Landscape: health and the economy

Landscapes provide a wide range of social and health benefits and underpin Scotland’s economy, and policy reflects this.

Landscapes are a shared resource for everyone, regardless of ownership, ability or background.

Landscapes for people and health

Attractive, accessible landscapes – including urban greenspace – invite visits and encourage physical activity. They can delight and inspire us, and making use of them can significantly help to improve our health and well-being. Simply viewing natural landscapes can also have important restorative qualities and promote recovery from physical and mental stresses.

Our position statement below explains why we should be making more use of this resource to tackle some of the important health issues in Scotland today.

Read Developing the contribution of the natural heritage to a healthier Scotland.

Our Natural Health Service is a cross-sector initiative that promotes green exercise as an important component of health policy and practice and makes the most of Scotland’s natural environment for people’s health and well-being.

Find out more about wild land in Scotland.

Scotland’s ‘wild places’ – such as mountains, forests and coasts – offer opportunities for challenge, adventure and exploration as well as the chance to get away from it all.

Green networks with open space in towns, cities and rural settlements are important settings for a wide range of social interactions and pursuits that support personal and community well-being. They allow individuals to interact with the natural environment and provide habitats for wildlife.

Planning and Open Space: Planning Advice Note 65 explains more about the role and planning of open space landscapes.

Designing Safer Places: Planning Advice Note 77 highlights the positive role that planning can play in helping to create attractive well-managed environments that can discourage antisocial and criminal behaviour.

Landscapes for a strong economy

Decisions about development proposals and land management should take into account the economic value of landscape.

Our landscapes are a key part of how we promote Scotland globally as a desirable location for businesses.

The rural economy depends heavily on recreation and tourism industries. Scotland’s stunning landscapes and wildlife attract visitors from near and far – they’re consistently cited as the top reasons for visiting Scotland.

Read more about the economic importance of Scotland’s nature and landscapes.

Read Valuing Our Environment: The Economic Impact of Scotland’s Natural Environment