A bid to create a large seaweed farm the size of “153 football pitches” has been withdrawn, with the news welcomed by the local MP.

Biome Algae had put in two licensing applications to the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to carry out the work at Gerrans Bay off the coast of the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall, outside of Falmouth harbour jurisdiction.

In the application Biome Algae said it farmed seaweed native to the UK, which was grown to provide food, low-carbon animal feed and fertiliser alternatives, and biomaterials to replace single-use plastic and take away cartons.

It explained that farming seaweed did not require freshwater, land, feed or fertilisers and it does not produce waste, but it did sequester carbon at a rate six times that of trees, with additional benefits for the marine environment such as habitat restoration and increased marine life.

Currently the company used licensed sites did not own and it said: “For the business to succeed and move forward, Biome requires a licensed site where they are the sole operator and of a size that will lead to economic viability for the business.”

The application included a personal letter of support from Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Councillor for Feock and Kea, and cabinet member for environment and climate change.

However, a number of local fishermen had spoken of their concerns and opposition to the scheme at a recent public meeting.

Now the area’s MP said that this week the MMO had confirmed to her that the applications had been withdrawn.

Cherilyn Mackrory, MP for Truro and Falmouth, said she “applauds the outcome of the successful community campaign”.

She said that if the plans had been permitted the seaweed farm would have involved suspending lines 65ft (20m) apart, held in place by surface floats and anchored to the seabed, that would have “massively limited the use of the sea across a 270 acre (or 153 football pitches) site.”


Ms Mackrory said: “It was clear from the sheer numbers of people who contacted me about this controversial scheme that there were tremendous issues with it.

“If approved, it would have proved disastrous, both for our fishermen, who are heavily reliant on inshore waters for their livelihoods, but also for leisure and community use, with the iconic Portscatho Regatta event, for example, taking place on these waters.

“It was also essentially a large industrial feature in what is currently a beautiful and unspoilt piece of coastline and marine environment that enjoys Area of Outstanding Natural beauty status under planning rules.

“A few months ago I facilitated a meeting between fishermen on the Roseland and the applicants so that assurances could be made, one of which was for an Environmental Impact Assessment, which did not materialise.

“As the Member of Parliament for Truro and Falmouth I have a duty to represent our friends, family and neighbours who are concerned about the future of fishing if this seaweed farm had gone ahead.”

Falmouth Packet: The proposed location of the seaweed farm at Gerrans BayThe proposed location of the seaweed farm at Gerrans Bay (Image: Biome Algae/MMO)She added that last week she attended the Gerrans Parish Council meeting at which the matter was discussed, and wrote to the MMO to ask for an extension to the public consultation on this application.

“Subsequently it was announced that the consultation on the seaweed farm was extended due to concerns over the timings of the public notices for the application, giving us more time to make sure that local people are heard.

“Then on Friday, I was delighted to hear from the MMO that both applications had been withdrawn. This was ultimately a successful campaign by local people, who came together as a community across a variety of platforms, to ensure their voices were heard and that the full impact of these proposals on the surrounding area was known.”

“I was pleased to play my part in highlighting issues around the process to the MMO, and must say a huge well done to everyone involved in the campaign – a great example of what happens when a community pulls together and pushes for the outcome they all want to see,” she said.