Protected Areas Committee - Meeting - 9 September 2021
Agenda and minutes for meeting held on 9th September, 2021
Agenda from meeting - 9th September 2021
PROTECTED AREAS COMMITTEE MEETING
9th September 2021, 13.30-15.00
Aoife Martin, David Johnstone, Nikki Yoxall, Pete Higgins, Nick Halfhide, Sarah Hutcheon, Ben Ross, Lynne Clark
The meeting will be held virtually via MS Teams.
- Welcome (Aoife)
- The work of the Protected Areas Committee – any questions following on from the presentation at the last meeting. (Sarah)
- Protected Areas Review – background and next steps (Ben)
Minutes of Meeting - 9th September 2021
Committee members: Aoife Martin (Chair), Pete Higgins, Nikki Yoxall, David Johnstone
In attendance: Nick Halfhide, Ben Ross, Sarah Hutcheon, Lynne Clark (minutes)
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.
The work of the Protected Areas Committee – any questions following on from the presentation at the last meeting
Members were asked if they had any outstanding questions on the working of the PAC, following the presentation at the last meeting.
There was some discussion about NatureScot’s overall appetite to use statutory powers, to ensure protected areas are delivering for biodiversity.
The committee discussed the importance of bringing people with us and to ensure we have a proactive relationship going forward. The aim should be to encourage voluntary compliance with managing protected areas for nature, followed by assisting people to comply and finally then using enforcement powers as a last resort.
Protected Areas Review – background and next steps
Ben Ross delivered a presentation on the background to the Protected Areas review, its findings and recommendations and how this links with emerging policy areas, particularly 30x30 and Nature Networks. [For information – background on the Review itself and the webinars and papers can be found on our website].
There was some discussion about the factors affecting the status of Protected Areas, the pros and cons of monitoring against notified features, looking towards different, more holistic measures of ecosystem health and of looking more holistically at management of pressures from outside site boundaries.
Discussion also included the following points:
- The importance of support mechanisms for landowners to manage for nature and how to do this to support what will be long-term or permanent changes
- Better brokering between land-managers and other parties
- The significant role that Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) are likely to play in delivering 30x30
- The need for improved management for nature across protected areas and the wider countryside i.e. an integrated approach.
- The risks of target setting driving perverse behaviours and not delivering the overriding objectives
- The need for shifting societal norms and behaviour change
- The need for clarity in the ‘ask’ of land-managers in terms of what they are aiming to achieve and the support to help them achieve it.
The Committee were keen to consider the bigger picture and make sure that long term durability was built into the Protected Areas review process.
AP 1 – Ben to work up an approach on next steps and circulate it to the group via email by end of September.
Future work for PAC
The Committee were given an update on future areas of work. We are providing advice to Ministers on MPAs and the marine team are keen to provide a briefing session to PAC and the SAC MPA sub-group on how the process operates and then to have a further meeting to go through sign off of the advice. The Committee agreed that some written briefing ahead of the session would be helpful so the session could be used to seek clarity and ask questions on specific aspects.
AP 2 – Sarah to set up the joint briefing meeting for SAC MPA sub-group and PAC, to include a written briefing to be circulated prior to the meeting, so committee members can ask specific questions at the briefing session.
There was a query about what happens with designations now we are outside of the EU. Essentially there is no change to how sites are protected or our ability to designate new ones. Further information can be found on our website.