Approval given for final phase of food park

Food Park, Peel

Food Park, Peel

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Tynwald approved £915,000 for the final phase of Isle of Man Food Park, in Peel, – despite scientists recommending queenie fishing be suspended this year.

The work will include demolishing two units to create three new vacant plots, as well as improve utilities and roads in the already occupied southern half of the park.

DEFA Minister Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘It is unfortunate at this time that the recent stock assessment report for queen scallops has indicated a substantial depletion in stocks on the ground, however DEFA is working with the industry to agree a strategy for the recovery of those stocks to a sustainable level.

‘It is unclear what impact this might have in the short term on demand for new business at the site, however, there remain strong economic and environmental arguments to continue the capital programme in respect of the site.

‘Any delay at this stage would inevitably increase costs to government as the sum being sought is much reduced due to the contractor already being on site undertaking work for phase two.’

Scientists from Bangor University estimated queenie stocks were less than half their historic levels and 85 per cent down on the peak level seen in 2011-12, and recommended fishing be suspended this year to allow stocks to recover.

But Mr Gawne said the Queen Scallop Management Board decided more assessment was needed before a decision was taken.

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