SNH Landscape Character Assessment 2019


SNH Landscape Character Assessment 2019
Alternate title
Dataset name: GIS_SNH_OWNER.LCA_2019
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Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is the recognised analytical technique which identifies areas with a distinct composition of inter-related physical, cultural, historical and perceptual characteristics. The first national programme of LCAs was initiated by SNH in the 1990s, and produced 29 reports with relevant local authorities and other organisations. This dataset has been reviewed to take account of intervening technical improvements in website mapping to produce a revised national suite of landscape character types. This is at 1:50,000 scale and has been created in collaboration and consultation with FCS and HES as well as all local authorities.
© Scottish Natural Heritage contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right (2019)
GEMET - INSPIRE themes, version 1.0 ( Theme )
  • GeologyProtected sitesLand coverLand use
Use limitation

Available under the Open Government Licence ( )

license otherRestrictions copyright otherRestrictions
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Available under the Open Government Licence ( )

eng utf8
Topic category
  • Environment
Reference system identifier
EPSG / 27700 / 8.6.2

Distribution format
  • ESRI Shapefile (EPSG:27700) ( 10.3.1 )

  • GML (EPSG:4258) ( 3.1.1 )

  • KML (EPSG:4326) ( 2.1.1 )

The first national suite of Landscape Character Assessments (LCAs) for Scotland was produced between 1994 and 1999. It was commissioned by SNH, in partnership with others (see list below). Most of the 29 assessment reports covered an individual local authority area. There are places where there were cross-boundary differences between Landscape Character Types (LCTs) in neighbouring study areas. There was also variation in approach and structure between a few LCA studies. The mapping for these was often difficult to read and/or at different scales. SNH has reviewed Scotland’s 1990s LCA studies, at LCT level (i.e. groups of similar mapped units, united by common characteristics), to create a single dataset in a digital version, at 1:50,000 scale. This builds on the originals, rather than replacing them, and included review of any subsequent landscape studies such as wind farm ‘capacity’ assessments. A Core Technical Group oversaw the project. The following areas were revised by landscape consultants in detail as they varied sufficiently in approach in the first national LCA suite – Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire including Banff & Buchan, Caithness & Sutherland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Moray &Nairn, Ross & Cromarty (including part of the Inner Moray Firth report) and Skye & Lochalsh. This was enabled by contributory funding from FCS. The reviewed LCA was subject to a series of consultations with SNH landscape advisors and all Local Authorities. HES contributed historic landscape information to each LCT description. Fieldwork by the two SNH project Landscape Advisors was undertaken to verify most of the proposed boundary changes. The new LCT information is presented on an OS base map, accessed from the SNH web site. The LCA map can be searched by LCT name, number and place name. The 390 LCT descriptions, accessed from the map, are in a standard format and each is assigned a number. Some LCT names have been changed for national consistency, and where LCTs of a similar character in different areas have been identified they have the same name, but an area suffix added (e.g. “Rugged Massif – Ross & Cromarty” and “Rugged Massif – Skye and Lochalsh”). They also have different wording in the character descriptions as they originated from different reports. The Meridian coastline was used. It is envisaged that there may still be spatial errors within the data due to the original data capture methodology. Original 1990s SNH LCAs used as a basis for the 2019 review were: SNH LCA Review series no.80 (City of Aberdeen) SNH LCA Review series no.102 (Aberdeenshire) SNH LCA Review series no.78 (Argyll and Clyde) SNH LCA Review series no.111 (Ayrshire) SNH LCA Review series no.112 (Borders) SNH LCA Review series no.37 (Banff and Buchan) SNH LCA Review series no.75 (Cairngorms) SNH LCA Review series no.103 (Caithness and Sutherland) SNH LCA Review series no.123 (Central) SNH LCA Review series no.94 (Dumfries and Galloway) SNH LCA Review series no.113 (Fife) SNH LCA Review series no.114 (Inverness) SNH LCA Review series no.97 (Lochaber) SNH LCA Review series no.120 (Ben Alder, Ardverikie and Creag Meagaidh) SNH LCA Review series no.91 (Lothians) SNH LCA Review series no.101 (Moray and Nairn) SNH LCA Review series no.90 (Inner Moray Firth) SNH LCA Review series no.100 (Orkney) SNH LCA Review series no.119 (Ross and Cromarty) SNH LCA Review series no.93 (Shetland Islands) SNH LCA Review series no.71 (Skye and Lochalsh) SNH LCA Review series no.116 (Glasgow and Clyde Valley) SNH LCA Review series no.122 (Tayside) SNH LCA Review series no.92 (Western Isles) SNH LCA Review series no.79 (Mar Lodge Estates) SNH LCA Review series no.77 (Kinross-shire) SNH LCA Review series no.96 (Clackmannashire) SNH LCA Review series no.124 (Stirling to Grangemouth) SNH LCA Review series no.withdrawn (Loch Lomond and the Trossachs) Data Quality: Polygon data: the boundaries between LCT's should be recognised as transitional or 'fuzzy' zones rather than places of distinct change.


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