Standing advice for planning consultations: Peatland restoration projects in protected landscapes
This is standing advice to help anyone planning to undertake peatland restoration in protected landscapes.
This is standing advice to help anyone planning to undertake peatland restoration in protected landscapes. The advice applies in particular to peatland restoration proposals in a National Scenic Area (NSA) or Wild Land Area, and so avoiding the need for NatureScot to be consulted by planning authorities in these cases. We will only provide further landscape advice in exceptional circumstances that are not covered by this standing advice.
Permitted Development Rights and prior notification
Peatland restoration benefits from permitted development rights (Planning Circular 2/2015 updated 2021; Annex J) including within NSAs (Planning Circular 9/1987) and other protected landscapes. Peatland restoration schemes do however require submission of information about the peatland restoration proposal to the planning authority as part of a prior notification procedure.
Minimising short term landscape and visual impacts
Peatland restoration helps to maintain and enhance landscape qualities, in addition to the carbon capture and biodiversity benefits. We therefore encourage and support peatland restoration. Restoration work may result in some short-term adverse landscape and visual impacts, however these can be minimised by adopting the following measures:
- good practice for peatland restoration and general construction;
- use of existing tracks for access to works as far as possible. Extensions to existing tracks or new tracks may require planning permission and subsequent consultation with NatureScot, depending on the proposal. Any track restoration or extension should use track material that is sympathetic to surroundings and causes minimal disturbance to surrounding areas;
- adherence to ‘Constructed tracks in the Scottish Uplands’ guidance;
- the removal of tracks associated with restoration works where possible;
- avoidance of overly uniform or geometric layouts for damming of water and creating artificial features which would contrast with natural land-cover patterns,
- minimising the protrusion of metal or wooden dam heads above immediate ground levels to avoid undue intrusion into immediate views;
- avoidance of fencing (whether stock fencing, deer fencing etc.), unless it is fundamental to the longer term success of the restoration works. The requirement for fencing should be balanced against other estate practices, including deer management. Where fencing is required it should be a temporary measure, the ongoing requirement for which should be monitored as part of the wider restoration works. Health and safety requirements should guide fencing requirements and duration, and appropriate signage;
- provision of public information at key entry points to explain the works and any changes/alterations stemming from the works.
Including the details of these measures in the information provided to planning authorities as part of the prior notification procedure should avoid the need for planning authorities to consult NatureScot.
For further information or consultation please contact the relevant NatureScot Area team.