Letters to the Editor


Recently The Arran Banner headlined “Early Chance to bag first taste of Lagg. Arran Distillery Ltd hopes to raise £4.2million boost from whisky sale” and residents and visitors of Arran are encouraged to purchase casks at £6000 each of heavily malted malt whisky from the new distillery.

At the very same time the distillery is going ahead with the construction of a pipe into Kilbrannan Sound, north of Thunderguy and Lennimore, so it can empty all its untreated effluent twice daily into this pristine marine environment. No pollution control, no resource recovery.

This is a National Scenic Area, so who thought this was a good idea? The distillery is annexing Arran’s natural beauty in pursuit of greater profit, their gain is everyone on Arran’s loss and sums up the powers of those who allowed this to happen at all levels from SEPA, North Ayrshire Council to Arran Community Council and others who did not object to the planning application or licence application. Their environmental policy, can be summed up in two words, FOR SALE.

Scotland’s natural environment is now a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder, it is the beginning of the ‘Enclosures’ all over again and this loss will not easily be reversed. The Commons of the sea are for sale. So next time you drink a dram of Isle of Arran whisky, take a short time to remember the untreated waste being spread in the inshore marine sea around the beautiful island in a National Scenic area and you are ultimately responsible for it as it you it is being done for. Try not to choke on your dram. If you want to see a better alternative take a trip down the coast to Girvan and visit Grant’s.

But more waste is to come. Next will be more applications for increased biomass in older and new salmon farms. This SEPA approval for the Arran Whisky Distillers sets a precedent. Just today I receive notification that Marine Harvest wishes to increase the biomass of North Carradale and South Carridale Salmon farms from 2500 tonnes to each maximum biomass of 3750 tonnes, from 10 to 14 pens, 75 metres further east into deeper water. To give you an idea of the emissions from such farms into what were pristine waters around Arran, the combined emissions from just these two Marine Harvest salmon aquaculture farms in Kilbrannan Sound in 2016 were as follows:

Copper from nets: 1,409 kilogrammes
Zinc from feed and nets: 956 kilogrammes
Nitrogen as ammonia and urea: 338,785 kilogrammes
Phosphorus from food and faeces: 46,785 kilogrammes
Organic carbon from waste food and faeces: 1,086,936 kilogrammes.

Data from Scotland’s Aquaculture web site.

That is before I have had time to research the analysis of escapes, and neurotoxins to treat sea lice. It must be nearly ten years ago Arran defeated a huge Marine Harvest proposal for a site north of Lamlash Bay and Hamilton Rock. It involved a huge effort by many people. We need to get ready to do it all over again!

Sally Campbell
Blairbeg House