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Nature sites (SSSIs and Natura sites), Scheduled Monuments and archaelogical/historic interests

 Rural Priorities operations affecting an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest):

  • Since January 2012 you do not need to seek SNH consent to carry out any ORCs (Operations requiring Consent) on an SSSI, if the operations will take place under a Rural Priorities contract. However, when applying to Rural Priorities, your Outcome Plan should still note any SSSIs which will be affected. Your Case Officer will consult with SNH about the likely effect on the natural features of the SSSIs. If the Proposal is likely to damage any features then you will be asked to make amendments before committing it. If you do not make adequate changes then your Proposal may be rejected.  
  • If you already have consents from SNH for operations on your SSSI land and you then enter a Rural Priorities contract for the same land, it is possible that the consented operations could differ from the management required under the contract (e.g. different stocking levels). In that case, the contract requirements would take precedence over the consents, though only for the duration of the contract.     
  • If you are considering a Rural Priorities application which could affect an SSSI, it is advisable to discuss your plans in advance with SNH

Rural Priorities operations affecting a Natura site*:

If your Proposal involves work on a Natura site, or work adjacent to a Natura site and likely to affect it, then the potential impact on the Natura interests must be taken into account. Your Case Officer will consult with SNH, and any other relevant statutory bodies, when your Proposal is submitted. If the Proposal is likely to adversely affect the integrity of the site then you will be asked to amend it before committing your Proposal. If you do not make adequate changes then your Proposal will be rejected. Again, it is advisable to contact SNH in advance of an application likely to affect a Natura site.

 *Natura sites are SPAs (Special Protection Area) and SACs (Special Area of Conservation):

Scheduled monuments and other archaeological and historic interests

Scheduled monuments are protected by law. If you plan to carry out any works on or near a scheduled monument, you must obtain Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC). Contact Historic Scotland for advice. Not all options under Rural Priorities are suitable for scheduled monuments, so it is important that you contact Historic Scotland for advice at an early stage of your Rural Priorities planning. Applications to Historic Scotland for SMC are normally dealt with within nine weeks.


You can get advice and SMC from:

Historic Scotland
Longmore House
Salisbury Place
Telephone: 0131 668 8777
Telephone: 0131 668 8770 (Scheduled Monuments)
Telephone: 0131 668 8940 (Inventory Sites)
Telephone: 0131 668 8981/8717 (Listed Buildings)
e-mail: hs.inspectorate@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
website: www.historic-scotland.gov.uk

If you are carrying out any agri-environment Options, you may be penalised if inspections show that you have knowingly damaged or destroyed features of historic or archaeological interest on any part of your land. It is therefore important that you are aware of the location, nature and extent of any such features recorded on your land. It is advisable to mark these clearly and accurately on any farm plans, particularly on any information that you provide to a contractor or other third party working on the land. This is particularly important if you are planning a change in land use.

There are a number of sources that can help you to identify historic or archaeological features on your land:

  • Your local authority archaeological officer may be able to provide advice on the management and protection of unscheduled archaeological sites. However, not all local authority areas offer advisory services in relation to the SRDP. If you had an archaeological audit of your land for a previous agri-environment scheme, you can refer to this.
  • You can consult Pastmap. Pastmap is a free online resource. It will provide the location and full extent of a scheduled monument and Inventory garden and designed landscape, and a central point for a listed building and its curtilage. It will also provide an approximate or central point for recorded unscheduled sites. The written descriptions of unscheduled sites in the National Monuments Record and Scottish Sites and Monuments Record data will help you to define on the ground the minimum extent of visible remains.

Sources of further information, if needed

  • http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/gardens is a source of additional information about Inventory gardens and designed landscapes. Paper copies of the Inventory can be obtained from Historic Scotland (contact 0131 668 8940).
  • Local Authorities are your initial contact point for advice on listed buildings, including Listed Building Consent.
  • Historic Scotland can provide advice on scheduled monuments, including Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC), and Inventory gardens and designed landscapes. Contact details as above.