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    Local Administrative Units (LAU) - Level 1 are part of the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) hierarchical classification of UK areas created by the European Office Statistics (Eurostat) in order to produce regional statistics which are comparable across the European Union. There are 3 NUTS levels moving from larger to smaller areas, NUTS 1 is Scotland, NUTS 2 divides Scotland into 4 areas and NUTS 3 divides Scotland into 23 areas. NUTS areas are stable and are only amended periodically. NUTS 4 and NUTS 5 have been superseded by Local Administrative Units (LAU), which were introduced in July 2003 as there was a requirement for statistics at local level which were compatible with NUTS. LAUs are amended to reflect administrative boundary changes. LAU boundaries were created by National Records of Scotland (NRS) from existing geographies. LAU Level 1 (formerly NUTS level 4) are Council Areas, Local Enterprise Companies (LECs) or a combination of both. Scotland is covered by 41 LAU1 areas.

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    This dataset represents passenger and vehicle ferry ports in Scotland. These are the start and end terminals for the Scottish Ferry Routes dataset. It was initially created for use within the development of the Scottish Government's Urban Rural Classification. Ports which service both subsidised and private active ferry routes are included. Ferry ports and attributes are based upon route information obtained from Traveline data aggregated from operators (e.g. Caledonian MacBrayne, NorthLink Ferries, etc.).

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    Land Cover Scotland (LCS) 1988 was the first ever national (air-photo) census of land cover in Scotland to describe the principal features and characteristics of the countryside. It was produced by The Macaulay Land Use Research Institute (now the James Hutton Institute) on behalf of Scottish Government to assist in the development and monitoring of policies affecting the state of the Scottish countryside. It was intended that the 1988 LCS be used as a baseline for monitoring change. The classification system allows for 126 land cover types to be identified as point, line or area features. An important aspect of the classification system is that it allows for mosaics of the land cover types to be identified, where the pattern of cover types was so complex that individual types could not, at the selected interpretation scale, be separated. Over 1300 mosaics are identified in the LCS dataset.

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    Marine Planning Zones are defined in the Town and Country Planning (Marine Fish Farming) (Scotland) Order 2007. The Zones designate marine areas for which planning authorities discharge their functions with regard to fish farming developments.

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    Beach areas are designated under the Bathing Waters Directive (76/160/EEC) to protect the environment and public health at locations where bathing is not prohibited and is traditionally practised by a large number of bathers. The Directive requires that water quality at all designated bathing waters must meet specific microbiological requirements in order to protect the health of those that bathe there. The waters are designated on the basis of significant use, taking into account varying population densities and visitor numbers. There are currently 86 site designations contained in this dataset.

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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 Scottish Remote Sensing Index (SRSI) is a collaboration between Scottish public sector organisations to public information about the remote sensing data they hold. For each remote sensed dataset, the spatial extent is captured, along with 12 attributes, including the sensor type, spatial resolution, and contact details of the data custodian. The licence status attribute can be used to filter the dataset to find openly available data.

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    The Drinking Water Protected Area (DWPA) (Groundwater) dataset represents the individual groundwater water bodies in Scotland. These have been defined by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in line with the requirements of The Water Environment (Drinking Water Protected Areas) (Scotland) Order 2013. The dataset is required to fulfil the requirements of the European Union Water Framework Directive.

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    European Structural Funds are a series of financial tools set up with the explicit purpose of reducing regional disparities across the EU in terms of income, wealth and opportunity. Scotland’s Structural Fund Programmes for 2014-2020 consists of 2 programme areas: Highlands and Islands (with a GDP between 75% and 90% of the EU average), and the rest of Scotland which is made up of the other three NUTS II (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics3) regions (North Eastern Scotland, Eastern Scotland and South Western Scotland) all of whom have a GDP above 90% of the EU average. The Highlands and Islands has been designated as a transition region and the rest of Scotland as a more developed region. The categorisation of the two areas has an impact on the type of projects that the funds can be used to support.

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    The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park was established in July 2002 under The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Designation, Transitional and Consequential Provisions (Scotland) Order 2002. In the designation Order, the boundary is defined by the line on the deposited map. This dataset represents that line. The aim of Scotland's National Parks is to deliver better management of areas of outstanding natural and cultural heritage. They aim to: conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage, promote the sustainable use of natural resources of the area, promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public and promote sustainable social and economic development of the communities of the area.