'More needs to be done' to protect Scotland’s natural features, warns SNH

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 13 May 2019 in News

Survey of more than 5,000 features on protected nature sites found that 78.9 per cent were assessed to be in a favourable or improving condition in 2019

Image credit: Lino Mirgeler/DPA/PA Images

“More needs to be done” to protect Scotland’s natural features, according to Scottish Natural Heritage, after new figures revealed a fall in the number of sites found to be in a favourable or recovering condition.

The survey of more than 5,000 features on protected nature sites found that 78.9 per cent were assessed to be in a favourable or improving condition in 2019.

But although the proportion of sites in a good condition was up 2.9 percentage points from 2007, it fell by 0.8 percentage points compared to the 2018 survey.

SNH found 65.5 per cent of features were in favourable condition, with a further 13.4 per cent found to be recovering.

Over the year, the condition of 47 natural features improved to favourable or recovering condition, while 76 deteriorated to unfavourable condition.

The report found that invasive species remain the single biggest reason for features being in unfavourable condition, representing 21 per cent of all negative pressures, followed by overgrazing, at 17.6 per cent.

But SNH said that, because of the influence of outside factors such as climate change, many of those in unfavourable condition have no on-site remedy.

Sally Thomas, SNH director of people and nature, said: “It’s encouraging to see that the majority of natural features in Scotland are either in good condition or on the road to recovery.

“However, these findings also clearly illustrate the challenges that nature faces and we know that more needs to be done.

“That’s why we are working closely with partners, farmers and landowners to help them to manage sites in a way that tackles invasive species and overgrazing on protected areas and ensures that our natural heritage is safeguarded for future generations.”

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