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(1)Scottish Natural Heritage (“SNH”) must, where it considers that any land is of special interest by reason of any of its natural features, notify that fact to the persons mentioned in section 48(2) (“the interested parties”).
(2)References in this Act to a “natural feature” of land are references to any of its flora or fauna or geological or geomorphological features.
(3)In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether any land is of special interest SNH must have regard to—
(a)the extent to which giving notification under that subsection in relation to the land would contribute towards the development of a series of sites of special scientific interest in Scotland representative of the diversity and geographic range of—
(i)Scotland’s natural features,
(ii)the natural features of Great Britain,
(iii)the natural features of the member States, and
(b)any guidance issued or approved under subsection (1) of section 54 so far as containing information of the description referred to in subsection (2)(a) of that section.
(4)A notification under subsection (1) must be accompanied by—
(a)a document which—
(i)describes the land to which the notification relates,
(ii)specifies the natural feature by reason of which SNH considers the land to be of special interest,
(iii)specifies acts or omissions which appear to SNH to be likely to damage that natural feature, and
(iv)contains such other information as SNH thinks fit, and
(b)a map on which the land is delineated.
(5)The notification, document and map referred to in subsection (4) are in this Act together referred to, in relation to the land in question, as the “SSSI notification”.
(6)An SSSI notification has effect from the date on which it is given; and the land in question is, until the notification ceases to have effect, to be known as a “site of special scientific interest”.
(7)Each act or omission specified in an SSSI notification by virtue of subsection (4)(a)(iii) is, in relation to the site of special scientific interest, in this Act referred to as an “operation requiring consent”.
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Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills
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