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Protected areas

Protected areas represent the very best of Scotland's nature and landscapes. Looking after these areas will help to ensure that they remain in good health for all of us to enjoy now and in the future. 

Types of protected area

There is a wide range of protected areas in Scotland, including Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation (which together form an EU-wide network of protected areas known as Natura 2000), Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Nature Reserves and National Scenic Areas.

Visit the protected areas section of this website to find out more about all types of protected area, including local designations and other national designations. 

Where they are

Protected areas are found throughout Scotland. You can use our interactive mapping tool external site  to find out where Scotland's protected areas are, why they've been designated and other information about each area.

Natural Spaces offers you downloads of Scottish Natural Heritage data as ESRI Shapefiles or the OGC standard formats GML and KML.

What you need to do

For Natura sites, the Habitats Regulations require "competent authorities" (often the planning authority) to carry out an assessment of any development proposal which requires planning permission or other consent. For Sites of Special Scientific Interest, planning authorities should consult Scottish Natural Heritage in relation to any proposal that could affect the site.

Within National Scenic Areas, there are a number of requirements relating to development management and this includes a need for planning authorities to consult Scottish Natural Heritage for certain types of proposal.

If your proposal affects the Firth of Forth.  We have created Firth of Forth HRA guidance for developers and regulators  PDF document to help you to consider the issues related to development on the Forth and its associated Natura sites.

Last updated on Monday 30th May 2016 at 11:23 AM. Click here to comment on this page