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Surveying the grasslands at Brerachan meadows, Tayside. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Protected Areas Committee

Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas are the focus of the Committee.

The Protected Areas Committee (PAC) advises Scottish Natural Heritage on the work it must do in relation to any:

Tasks in which the Committee is involved include:

  • notification of SSSIs under section 3 of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004
  • extensions to existing SSSIs (under section 5 of the 2004 Act)
  • denotification of some or all of an existing SSSI (under section 9 of the 2004 Act)
  • approving SNH advice to the Scottish Government on the suitability of potential Natura sites (i.e. SACs and SPAs)
  • applying the ‘10-year rule’ (under section 21 of the 2004 Act) – SNH must consider any valid scientific representation made by the owner/occupier of land within an SSSI, if this is made at least 10 years after the original notification, or 10 years from any previous such referral.

The Committee can take advice from anyone its members deems appropriate.

When our Board is asked to confirm an SSSI notification, the Committee can explain any issues and make recommendations. But if a vote must be taken on the final decision, PAC members would normally abstain from voting.

PAC members

All members of the Protected Areas Committee are members of our Board. Committee membership is approved by the Board and consists of a Chair and three other members.

The current Committee members are:

PAC meetings

The Committee meets as and when required – usually no more than four times per year. Our Director for People and Nature may attend the meetings.

Anyone may come along to watch the open sessions of PAC meetings.

The Chair may opt for some decisions to be made by correspondence. For example:

  • to keep to the statutory timescales for the notification of an SSSI
  • where a procedural decision is needed for the notification of an SSSI seen as uncontroversial

Search for published meeting papers, including agendas and open session minutes.

The Standing Orders for meetings of the Board of SNH (Chapter 5 of the Guidance) apply as appropriate to PAC meetings.

PAC appointments

Only members of our Board can sit on the Protected Areas Committee.

Find out about Board member appointments.


Lynne Clark
Protected Areas Committee Secretary
Scottish Natural Heritage
Great Glen House
Leachkin Road

Telephone: 01463 725256
Email: [email protected]

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