Natural heritage and biodiversity
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report states that “Everyone in the world depends on nature and ecosystem services to provide the conditions for a decent, healthy, and secure life.”
The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 places a duty on all public bodies, including planning authorities, to further the conservation of biodiversity in undertaking their functions.
Biodiversity is important because it provides natural services and products that we rely on, is an important element of sustainable development and makes an essential contribution to Scotland’s economy and cultural heritage.
Fife’s Local Development Plan aims to ensure:
- Fife's environmental assets are maintained and enhanced
- Green networks are developed across Fife
- Biodiversity in the wider environment is enhanced and pressure on ecosystems reduced enabling them to more easily respond to change
- Fife's natural environment is enjoyed by residents and visitors.
Planning policy safeguards Fife’s natural heritage through the protection of priority habitats, species and habitat networks of wildlife sites and corridors, watercourses, wetlands, landscape features and open space, some of which may not fall within designated sites.
Thoughtful development design can deliver high quality, successful places that protect and enhance natural heritage assets and biodiversity. However, without care poorly sited and designed development can affect species and habitats and lead to habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.
Development proposals must provide an assessment of the potential impact on natural heritage and biodiversity and include proposals for the enhancement of natural heritage and access assets, as detailed in Making Fife’s Places Supplementary Guidance.
- Mapping of designated natural heritage sites across Fife - shows both statutory and non-statutory designated sites.
- Mapping of integrated habitat networks across Fife - shows the five priority habitats woodland, wetland, grassland, heathland and coastal.
Other useful sources of information to assist with site assessments include:
- Information on statutory designated sites (links to SNH website).
- Information on non-statutory local designated sites (Fife Nature Records Centre).
- Guidance on habitat networks (links to SNH website) - includes ‘An essential guide to habitat networks.’
- Interactive habitat network mapping user tool (links to SNH website).
- Information on the laws protecting wildlife, protected species, statutory designated sites and the SNH Ancient Woodland Inventory is also available (links to Scottish Natural Heritage website).