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Landscape change

Looking after landscape isn’t about preservation. Landscapes continually change – which can be positive if planned and managed well.

Landscapes are dynamic. Human activity and natural processes have shaped Scotland over millennia. Today, our distinctive landscapes play a vital role in our health, economy and international reputation.

Our landscapes continue to change all the time. Decisions society makes about planning and development, and land management, play a big part in what this change looks like.

Scottish Natural Heritage is the Scottish Government’s statutory adviser on landscape. We influence policy and practice across all major sectors of activity that may affect landscape character, qualities and values. To fulfil our landscape remit, we work with other agencies, government and communities.

Planning authorities are uniquely placed to put national and local landscape policy into practice within Scotland’s communities. Doing so can bring social and economic benefits as well as protect and enhance nature and landscapes.

The capacity of landscapes to absorb new land uses and development varies from place to place. Any change should make the most of the benefits that landscapes offer and result in landscapes that are at least as good as they are now.

Landscape Character Assessment studies describe Scotland’s varied landscapes and can guide landscape change – as can a range of tools and techniques.

The European Landscape Convention shapes how we deal with landscape matters, while our Landscape Policy Framework sets out our approach in detail.

Scotland’s Landscape Charter asks us all to do our bit to ensure that we pass on Scotland’s landscapes to future generations in the best possible health.