Shetland has rich and varied natural heritage, being home to many significant species of animal and plants and internationally important habitats, such as blanket bog. The geology of Shetland is very varied, particularly when considering the land area of the Islands, spanning almost 3 billion years.
The varied natural heritage requires varied management or conservation, with important input from both the public and private sector, including vital input from land owners and managers.
The Biodiversity Duty
The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 gives all public bodies in Scotland a duty to “further the conservation of biodiversity” as they carry out their work. This Biodiversity Duty means that the Council has a duty to consider the impact on biodiversity of all its activities. This legislation gives the Council an important role in recognising its impact on biodiversity, and working to protect the Island’s biological inheritance. The Biodiversity Duty applies to Council activities and operations and to plans and policies.
There are a number of different designated sites that occur in Shetland, these include:
- Special Areas of Conservation
- Special Protection Areas
- Ramsar Sites
- Sites of Special Scientific Interest
- National Scenic Areas
- National Nature Reserves
More information on specific designated sites in Shetland can be found on SNH’s Sitelink website.
Local Nature Conservation Sites
As part of the Local Development Plan, 49 sites of importance that are not designated under legislation were identified as deserving of protection. Information on the proposed Local Nature Conservation Sites can be found in the Local Nature Conservation Site Supplementary Guidance to the emerging Local Development Plan.
More information on the geology of Shetland can be found on the Geopark Shetland website.
Living Shetland is the Island’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP), it identifies locally important habitats and species and highlights and promotes actions to conserve these. It also highlights actions from key sectors, such as the agricultural sector, and promotes and encourages action for biodiversity at the community level, through the Community Biodiversity Action Plans. Living Shetland has been developed with a wide range of organisations, but the Council co-ordinates its development and implementation.
LBAPs are a way of stimulating effective local action for national priorities identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, as well as for species and habitats, which are important at the local level. LBAPs are also aimed at stimulating new projects at the local level, with local involvement.
LBAPs aim to:
Translate national targets for habitats and species, as specifies in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, into effective action at the local level
Stimulate effective local working partnerships to ensure that programmes for biodiversity conservation are developed and maintained
Raise awareness of the need and responsibilities for biodiversity conservation and enhancement in the local context
Identify biodiversity resources and priorities in the local area
identify targets for species and habitats important to the local area, including both the rare and the common, according to local circumstances
Ensure that delivery mechanisms for conservation and enhancement of biodiversity resources are promoted and understood at the local level
Provide a local basis for monitoring progress in biodiversity conservation
Biodiversity Action Plan Documents
The Council may make Tree Preservation Orders to protect individual and groups of trees considered important for amenity or for their cultural or historic interest. The consent of the Council is required to undertake any works to trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
Trees in Conservation Areas are also given protection. Any proposed works to a tree or trees in a Conservation Areas require to be notified in advance to the Council’s Planning Service. This is to give the Council the opportunity to consider if it wishes to make the tree(s) the subject of a Tree Preservation Order.
Natural Heritage Officer
Tel: +44 (01595) 744293