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Business / ‘It’s horrific’ says Tingwall cattery owner as salmon pipe recycling business hopes for planning consent

Can a cat boarding business and a plant for shredding salmon pipes co-exist?

The salmon pipe storage site last week after shredding had stopped. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

THE OWNER of a well established local cattery says she is likely to go out of businesses if a salmon pipe recycling plant next door continues to emit noise.

Christine Henry of Gott Cats has now formally objected to two retrospective planning applications by Andrzej Hatalski of Shetland Precast to store disused fish farming pipes and additional containers on the site of the former glasshouses in Tingwall.

Hatalski already has permission to store plant and materials, including an office and double height storage containers, on the former Planticrub greenhouse site for a period of five years.

However, when his company started shredding salmon pipes earlier in October, they were quickly told to stop doing so as no planning licence for industrial processing was in place.

Hatalski is now planning to submit the required applications under the name of AK Plastic as soon as possible, likely to be in January 2023.

Feeding the shredder often went on until 8pm. Photo supplied by Christine Henry

Henry said the noise coming from the shredder sounds like “continuous, loud oppressive thunder interspersed with loud bangs when the fish farm pipes break up within the mixer.”

She said the work often went on until 8pm, describing the stress the noise caused to her feline residents and to herself as “unbelievable”.

“Their [the cats] eating patterns have changed, many no longer eat during operations; I find this very distressing,” she said.

A number of customers of Gott Cats have also expressed their concern to the council’s planning department as has the UK Alliance of Catteries and Kennels.

Meanwhile, the company in the limelight here is aiming to resolve one of Shetland’s pressing environmental issues: the reuse and recycling of hundreds of tonnes of discarded salmon farm pipes scattered across the islands.

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Hatalski was in Poland last week and could not be spoken to directly, but a company representative speaking on his behalf said they wanted to be a good neighbour and would have preferred to speak directly to those with concerns.

He said they had identified a way of producing a raw material for the plastics industry by first cleaning and then shredding the disused high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes and then shipping the granulates south for use in plastic manufacturing.

The representative said there was an almost endless supply of salmon pipes in the isles with each individual cage consisting of about seven tonnes of recyclable HDPE plastic.

The salmon pipe granulates can be used as a raw material in the plastics industry. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

He said it was true that they had started shredding pipes in early October but had stopped after some weeks when told they had no permission to carry out the work on the site.

The representative said this had been a genuine oversight on their part and a further planning application by AK Plastic requesting permission to shred salmon pipes on the site would be submitted by their agent as soon as that was possible.

“We stopped the moment we were told to; we don’t want do anything that is against the law,” he said.

He added that the hope was to move the whole process indoors at some stage but that would depend on whether they could make a success of their business venture.

Henry meanwhile described the situation she finds herself in as “horrific”.

“It just destroys everything we have done here,” she told Shetland News, adding that cats react particularly sensitive to noise.

Established 40 years ago, Gott Cats is the only cat boarding business in Shetland and is licensed to board 70 cats at any one time.

In her submission to the planning department, she wrote: “Having created a peaceful environment catering to cats’ needs, it makes me depressed seeing it easily destroyed by works at Shetland Precast Ltd.

Clair Dodding of the UK Alliance of Catteries and Kennels added: “Gott Cats cattery provides an exceptional service to both human clients and cats.

“Christine, the owner of Gott Cats cattery, is a key part of our industry within this location.”

The business provides a highly regarded and much needed service within the local community, she said, and would stand to close should planning permission be granted.

An attempt to safeguard the Tingwall glasshouse and turn the 2,500 square metre facility into community growing venture failed in 2014.

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