Creag Meagaidh landscape view © P&A Macdonald/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

EU Exit information

Scotland’s nature will have the same protections it had before EU Exit.

EU Exit

The UK may be leaving the European Union.

Scotland has measures in place to protect the environment, and these measures are supported by EU laws and standards.

The Scottish Government is committed to making sure it continues to meet EU environmental standards after EU Exit.

Environmental legislation is being corrected to make sure the law keeps working as it has been in key areas. Scottish Natural Heritage is working on this with the Scottish Government and other public bodies.

If we do leave the EU, we know that:

Scotland’s Nature will have the same protections it had before EU Exit.

Natura sites represent the very best of Scotland’s nature and include internationally important or threatened habitats and species. Natura sites are made up of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and form a unique network of protected areas that stretches across Europe. SPAs are classified under the Birds Directive to protect birds that are rare or vulnerable in Europe as well as all migratory birds that are regular visitors. SACs are designated under the Habitats Directive for habitats and non-bird species. The Habitats Directive also sets out how Natura sites should be protected and has a number of wider implications such as those relating to European protected species.

After the UK leaves the European Union, Scotland's Natura sites will be known as the UK site network in Scotland, but they will continue to have the same protections they had when the UK was a member state of the European Union.  In addition, certain species are given special protection in Scotland as European Protected Species and again there will be no change to how these species are protected.

For more Information on the UK's possible exit from the European Union (Brexit) and how it may affect people and businesses in Scotland please visit the Scottish Government’s EU Exit web page.