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:

The Official Statistic will be published on:

Data will be published annually in May.

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.

The Site Condition Monitoring assessments are carried out for medium or high risk features on a ten year cycle.  Risk depends on feature type, known threats and current assessed condition.  All other features will have some form of a review in each cycle, but only the full assessments form part of this Official Statistic.

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

Up to date results of Site Condition Monitoring can also be found at:

Monitoring of bird features has been impacted by avian influenza in 2022 and 2023. Its impact is yet to be determined and a number of planned surveys have been cancelled.


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.

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