European Commission as candidate Special Areas of Conservation
(SACs) under the EC Habitats Directive, Lord Sewel, Scottish minister for agriculture, environment and fisheries has announced.
The sites are: Ben Nevis, Ben Wyvis, Caenlochan, Cairngorms and
Lord Sewel said:
'The five candidate SACs which I have proposed to the
European Commission are all montane sites and as such represent some
of our rarest and most fragile habitats. The sites offer a further major contribution to the Natura 2000 network of protected areas. They encompass a wide range of habitat types from Caledonian pine
woodlands in the glens to montane habitats such as sub-arctic willow
scrub, alpine calcareous grasslands and alpine and sub-alpine heaths on the high tops.
'The proposal of these sites to the European Commission is a
further indication of the government's commitment to implementing
the Habitats Directive and to playing our full part in establishing the Natura 2000 network. The five sites extend to over 85,000 hectares
which represents almost one-tenth of the area of Scotland notified as
Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
'These sites were originally recommended to government as
possible SAC by Scottish Natural Heritage in 1995 and the site
boundaries are those on which full public consultations have taken
place. If a compelling case is made on scientific grounds for a change
to the boundaries, I shall of course take heed of any further advice from SNH. Any proposed modifications would be subject to the usual full consultations.
'In addition to the national and international importance of
these sites in nature conservation terms, I am also aware of their
economic importance to rural communities and the pressures which
may result from this. I hope the sites will continue to be managed in a sustainable manner compatible with maintaining their special nature
conservation interests while at the same time supporting important uses such as forestry, farming, tourism and recreation.'
1.The Council Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats
and Wild Fauna and Flora (92/432/EEC) requires Member States to
designate certain sites as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). From
these national lists, the member states and the commission will agree
(by June 1998) the sites of committee importance which will become
designated SACs. The Habitats Directive was transposed into GB law
by the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994.
2.The habitat types and species which require site designation are
listed in Annexes I and II of the Directive. Annex III gives criteria for the selection of sites. 75 habitat types and 47 species are proposed for site designation in the UK.
3.A consultation exercise on a first list of possible SACs began in
March 1995. This was followed up by consultations on the second list
of possible SACs which began on October 1, 1997. The second list of
possible SACs includes extensions to existing sites including
Caenlochan and Cairngorms.
4.The sites which have been proposed to the European
Commission as candidate SACs today are as follows:
Ben Nevis (9317 hectares)
Ben Wyvis (5387 hectares)
Caenlochan (4974 hectares)
Cairngorms (55996 hectares)
Drumochter Hills (9445 hectares)
Kennet and Lambourn Floodplain
5.From the list of 280 sites which were consulted on in March
1995 three tranches of sites have already been forwarded to the
European Commission as candidate SACs. The first tranche of 136
candidate sites (43 in Scotland) was proposed on June 20, 1995, the
second tranche of 75 sites (18 in Scotland) was submitted on January 8, 1996 and the tranche of 44 sites (33 in Scotland) on October 14, 1996.
6.Explanatory notes which set out in detail the rationale for the
selection of UK possible SACs will be available from mid-October.
Jane Robson: 0131 244 2910