LOCALS of Loch Long have been congratulated for their successful efforts in blocking a salmon farm development in their area.

Scottish Green MSPs Ross Greer and Ariane Burgess both objected to the Loch Long Salmon Company’s Beinn Reithe fish farm proposal, which was panned over environmental concerns raised by locals.

And Greer has now congratulated the local community on the refusal of planning permission for the development, which was confirmed in a decision by the board of Loch Lomond’s National Park Authority at a special public hearing in Arrochar on Monday.

In a statement, Greer said “This is fantastic news for Loch Long and the whole of the national park. I’d like to congratulate the local residents who fought against these plans. They had to work hard to get heard above the torrent of PR and lobbying from the developers, but I’m pleased the national park’s board saw sense and voted to reject.

“Development of new technology is to be welcomed, but it’s totally inappropriate to test it out by putting the largest fish farm in Scotland into such a sensitive area of a national park, especially with the added loss of ancient woodland on the shore.”

Dumbarton MSP and deputy Scottish Labour leader Jackie Baillie who also submitted a letter opposing the plan, said it was “good news indeed”.

The proposals were for a semi-closed containment system – which would have been the first time the technology would have been used in Scotland, although it has already been used in Norway and experimentally in Canada.

Despite receiving more than 200 objections, the plans got support from several MSPS, including Argyll and Bute MSP Jenni Minto, Culture Secretary Angus Robertson and Tory MSPs Pam Gosal and Donald Cameron.

READ MORE: Scottish salmon farming jobs cut despite record levels of production, report finds

The recommendation was agreed by 10 votes to one, with only one councillor, LibDem William Sinclair, disagreeing.

The managing director of Loch Long Salmon, Stewart Hawthorn, has described the decision as a "missed opportunity". 

He said: "The national park board have missed an opportunity to sensitively use the natural resources within the park to support local communities and fulfil their mission to improve the wider environment beyond the borders of the park.

“In doing so they have gone against the wishes of the community, expert advisers,  national regulators and a cross-party group of elected officials.

“There are a range of options available to us to continue our efforts to bring the benefits of semi-closed containment aquaculture to Loch Long. 

"We will explore those options carefully over the coming days and weeks before deciding on the next steps.”