Independent Expert Review of the Scientific Case for the Proposal to Designate the Sound of Barra as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Scottish Ministers approved the scientific case for a public consultation in August 2011. Following receipt of the consultation report and final advice from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in October 2012 this report was commissioned. The aim was to provi


  • The evidence presented by SNH is of sufficient quality and quantity to provide scientifically robust support for the site recommendation.
  • The reviewers are satisfied that SNH have collected data of sufficient quantity and quality to demonstrate that the site contains a significant extent of Annex 1 habitat and Annex 2 species harbour seal.
  • The reviewers concluded that SNH had used the evidence appropriately in setting the site boundary.
  • The reviewers were able to easily access all data upon request and are pleased to note that further effort is being put into formatting the video archives to further increase accessibility.
  • The reviewers provided some recommendations which although not affecting the site selection itself would increase the clarity and usefulness of the Site Selection Document. These are provided below for information and SNH have agreed to amend the document accordingly.
    • There should be a simple statement added to clarify the role of modelled data in estimating the UK proportion of Annex 1 habitat and area of habitat type on site compared to other sites. The use of modelled data is standard practice and is supported in documents such as the UK Guidance on Defining Boundaries for Marine SACs for Annex 1 Habitat Sites.
    • All statements concerning evidence need to be backed up. It is not sufficient to simply state that "it is not considered that" without explaining whether there is evidence underpinning this assumption.


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