Other national designations

Several other national designations are used to protect Scotland’s natural heritage – from Forest Park to Seal Conservation Area.

Forestry designations

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) establishes and manages the non-statutory designations below:

  • Woodland Park – a woodland area where public recreation is a primary objective of management
  • Forest Park – an extensive area of forest managed for multiple benefits, with an emphasis on recreation
  • Forest Nature Reserve – the best conservation sites owned and managed by FCS
  • Caledonian Forest Reserve – FCS-managed ancient and semi-natural woodland, where environmental conservation is a primary management objective

Any of these designations may overlap with, and gain statutory protection from, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and/or a Natura site.

Find a forest on the Forestry Commission Scotland website.

Gardens and designed landscapes

Find out about the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes on the Historic Environment Scotland website.

Seal Conservation Area

Five Seal Conservation Areas have been designated by Scottish Ministers under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010

Four of these match the areas previously covered by Conservation of Seal (Scotland) Orders:

  • Shetland
  • Orkney
  • Moray Firth
  • East coast of Scotland

The fifth Seal Conservation Area is the Outer Hebrides.

Marine Scotland is the relevant licensing authority for Scotland’s Seal Conservation Areas.

To licence the killing or taking of seals in a Seal Conservation Area, Marine Scotland must be satisfied that:

  • there’s no satisfactory alternative way to achieve the purpose for which the licence is required
  • doing so won’t damage the maintenance of a population of any seal species at a favourable conservation status in its natural range

Learn more about seal licensing on the Scottish Government website.

Significant seal haul-out

It is an offence under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 to “recklessly or intentionally harass” seals while on land at designated haul-outs around Scotland. Further information and guidance is available from the Marine Scotland website.

Area of special protection

This designation was repealed in Scotland on 1 January 2012, as its provisions had been replicated by more recent legislation.

Last updated: