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.
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.
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.
LNRs are established in a variety of locations with very varied habitats and species. They must lie wholly within the area of jurisdiction of the local authority which declares them to be reserves. Prior to such declaration, the local authority must own or lease the site or obtain an agreement from the owner. LNRs are generally smaller than NNRs and closer to centres of population. They are frequently provided for the enjoyment and education of local people whose involvement in site management is encouraged.
Marine Consultation Areas are identified by Scottish Natural Heritage as deserving particular distinction in respect of the quality and sensitivity of the marine environment within them. Their selection encourages coastal communities and management bodies to be aware of marine conservation issues in the area.
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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.
National Scenic Areas (NSAs) are Scotland's only national landscape designation, and defined as areas “of outstanding scenic value in a national context” for which special protection measures are required. The designation’s purpose is both to identify our finest scenery and to ensure its protection from inappropriate development. NSAs are broadly equivalent to the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty found in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They are regarded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Category V Protected Landscapes. There are 40 NSAs in total covering roughly 1 million hectares (13% of Scotland).
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Galloway Forest Park was established in 1947 and is managed by Forestry Commission Scotland.