Landscape policy and guidance

Explore landscape policy and guidance if you’re a planner, developer, policymaker, land manager, landscape architect or want to look after local landscapes. ​

Most landscape policy and guidance is aimed at planners and developers, who play a key role in helping to protect and enhance Scotland’s landscapes. Landscape change can be positive when it’s well planned and well informed. Landscape tools and techniques offer practical support.

Land management is another landscape policy focus, as such decisions can affect forests, woodlands, lochs, rivers, farmland and uplands. Agriculture is one of the greatest influences on our landscapes. Forests and woodlands – and their design and management – can also strongly affect landscape character.

Making more use of our landscapes can help to tackle some of today’s health issues. Landscapes also contribute to our economy – chiefly by attracting tourism. Landscapes are a shared resource for everyone in Scotland, and policy and guidance set out how the benefits can be enjoyed by all.

Geodiversity underpins landscape, so protecting our rocks, landforms and soils is also an important part of landscape planning and management.

Understanding the likely effects of climate change on the landscape will help us to plan for and manage the changes set to alter our landscapes in future. Landscapes also provide a living history of Scotland’s past, and policy too shapes how the historic dimension of landscape is managed.

The distinctive and special character of Scotland’s wild and remote areas is increasingly rare to find. Such places require protection.

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