This indicator measures the proportion of natural features on protected nature sites which are in satisfactory condition; or are recovering, with the necessary management measures in place.
Source of Data:
Data is collected by NatureScot (previously known as Scottish Natural Heritage) staff and independent consultants under contract to NatureScot. NatureScot publish the figures as Official Statistics.
Feature condition data for individual sites can be accessed through: https://sitelink.nature.scot/home
The Official Statistic will be published on: https://www.nature.scot/information-hub/official-statistics/official-statistics-protected-sites.Â
Data will be published annually in May (June in 2022).
The indicator will be measured using the results from the Scottish element of the UK-wide Common Standards Monitoring programme, known as Site Condition Monitoring (SCM) in Scotland.
How regularly features are monitored depends on their sensitivity, vulnerability and local risk factors. For example we may assess features:
as often as every 6 years - e.g. lowland heath
as little as every 24 years - e.g. an earth science feature
Site Condition Monitoring is carried out using agreed UK-wide standards which are published in JNCC's (Joint Nature Conservation Committee) Common Standards Monitoring Guidance http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-2201.
Up to date results of Site Condition Monitoring can also be found at:
As in 2020/21, site visits to assess features were limited in the year 2021/22 due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and staff absences with the result that there were limited new field visits. Almost a third were the completion of assessment reports from previous years.
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are identified as "special" for plants, animals or habitats, rocks, landforms or a combination of these features. NatureScot selects sites after detailed survey and evaluation against scientific criteria.
Natura 2000 is an EU-wide network made up of sites designated under the EC Birds and Habitats Directives. Sites designated under the Birds Directive are termed Special Protection Areas (SPAs). Sites designated under the Habitats Directive are termed Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).
Ramsar sites are classified under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
Designated natural features mean the habitats, plant or animal species or geological or other features of the land for which the site was designated.
The assessment of favourable condition will be made using guidelines produced by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) drawing on the work of the national conservation agencies.
Favourable condition means that the features for which SSSIs or Natura sites are designated are in satisfactory condition; or are recovering, with the necessary management measures in place, such that NatureScot predicts, using expert judgement, that the land will in due course reach favourable condition.
Criteria for Change
This evaluation is based on: any difference in the percentage within +/- 1 percentage point of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 1 percentage point or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 1 percentage point or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.