Updating the Scottish Fossil Code

NatureScot is seeking views on the updated and refreshed Scottish Fossil Code which is due for relaunch in early 2023. To ensure that the refreshed Code is understandable and caters for all those that have an interest in Scotland’s fossil heritage NatureScot is inviting comments and advice at The Scottish Fossil Code – have your say page. Please note that the closing date for this consultation is Thursday 17th November 2022.

The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 required Scottish Natural Heritage, now known as NatureScot, to prepare the Scottish Fossil Code. The requirement is in recognition of the value and vulnerability of Scotland’s fossil heritage and that legislative measures alone cannot entirely safeguard the fossil heritage.

The Code provides essential information on the nature of Scotland’s fossil heritage and the need for its appropriate management and safeguard. It is aimed at everyone with an interest and involvement in the fossil heritage and outlines the roles and responsibilities of those that own and utilise palaeontological resources. It therefore applies to owners and managers of fossil localities and those that collect, study and curate fossils including palaeontological researchers, amateur collectors and researchers to school students and those with a commercial interest.

The Code recognises fossil collecting as an essential activity providing the raw material and data for the science of palaeontology as well as being an educational and recreational hobby. It therefore provides recommendations concerning the collection of fossil specimens in Scotland, irrespective of where they occur, with the objective of ensuring that collecting is undertaken responsibly in accordance with the law. Just as importantly the Code also provides information, guidance and best practice in the identification, conservation, acquisition, sale, careful storage and donation of specimens. In doing so it aims to ensure that Scotland’s fossil-bearing resources and collections are managed in such a way that they will be useful to future generations.

As well as benefitting Scotland’s fossils, both in collections and that still await discovery, it is hoped that the Scottish Fossil Code will enhance public interest and awareness of Scotland’s fossil heritage.