The new National Planning Policy Guideline (NPPG) gives guidance on how the government's policies for the conservation and enhancement of natural heritage should be reflected in land use planning. More particularly, the NPPG:
- stresses that the natural heritage should be conserved in ways which bring benefits to local communities and encourage social and economic progress;
- describes the role of the planning system in safeguarding sites of national and international importance;
- highlights the importance of safeguarding and enhancing natural heritage beyond the confines of designated areas;
- draws attention to the role of Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) in safeguarding species and habitats; and
- provides new guidance on safeguarding wild land.
Mr MacDonald said:
'Scotland's natural heritage is important to us all, both for its intrinsic environmental value and because of the opportunities for social and economic development which it offers. We are committed to ensuring that it is safeguarded in ways which bring benefits to local communities and encourage social and economic progress.
'While the protection of natural heritage may sometimes impose constraints on development, with careful planning the potential for conflict between conservation and development can be minimised. It is the government's wish to ensure that Scotland's natural heritage is conserved and enhanced for the benefit of future generations.'
1. National Planning Policy Guidelines (NPPGs) set out government policy on nationally important land use and other planning matters.
2. For the purposes of the guideline, Scotland's natural heritage includes its plants and animals, its landforms and geology, and its natural beauty and amenity. The principles and policies set out in the guideline are intended to apply to both urban and rural areas.
3. A draft NPPG on Natural Heritage was issued for consultation in March 1998. Comments were received from a wide range of organisations with an interest in development and conservation and the NPPG has been revised in the light of these representations.