skip to main content


Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential to sustaining the living networks and systems that provide us all with health, wealth, food, fuel and other vital services that we depend on.  Planners and developers have a key role to play in helping to protect and enhance Scotland's biodiversity.

People are part of nature's rich diversity and have been a major force in shaping Scotland's biodiversity and landscapes for thousands of years. While some human activities have benefited biodiversity, many have resulted in a decline in biodiversity. Today in Scotland, biodiversity is under pressure from climate change, development, habitat loss and pollution.    

How planners and developers can help

Good development in the right places can help to protect and enhance Scotland's biodiversity.  

Planning authorities, like other public bodies, have a legal duty to further the conservation of biodiversity. This can be done, for example, by:

  • ensuring that the need to conserve biodiversity is reflected in development plans and development management decisions;
  • seeking benefits for Scotland's biodiversity from new developments, including the restoration of degraded habitats.

Developers can help a lot by considering natural heritage interests, including impacts on biodiversity, from the start of the development process.  Planning for Nature: Development Management and Wildlife  PDF document   (produced by West Lothian Council with support from SNH) is an example of Supplementary Guidance that helps them to do this.  

It is important that ecological surveys and mitigation are carried out at the right time of the year. The survey calender  PDF document and mitigation calender  PDF document will help you to ensure that survey and mitigation requirements are properly factored into the development timescale.

Further information

You can use the following links to find out more about Scotland's biodiversity and how to build biodiversity more into development plans and proposals:

Last updated on Friday 12th February 2016 at 11:33 AM. Click here to comment on this page