A quarry at Kyleakin on Skye has been confirmed as the preferred site for a new £80 million fish feed plant which comes with the promise of 55 full time, permanent jobs.
The announcement was made today (Tuesday) by Marine Harvest Scotland after consideration of a number of different sites on the west coast.
The site, known as Altanavaig (Allt Anabhaig) quarry, is seen by the firm as more than large enough to accommodate the plant.
Ben Hadfield, who is Managing Director of Marine Harvest Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have found a site which sits at the heart of our operations – one that is already an industrial site but which has not been fully utilised for some time. We would like to have the chance to bring it back to life and provide well paid jobs, as well as taking the opportunity to produce our feed in the most sustainable way.”
“This is a large investment in Scotland and the development of a feed plant here is part of our overall drive to become a more efficient and sustainable business.
“We hope this will be a major boost for the local economy and we are keen to start discussions with the local community and hear their views about our proposals.”
Marine Harvest Scotland said in January they were looking for a site to accommodate their new plant which will produce feed for use on their Scottish farms, as well as for Ireland, Norway and the Faroes. They hope to replicate the success of a similar plant in Norway which has provided a welcome boost to the local economy by providing jobs directly, as well as generating employment for local contractors and suppliers.
The company will now start consultation with the local community as part of the planning application process. They plan to hold public meetings in Kyleakin and Kyle in April.
Construction of the plant will take between a year and eighteen months and Marine Harvest believe it could be up and running as early as 2018, depending on the planning process.
Around four acres of the site will be used to accommodate the buildings which will include the processing plant itself as well as raw material storage silos, product storage and packaging, a loading area and car parking. The existing pier will need to be extended.
Ben Hadfield added: “We considered a number of different locations before deciding on Kyleakin Quarry. The site more than meets our criteria which included a central location for our farms, access to an existing jetty or pier, or the potential to build one, good road transport links and the availability of power and water supplies at a reasonable cost.
“This is a great opportunity for Kyleakin and the local economy and we hope to have the chance to discuss our plans with the local community as soon as possible.”
Public exhibitions are to be held in Kyleakin Village Hall on Monday 18th April and Kyle Free Church of Scotland Hall on Tuesday 19th April. Both exhibitions will be open from 11am until 8pm.
These initial exhibitions will explain the work the company plan to undertake to prepare their planning application.
The Free Press revealed in early March that Kyleakin was the favoured site. The news comes just weeks after the Salmon Farm giants shed 80 jobs – mainly in their processing and harvesting plants.