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    In recognition of the different physical and socio-economic characteristics across the regions, the European Union introduced the Less Favoured Area (LFA) designation to support farming where production conditions are difficult. The criteria for LFA designation were first established in European legislation in 1975 (Directive 75/268 EEC and accompanying measures). There are 3 types of LFA's; all in Scotland fall into the category of simple LFA's marked by poor soils and low agricultural income. Scotland's LFA's are defined by: (i) The presence of poor land of poor productivity, which is difficult to cultivate and with a limited potential which cannot be increased except at excessive cost, and which is mainly suitable for extensive livestock farming. (ii) lower than average production, compared to the main indices of economic performance in agriculture. (iii) a low or dwindling population predominantly dependent on agricultural activity, the accelerated decline of which could cause rural depopulation

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    The European Diploma is an award established by the Council of Europe under Regulation (65) 6 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 6 March 1965 for certain landscapes, reserves and protected national features, and Resolution (73) 4 of 19 January 1973 on the Regulations for the European Diploma (amended and revised by Resolution (88) 39 of 5 December 1988, (89) 12 of 19 June 1989 and (91) 16 of 17 June 1989). By awarding the European Diploma, the Council of Europe recognises that the area is of particular European interest for natural-heritage and that the area is properly protected. The Diploma can be awarded to national parks, nature reserves or natural areas, sites or features. The award is for a five-year period. Annual reports are required for each area, and the renewal of the award at 5 years is only made after independent assessment of the site. The Diploma can be withdrawn at any time if the area comes under threat or suffers serious damage.

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    The Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) provides incentives for people to create and manage woodlands on sites all over Great Britain. The Forestry Commission pays grants for establishing and looking after woodlands and forests. To qualify for grant the applicant must meet the standards of environmental protection and practice set out in the Forestry Commission’s guidelines. WGS3 was launched during September 1994 and was closed for new applications in Scotland in February 2003. It was then replaced by the Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme (SFGS). Updates to scheme boundaries and grant aided areas were incorporated into the dataset on a regular basis until the end of 2012. No further changes will be made after this time.

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    Agricultural parishes are based on Civil Parishes which were abolished as an administrative unit in Scotland in 1975. Agricultural parishes continue to be used for boundary and statistical purposes. There are 891 agricultural parishes in Scotland and they are used in the Agricultural Census and for the payment of farming grants and subsidies. The dataset contains parish boundaries, parish names and parish codes.

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    Anyone wishing to fell trees must ensure that a licence or permission under a grant scheme has been issued by the Forestry Commission before any felling is carried out or that one of the exceptions apply. You normally need to get permission from the Forestry Commission to fell growing trees. This is usually given in a Felling Licence or an approval under a grant scheme. In certain circumstances you may also need special permission from another organisation for any proposed felling. This sometimes applies even if you do not need a Felling Licence. Everyone involved in the felling of trees, whether doing the work or by engaging others, eg. the owner, agent, timber merchant or contractor, must ensure that a licence or approval under a grant scheme has been issued before any felling is carried out or that one of the exceptions apply. They must also ensure that the work is carried out in accordance with the terms of a Forestry Commission permission. If there is no licence or other valid permission, or if the wrong trees are felled, anyone involved can be prosecuted. Do not begin felling until the Forestry Commission have issued a licence or other permission. Any felling carried out without either a licence or other permission is an offence, unless it is covered by an exception. Full details are available in the Forestry Commission's booklet 'Tree Felling - Getting Permission'.

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    Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) are those areas of land and water (to the seaward limits of local authority areas or MLWS) that Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) considers to best represent our natural heritage - its diversity of plants, animals and habitats, rocks and landforms, or a combinations of such natural features. They are the essential building blocks of Scotland's protected areas for nature conservation. Many are also designated as Natura sites (Special Protection Areas or Special Areas of Conservation)..The national network of SSSIs in Scotland forms part of the wider GB series. SNH designates SSSIs under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. SSSIs are protected by law. It is an offence for any person to intentionally or recklessly damage the protected natural features of an SSSI. SSSIs were first designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The majority of these were later re-notified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. All 1981 Act SSSI designations are carried forward, and all new SSSI designations are now made, under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.

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    The Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) provides incentives for people to create and manage woodlands on sites all over Great Britain. The Forestry Commission pays grants for establishing and looking after woodlands and forests. To qualify for grant the applicant must meet the standards of environmental protection and practice set out in the Forestry Commission’s guidelines. WGS1 operated between June 1988 and June 1991. Updates to scheme boundaries and grant aided areas were incorporated into the dataset on a regular basis until the end of 2004. No further changes will be made after this time.

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    The Woodland Grant Scheme (WGS) provides incentives for people to create and manage woodlands on sites all over Great Britain. The Forestry Commission pays grants for establishing and looking after woodlands and forests. To qualify for grant the applicant must meet the standards of environmental protection and practice set out in the Forestry Commission’s guidelines. WGS2 operated between June 1991 and September 1994. It was replaced by WGS3 Updates to scheme boundaries and grant aided areas were incorporated into the dataset on a regular basis until the end of 2012. No further changes will be made after this time.

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    World Heritage Sites are designated to meet the UK's commitments under the World Heritage Convention. The UK's ratification also extends to its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. These sites are designated for their globally important cultural or natural interest and require appropriate management and protection measures. Natural properties may be terrestrial or marine areas.

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    The National Nature Reserve (NNR) Partnership awards the NNR accolade to the best places for people to see the best of Scotland’s nature. SNH formally declares the Partnership’s recommended places under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.