Development Proposals


Today, the ways of using the land are continually changing. Nevertheless, much of the landscape still holds evidence of past land uses. Indeed, there are very few parts of the country that have not been affected by human activity over the past 6,000 years. HLAmap shows where there is visible evidence for areas of previous land use surviving on the ground. Rather than dots on a map, HLA (historic land use assessment) throws light on the mosaic that is Scotland’s landscape.

HLAmap is therefore an invaluable tool in preparing large scale development proposals. It provides information on land uses, including those that are likely to prove sensitive to developments, such as later prehistoric settlement and agriculture (round houses and field systems) or medieval/post-medieval summer shieling grounds. Land uses like these are relatively uncommon and yet their presence in an area is readily visible using HLAmap. This is significant because much of the country hasn't yet been recorded by archaeological field survey, so this resource gives an immediate insight that is not so readily accessible elsewhere.

Using HLA data

This case study provides easy to follow guidance on how to use HLAmap for gathering one strand of relevant information to inform the pre-application stages of the planning process. It focuses on a windfarm proposal but could just as easily be for a housing development, landfill site or industrial estate. The applicability is clear:

  • HLAmap gives an immediate view of the magnitude of areas of past land use.
  • It can be overlain with datasets for designated archaeological and historic areas.
  • Although HLAmap cannot indicate significance or individual site point-distributions it does provide very useful mapped, area-based data that will be relevant to initial proposals.
HLAmap is an impressive resource for those involved in land use change. Used along-side local authorities’ Historic Environment Records, there is now extensive data available for pre-scoping and the EIA stage of the planning process.

Open and download the pdf for the full Case Study