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Countryside and Landscape in Scotland - European Landscape Convention

The European Landscape Convention's aims are to promote protection, management and planning of all landscapes, including natural, managed, urban and peri-urban areas, and special, everyday and also degraded landscape. It aims to organise European co-operation on landscape issues.

On November 21, 2006 the UK government announced that it had ratified the Council of Europe's European Landscape Convention (ELC)

The Convention is not an European Union (EU) Directive. Countries that sign and ratify the Convention make a commitment to upholding the principles it contains within the context of their own domestic legal and policy frameworks. But the Council of Europe has no legal powers over its members and its conventions depend for their effectiveness on active use by signatories and consensus-based decision making processes. The Convention includes a clause allowing any country that has ratified it to withdraw without penalty.

The Scottish Government is satisfied that existing legislation and administrative systems for land use planning and environmental management provide appropriate means for meeting the obligations and objectives set out in the ELC. However the Convention provides an important opportunity to take stock of current landscape practice and effort, and identify where this needs to be improved.

The measures which are in place in Scotland's land-use planning system are not specific to the implementation of the Convention, but constitute current practice on landscape and the natural heritage. Nevertheless, they help fulfil the requirements of Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention together with provision within Scotland's educational system for landscape training. Work which the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Historic Scotland have undertaken address the Convention requirements on the cultural and historic aspects of landscape as well as its protection and management.