§ Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many sites of special scientific interest are currently designated in Scotland; what means exist to monitor loss and damage to sites of special scientific interest in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
A total of 1,342 sites of special scientific interest have been notified in Scotland. Site monitoring, using standard recording techniques, is undertaken by local staff of the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland. Site visits are the usual method, but other techniques such as overflying or comparative air photography may also be used when appropriate. In addition sites may be the subject of specific monitoring projects; examples include research into the effects of skiing, overgrazing on moorland and the acidification of lochs.