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Another 18 sites in Scotland are being sent to the European Commission as candidate Special Areas of Conservation (...
Another 18 sites in Scotland are being sent to the European Commission as candidate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the EC Habitats Directive Lord Lindsay, Scottish Office environment minister, announced today.

Lord Lindsay said:

'These 18 sites represent a further significant contribution from Scotland to the establishment of the Europe-wide Natura 2000 network of protected areas. The list includes the internationally-important peatlands of Caithness and Sutherland which on its own amounts to some 13 per cent of the area of Scotland's Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSIs).

'The submission of these sites as candidate SACs follows extensive consultations at national and local level. I am hopeful that most of the objections and concerns raised in relation to the remaining sites on the consultation list can be resolved. The Government expects to send a further substantial tranche of sites to the Commission as soon as possible in 1996.

'Not unexpectedly, consultations on marine sites have revealed a greater level of uncertainty and concern about the implications of SAC designation. The Scottish Office and Scottish Natural Heritage are working on the production of further detailed information as a basis for focused discussions on the proposed marine sites in the early part of the year.

'Having considered further scientific advice regarding the resident dolphin population in the proposed Moray Firth marine site, I have decided that the boundary of that site should be adjusted to exclude most of the Cromarty Firth. I have also decided to initiate consultations on the possible designation of the Dornoch Firth as a marine SAC for its estuarine interests.

'The candidate SACs are excellent examples of how valuable habitats and the wildlife they support can readily co-exist with man's activities. I am confident that any potential conflicts and concerns can be overcome in a manner which allows both the economy and the environment to flourish. The government and Scottish Natural Heritage remain fully committed to taking forward the designation of Natura 2000 sites in Scotland in partnership with all concerned.'

The further 18 sites in Scotland included in the current tranche are:

Site Administrative Area

Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands (the 'Flow Country') Caithness, Sutherland Carn nan Tri-tighearnan Inverness, Nairn Clyde Valley Woods Clydesdale, Hamilton, Motherwell

Coll Machair Argyll & Bute Conon Islands

Ross and Cromarty Dornoch Firth and Morrich More Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland Dunkeld and Blairgowrie Lochs Perth and Kinross Foinaven Sutherland Loch Etive Woods

Argyll & Bute, Lochaber Loch Lomond Woods Dumbarton, Stirling Loch Maree Complex Ross and Cromarty Moine Moor Argyll & Bute Rannoch Moor Argyll & Bute, Lochaber, Perth & Kinross Rhidorrich Woods Ross and Cromarty Ronas Hill - North Roe Shetland Strathglass Complex Inverness Tiree Machair Argyll and Bute Torrs Warren - Luce Sands Wigtown.

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