PRODUCTION companies filming in Argyll and Bute are estimated to have spent £1 million in the area last year, according to a new report.

And a pilot project charging companies to film on council assets in the area has netted Argyll and Bute Council itself almost £8,000.

The charges for commercial filming purposes were first established last August after the area proved a popular location for films and advertisements.

Now Argyll and Bute Council’s policy and resources committee will debate the possibility of permanently establishing the fees.

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The sum was revealed in a report by executive director of development and infrastructure Pippa Milne, which will be considered by the environment, development and infrastructure committee on Thursday, June 6.

Ms Milne said: “It was important when developing the schedule and associated charging model that we provided our customers with a structured, transparent process when dealing with filming on our assets.

“This ensured we were providing a fair approach to charging, avoided uncertainty and delay with enquiries whilst continuing to provide a film friendly service.

“A report is due to considered at the policy and resources committee in August to review the implementation of the charges, however it has been noted that the council has received £7,805 so far in commercial filming fees and statutory charges since its implementation.

“It should be noted that the industry continues to be agreeable to the charges and enquiries have continued to increase since its implementation.”

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More than 40 productions were filmed in the area from January 2018 to January 2019, with a total of 124 enquiries made into using it as a location. It is estimated that the local production spend exceeded £1 million.

These included filming on Mull of Kintyre for Stella McCartney’s autumn fashion line, BBC drama The Cry, partly shot in Arrochar, and romantic drama film Then Came You, previously known as Love Me To Death.

Ms Milne’s report states that the council will continue to engage with representatives to ensure the filming industry can go from strength to strength in the area.

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She added: “The screen industries have the potential to not only bring production spend to the local economy but to be a catalyst for the growth of the tourism industry in Argyll and Bute based on Argyll and Bute film productions.

“The value of screen industries within the UK and Argyll and Bute continues to increase due, at least in part, to UK tax relief and Netflix as a highly popular and successful streaming service.

“In addition, the recently established Screen Scotland has invested £20million into the development and support for screen industries in 2018/19.

“To take advantage of this growth, we are looking to continue to develop our existing service through an enhanced online experience, engaging with our customers and continue to proactively attract productions and to market the area for film tourism.”