THE NATURAL AND HISTORIC ENVIRONMENT
8. Support for renewable energy developments and the need to protect and enhance Scotland's natural and historic environment must be regarded as compatible goals if an effective response is to be made to the challenges of sustainable development and climate change. The planning system has a significant role to play in resolving conflicts so that progress towards the 2020 target continues to be made in a way that affords appropriate protection to the natural and historic environment without unreasonably restricting the potential for renewable energy development.
9. National Planning Policy Guideline 14: Natural Heritage sets out the policies that must be taken into account when considering the impact of development on the natural heritage. The guidance confirms that Scotland has a wide range of natural heritage assets which are protected and cared for in a variety of ways. At an international level, Scotland has specific obligations to fulfil in terms of European Directives. There are also national and local considerations in terms of species, habitats and landscapes.
10. It's in Your Hands: A Strategy for the Conservation and Enhancement of Biodiversity in Scotland 5 sets out a vision for the future of Scotland's biodiversity giving a 25 year framework to conserve and enhance biodiversity for the health, enjoyment and well-being of the people of Scotland in the context of the EU commitment to "protect and restore the functioning of natural systems and to halt the loss of biodiversity". The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 places a statutory duty on all public bodies to further biodiversity while exercising any of their functions. Planning plays a key role in fulfilling this duty and in ensuring that the natural environment remains a key contributor to the sustainability of human activity and to the quality of life.
11. The UK Government has also signed and ratified the European Landscape Convention ( ELC). The ELC is a Council of Europe treaty whose purpose is to promote landscape protection, management and planning. It is not binding in the same way as European Directives. However, in ratifying the ELC, the UK Government has signalled its intention to promote the good management of all landscapes. The Executive does not regard the ELC as establishing a new protection regime but rather a contextual statement giving coherence to policies on a range of issues which are already in place.
12. The Executive is committed to safeguarding and, where appropriate, enhancing Scotland's historic environment .NPPG 5: Archaeology and Planning and NPPG 18: Planning and the Historic Environment set out national planning policies for the appropriate protection of scheduled monuments and other archaeological sites and their settings, World Heritage sites, listed buildings and their settings, gardens and designed landscapes and conservation areas. Together they provide guidance on the relative weight which attaches to the protection of different types and categories of site from international to local in accordance with the particular requirements of heritage legislation. PAN 42 Archaeology and the Scheduled Monument Procedures provides more detailed advice on those specific issues.