Natural heritage

Aberdeen City’s natural heritage is diverse.

It provides us with the natural resources we depend on such as for food, energy and tourism. It also benefits our health and wellbeing; our overall quality of life. We, therefore, need to conserve our natural heritage so that we can continue to enjoy it and benefit from it.

The Council's current Nature Conservation Strategy has been updated to reflect the increased recognition of the need to conserve nature, plus, changes in local policies and nature conservation legislation. It has also been updated to consider current pressures and challenges such as the increasing need for land for housing and businesses, plus the effects of climate change.

The updated strategy has been developed for the use of the Council in delivering all its functions. It has been developed for the Council to help conserve our natural heritage for the benefit of biodiversity, the citizens of Aberdeen and visitors to the City. It also enables the Council to encourage opportunities for the public to get involved in helping to conserve nature in their own gardens and communities.

Sustainable development is at the heart of the strategy. This means that as well as the natural environment, social and economic aspects have been considered during its development. The strategy aims to balance nature conservation with competing demands. Overall, the aim is to conserve our natural heritage for our current and future generations.

You can download the strategy and other documents in the related documents section at the bottom of this page.

Designated sites in Aberdeen City

There are 4 different types of designated sites for natural heritage in the City of Aberdeen. These are Special Area of Conservation, Site of Special Scientific Interest, Local Nature Reserve and Local Nature Conservation Site.

Special Area of Conservation

This is a statutory designation as per the EC Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). Member states are required to introduce robust protection for habitats and species of European importance. This includes a national list of sites for evaluation to form a European Network of Sites of Community Importance, which are designated by member states as Special Areas of Conservation(SAC). The River Dee is the only SAC in the City of Aberdeen as it supports internationally important freshwater pearl mussel, Atlantic salmon and otter.

Site of Special Scientific Interest

These designations are statutory as per the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. There are 4 SSSIs in the City of Aberdeen to be found at Nigg Bay (geological interest), Cove Bay (geological and biodiversity interest), Scotstown Moor (biodiversity interest) and Corby Loch (biodiversity interest).

Local Nature Reserve

A statutory designation declared by Local Authorities as per the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. With assistance from Scottish Natural Heritage, designation is awarded for the protection of sites of local importance for nature conservation, education and amenity. Managing Rules or bye-laws set up by Local Authorities can be used to control damaging activities. The 4 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are found at Den of Maidencraig, Donmouth, Scotstown Moor and Kincorth Hill.

Local Nature Conservation Site

This is a non-statutory local designation identified by Local Authorities as per the Scottish Government's Scottish Planning  Policy. Protection is afforded through the Council's Local Development Plan. These sites are of local importance for nature conservation and there are 45 of them within the City of Aberdeen. These can be viewed individually on the Local Nature Conservation Site Maps page. 

A booklet providing further details on each of these sites can be viewed here. Please note this is a large file and may take some time to open.

All designations can be viewed using the In My Area feature of our GIS Mapping service.

Contact details

Strategic Place Planning
Business Hub 4
Ground Floor North
Marischal College
AB10 1AB

Did you find what you were looking for?

Status message

Please note, this form is anonymous, we can't reply directly to your feedback. If you would like to report an issue, make a complaint or suggestion, please Contact Us.