Use of existing guidance documents
There is a large body of existing EU-derived guidance documents, designed to aid interpretation and effective implementation of the Nature Directives.
This includes guidance from Scottish Ministers, Scottish Natural Heritage, the UK Government (in relation to offshore waters and reserved matters), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the European Commission.
In the longer term, guidance may be updated and/or new guidance may be produced, for example to replace guidance by the European Commission. However, in the shorter term existing guidance continues to apply and should still be used.
Although existing guidance should still be used, users will need to read it differently in places. Some examples include:
- References to the role of the European Commission. These functions have been transferred to appropriate UK authorities or bodies, so users will need to keep this in mind when reading guidance documents.
- The UK is no longer an EU Member State, so in most cases, depending on the context within the guidance, you will need to read references to Member States as though this includes the UK. Where documents refer to other Member States, this now just means EU Member States.
- Where guidance refers to Natura 2000 sites, these sites in the UK are now part of a UK-wide site network. This includes Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated before EU exit, and any designated after EU exit. The terms SAC, SPA and European site are still being used.
A more comprehensive interpretation guide is available in Annex 1.
Links to some commonly used guidance documents are provided in Annex 2. This is not an exhaustive list.