Tipping waste into our marine environment

Tipping waste into our marine environment – a report from Lamlash resident and marine scientist Sally Campbell

The Isle of Arran Distillers was granted a licence to discharge up to 60,000 litres per day of mixed untreated distillery effluent over 2 x 3 hour periods each day into Kilbrannan Sound, transported to the outfall head by road tanker. The sea outfall is located at Rubh Airigh Bheirg, an important geological area, 2.5km SW of Catacol on scenic, unspoilt coast. SEPA decided that the “relative remote isolation”, “relatively small volume” and “lack of protected areas” reasons that formal consultation with external organisations was unnecessary. It is now in use and one wonders what will happen to waste generated at the new distillery on the south coast of Arran. What do Arran residents and visitors think of the discharge, a tanker twice every day spilling effluent down a pipe by the roadside? The smell of organic effluent, a range of alcohols and phenolic compounds, along a wonderful stretch of coast where tourists often stop to look at the Lennimore and North Thundergay graveyard, and at the geology of metamorphism and the tectonically deformed Dalradian rocks? The photo of the disposal site for the distillery is included. The other photo, snapped from a passing bus, shows a tanker discharging distillery effluent at Areverga point.



Now the Scottish Salmon Company is on a PR initiative with a letter to “Dear Resident” at each house to convince Arran that the huge proposed salmon farm, again with no pollution control for faeces, waste food and chemicals will add value to Arran economically and socially, located as they hope in the North Sannox Area. This on the very day a Billy Bower tanker, smelling of dead fish was loaded onto the ferry in Brodick having been at Scottish Salmon Company’s Lamlash farm.

The hiatus re. North Sannox salmon farm proposed by Scottish Salmon Company is clearly coming to a head. Surely in 2019 no industry should be dumping waste, be it fish faeces, uneaten food, chemicals, distillery waste including alcohols and phenolic compounds, untreated into our marine environment.

What is happening to Arran? Is the aim economic development at all costs, especially to our precious marine environment, our sense of beauty as we travel the island, our sense of community, our sense of place? If the distillery is doing so well, and their PR tells us that it is, then come on distillery and treat your waste properly, on site, produce power for your establishment, and do not use the discredited “dilute and disperse” method of no payment waste disposal into our beautiful marine environment. Beware, Scottish Salmon Company may use exactly the same arguments as their PR letter to “Dear Resident” suggests.

Arran needs some strategy for development, or we will lose the very precious things people come here for…the coast, the marine environment, the sense of unspoilt place. First the Scottish Salmon Company, then the Isle of Arran Distillers, so what company next?

Sally Campbell
July 2019