Many countries around the world have begun to adopt zonation systems as a strategic framework to guide their approach to the conservation, enhancement, understanding and use of the natural heritage. The natural heritage zonation approach adopted by SNH is intended to provide a logical framework, reflecting the diversity of Scotland's natural heritage, within which SNH can clearly and simply plan and execute its work. The zones are not, therefore, intended as a classification of the natural heritage but, rather as an operational tool which is founded in the natural heritage.
Nature Conservation Orders (NCOs) are made to protect any natural feature of land that is within (1) a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), (2) a European site or (3) other land of special interest, and where it is either being actively damaged or there is evidence that it is under threat of damage. The Orders set out certain prohibited operations and the land to which they apply.
Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are designated by Scottish Ministers under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Sites can be established for the purpose of demonstrating, or carrying out research on sustainable methods of marine management or exploitation in Scottish territorial waters. Their application is not restricted to nature conservation. Proposals will be developed and assessed according to a set of specific guidelines which will examine the scientific case for a MPA, the level of support and the reasons why a MPA is the most appropriate mechanism to use.
Galloway Forest Park was established in 1947 and is managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.
Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 a local authority may determine which parts of its area are of special architectural or historic interest and may designate these as Conservation Areas. The public will normally be consulted on any proposal to designate conservation areas or to change their boundaries.There are over 600 Conservation Areas in Scotland. Many were designated in the early 1970s, but some have since been re-designated, merged, renamed, given smaller or larger boundaries and new ones have been added. They can cover historic land, battlefields, public parks, designed landscapes or railways but most contain groups of buildings extending over areas of a village, town or city. Further planning controls on development can be made by way of an Article 4 Direction, which may or may not be associated with a Conservation Area. An Article 4 Direction is not a conservation designation but an additional control within such areas. It is a statement made under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011. The Direction, made by a local authority and approved by Scottish Ministers, removes all or some of the permitted development rights on an area. The effect of a Direction is that planning permission will be required for specific types of development which would otherwise be regarded as 'permitted development', i.e. development that does not require a planning application. Directions can cover a variety of minor works and might include: the replacement of doors and windows, the erection of gates, fences, garages, sheds, porches, storage tanks or the installation of satellite antennae. This dataset contains Conservation Areas, Conservation Areas with associated Article 4 Directions, Article 4 Directions associated with a Conservation Area, and a small number of discrete Article 4 Direction areas.
There are many areas where the scenery is highly valued locally and local authorities often give these landscapes a local designation. This is to ensure that the landscape is not damaged by inappropriate development, and in some cases encourage positive landscape management. These designations play an important role in developing an awareness of the landscape qualities that make particular areas distinctive and promote a community's sense of pride in their surroundings. The names used for such Local Landscape Areas currently vary from one local authority to another. For example, they are termed 'Areas of Great Landscape Value' in Moray, 'Special Landscape Areas' in Dumfries and Galloway, and 'Sensitive Landscape Character Areas' in Ayrshire. Guidance published by Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Scotland (see below) suggests the name be standardised to Local Landscape Areas (LLA) now. LLAs complement the National Scenic Area designation, which identifies those landscapes that are seen as nationally important owing to their unsurpassed scenery. http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/protected-areas/local-designations/local-landscape-areas/
Seal haul-out sites are designated under section 117 of Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Harassing a seal (intentionally or recklessly) at a haul-out site is an offence. “Haul-out site” means any place which the Scottish Ministers, after consulting the Natural Environment Research Council, by order designate as such for the purposes of this section.
The Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA's) scheme was first introduced in 1987. The ESA scheme was introduced in Scotland to help conserve specially designated areas of the countryside where the landscape, wildlife or historic interest is of particular importance and where these environmental features can be affected by farming operations. ESA's were designated under powers given to the Secretary of State in the Agriculture Act 1986. In addition Parliament approved individual Statutory Instruments which set out the terms and conditions for each designated area. There are 10 ESA's currently operating in Scotland
The central core area (darkest sky) of the Galloway Dark Sky Park. The Galloway Forest Park received Gold Tier Dark Sky Park Status from the International Dark Sky Association in 2009 due to the exceptional quality of the night sky.
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.