Important Locations for Biodiversity
Statutory and non-statutory sites in North East Scotland
Scotland has statutory designated sites of international, national and local importance for nature conservation, and most are represented in North East Scotland. They are protected because they are particularly important places for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity and are valued by society.
There are also non-statutory sites (not designated through policy or legislation), which contribute to nature conservation. These include RSPB and Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserves, and there are several within the NESBiP area.
Unprotected areas may also be important for other reasons. Refer to information on protected species, as these often occur outside of protected sites. Unprotected areas are also likely to be part of habitat networks.
More about designated sites within the NESBiP area:
Any plan or project with the potential to impact a Natura site (including cSAcs and pSPAs) will require a Habitats Regulations Appraisal screening and may require an Appropriate Assessment.
Details of all local designations can be found through the Council websites listed below in more information.
Local Nature Reserves (LNRs)
Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are areas of natural heritage that are (at least) locally important. There are 75 LNRs in Scotland. The local authority can designate a Local Nature Reserve as a protected area of land because of its special natural interest and/ or educational value. They are sometimes linked to SSSIs and/or a Natura site. The local authority is responsible for managing LNRs in its area and will usually do so through its countryside ranger service.
Local Nature Conservation Sites (LNCSs)
Local Nature Conservation Sites (LNCSs) identify locally important natural heritage. These areas could be affected by development.
This network of sites represents the best of local biodiversity across the area. As well as biodiversity, LNCS may also be designated for their importance for geodiversity (rocks, fossils and all the earth materials that are important to us, such as soil). The LNCS network complements and supports International and Nationally important sites like Special Protection Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
LNCS vary considerably in size from a bog or old quarry of a few hectares to extensive stretches along river valleys. They include a range of habitats such as lowland raised peat bog, woodland, grassland, wetlands, but many are coastal sites which cover sand dunes, estuaries and coastal cliffs.
North East Scotland Biological Records Centre (NESBReC) also hold detailed data, including species records, for each of the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire LNCS sites. This can be accessed on request.
Local authority maps and information
Local Development Plans and supporting guidance should be consulted for information about the location of protected sites and relevant planning policies:
Find a designated site
Search for all international and national designations on Scotland’s Environment Web.
Search for local designations (Local Nature Conservation Sites and Local Nature Reserves) on Scotland’s Local Government Spatial Hub.
Read more about designated sites
You can read about Scotland’s designated sites on NatureScot’s website.
More information on non-statutory designated sites
You can find more information on this on NatureScot’s website.
More advice for developers
NatureScot have produced specific advice about what is expected of developers proposing or undertaking work in or close to a designated site.
Statutory designated sites of importance are particularly important places for the protection and enhancement of biodiversity, and are valued by society
Environmental Planner at Aberdeen City Council