Proposed Local Nature Reserve Declaration for Wester Craiglockhart Hill including Greenbank Community Woodland

Closes 12 Mar 2021

Opened 18 Feb 2021

Overview

The City of Edinburgh Council intends to declare Wester Craiglockhart Hill including Greenbank Community Woodland (WCH) as a Local Nature Reserve.

The Council’s legislative power to declare Local Nature Reserves is outlined below.  A Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is an area of land declared under Section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, by a local authority, for its special nature interest and/or educational value.

The final stages of the declaration process will take place during February/March 2021 and a notice of any declaration will be published.

Local Nature Reserves

Local Nature Reserves (LNR) are areas of locally important natural heritage, designated and managed by local authorities to give people better opportunities to learn about and enjoy nature close to where they live and are generally close to towns and cities. Local authorities select and designate (declare) local nature reserves using their powers under section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (as amended).

Once declared, Local authorities are responsible for the management of local nature reserves. They may also have representatives of the local community and particular user/ interest groups represented in their formal site management meetings.

Part of what makes a local nature reserve distinctive may be its habitat and landform alongside its cultural attributes. This may be particularly true where the land has historically been used for a range of industrial or agricultural purposes. In these situations, LNR status may offer the benefit of safeguarding and enhancing the cultural as well as the natural features.    

Levels of protection

An LNR is a statutory designation while a Country Park in a non-statutory designation. The level of protection afforded to sites such as WCH is primarily determined by local planning policy relating to open space provision. Neither designation can necessarily be considered to offer a greater level of protection.

The City of Edinburgh Council has established Management Rules under the Civic Government Scotland Act (1982) for its parks, gardens and open spaces. These Management Rules apply to WCH and help regulate inappropriate behaviour. 

Appropriate designation for Wester Craiglockhart Hill and Greenbank Community Woodland

A Country Park is primarily designated in order to provide recreational facilities within countryside sites close to urban populations. Recreational use and enjoyment of WCH is establishing and Country Park designation would be least appropriate given its semi-urban setting.

WCH is a site where recreation, active travel and enjoyment of nature takes place within a valuable habitat for wildlife and a landscape reflecting important historical land use, protection of greenspace and views towards Firth of Forth, the Pentlands, Easter Craiglockhart Hill and Edinburgh as a whole, a mosaic of habitats of great value to species recorded on the site and cultural heritage features. The existing Management Plan reflects the need to manage all of these valuable elements.

In conclusion, it is suggested that a Local Nature Reserve declaration for WCH is the most appropriate mechanism for further highlighting and promoting the sensitivity and value of the site.

More Information

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Why we are consulting

We would like to hear you views on the proposed LNR designation and would welcome your comments. The feedback will be provided to the WCH Management Group, partners and Nature.Scot to demonstrate support or objection and/or provide fuller views on the designation proposal.

Areas

  • All Edinburgh

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Parks and green spaces