.

IMPORTANT. If you do not provide information of the required quality, your application will be returned to you. The pre-application process is intended to ensure that this can be avoided and that your application can be processed quickly.