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

Protecting and enhancing landscape

Planners and developers have a big part to play in protecting and enhancing our landscapes

Scotland’s nature and landscapes underpin Scotland’s economy and attractiveness as a place to live and do business.

Planners and developers have a big role to play in helping to protect and enhance these assets. Development and other changes can be positive, if well informed and well planned.

Our finest landscapes are protected:

Each part of Scotland has a distinctive character, and it’s vital that we look after our landscapes and ensure that the distinctiveness of each part of Scotland is not lost.

Developers have a key role to play in identifying and addressing impacts on landscapes as you develop your proposals. You should also follow good practice as you integrate new development into the landscape. A range of landscape tools and techniques is available to guide this work.

Learn about how planning authorities can protect and enhance landscapes in their areas.

Landscape character assessments have been completed for all parts of Scotland. View the landscape character assessment for your area.

Learn more about landscape, planning and development.

Planning Advice Notes

These provide technical advice and information on planning matters. The Planning Advice Notes below are relevant to landscape and housing.

Fitting New Housing Development into the Landscape: Planning Advice Note 44 considers design principles for larger residential developments on the edge of built-up areas. Its focus is how to achieve developments that are in harmony with their landscape setting and which contribute more positively to the character of existing settlements.

Housing in the Countryside: Planning Advice Note 72 sets out design principles for good quality rural housing that respects Scottish landscapes and building traditions. Considering the location and design of new housing in relation to the surrounding landscape is key.

Planning and Open Space: Planning Advice Note 65 looks at how the planning system can help to protect and enhance existing open spaces and provide high quality new spaces. Open spaces are important as places where people in settlements can interact with the natural environment, for their wildlife habitats, and in defining the character and identity of settlements.