The Scottish Parliament is the devolved unicameral legislature of Scotland. Located in the Holyrood area of the capital city, Edinburgh, it is referred to by the metonym Holyrood; the Parliament is a democratically elected body comprising 129 members known as Members of the Scottish Parliament, elected for four-year terms under the additional member system: 73 MSPs represent individual geographical constituencies elected by the plurality system, while a further 56 are returned from eight additional member regions, each electing seven MSPs. The most recent general election to the Parliament was held on 5 May 2016, with the Scottish National Party winning a plurality; the original Parliament of Scotland was the national legislature of the independent Kingdom of Scotland, existed from the early 13th century until the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. As a consequence, both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England ceased to exist, the Parliament of Great Britain, which sat at Westminster in London was formed.
Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate voted for devolution, the powers of the devolved legislature were specified by the Scotland Act 1998. The Act delineates the legislative competence of the Parliament – the areas in which it can make laws – by explicitly specifying powers that are "reserved" to the Parliament of the United Kingdom; the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate in all areas that are not explicitly reserved to Westminster. The British Parliament retains the ability to amend the terms of reference of the Scottish Parliament, can extend or reduce the areas in which it can make laws; the first meeting of the new Parliament took place on 12 May 1999. The competence of the Scottish Parliament has been amended numerous times since most notably by the Scotland Act 2012 and Scotland Act 2016, with some of the most significant changes being the expansion of the Parliament's powers over taxation and welfare. Before the Treaty of Union 1707 united the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England into a new state called "Great Britain", Scotland had an independent parliament known as the Parliament of Scotland.
Initial Scottish proposals in the negotiation over the Union suggested a devolved Parliament be retained in Scotland, but this was not accepted by the English negotiators. For the next three hundred years, Scotland was directly governed by the Parliament of Great Britain and the subsequent Parliament of the United Kingdom, both seated at Westminster, the lack of a Parliament of Scotland remained an important element in Scottish national identity. Suggestions for a'devolved' Parliament were made before 1914, but were shelved due to the outbreak of the First World War. A sharp rise in nationalism in Scotland during the late 1960s fuelled demands for some form of home rule or complete independence, in 1969 prompted the incumbent Labour government of Harold Wilson to set up the Kilbrandon Commission to consider the British constitution. One of the principal objectives of the commission was to examine ways of enabling more self-government for Scotland, within the unitary state of the United Kingdom.
Kilbrandon published his report in 1973 recommending the establishment of a directly elected Scottish Assembly to legislate for the majority of domestic Scottish affairs. During this time, the discovery of oil in the North Sea and the following "It's Scotland's oil" campaign of the Scottish National Party resulted in rising support for Scottish independence, as well as the SNP; the party argued that the revenues from the oil were not benefitting Scotland as much as they should. The combined effect of these events led to Prime Minister Wilson committing his government to some form of devolved legislature in 1974. However, it was not until 1978 that final legislative proposals for a Scottish Assembly were passed by the United Kingdom Parliament. Under the terms of the Scotland Act 1978, an elected assembly would be set up in Edinburgh provided that a referendum be held on 1 March 1979, with at least 40% of the total electorate voting in favour of the proposal; the 1979 Scottish devolution referendum failed: although the vote was 51.6% in favour of a Scottish Assembly, with a turnout of 63.6%, the majority represented only 32.9% of the eligible voting population.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, demand for a Scottish Parliament grew, in part because the government of the United Kingdom was controlled by the Conservative Party, while Scotland itself elected few Conservative MPs. In the aftermath of the 1979 referendum defeat, the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly was initiated as a pressure group, leading to the 1989 Scottish Constitutional Convention with various organisations such as Scottish churches, political parties and representatives of industry taking part. Publishing its blueprint for devolution in 1995, the Convention provided much of the basis for the structure of the Parliament. Devolution continued to be part of the platform of the Labour Party which, in May 1997, took power under Tony Blair. In September 1997, the Scottish devolution referendum was put to the Scottish electorate and secured a majority in favour of the establishment of a new devolved Scottish Parliament, with tax-varying powers, in Edinburgh. An election was held on 6 May 1999, on 1 July of that year power was transferred from Westminster to the new Parliament.
Since September 2004, the official home of the Scottish Parliament has been a new Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh. The Scottish Parliament building was designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles in partnership with local Ed
Proportional representation characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If n% of the electorate support a particular political party roughly n% of seats will be won by that party; the essence of such systems is that all votes contribute to the result - not just a plurality, or a bare majority. The most prevalent forms of proportional representation all require the use of multiple-member voting districts, as it is not possible to fill a single seat in a proportional manner. In fact, the implementations of PR that achieve the highest levels of proportionality tend to include districts with large numbers of seats; the most used families of PR electoral systems are party list PR, the single transferable vote, mixed member proportional representation. With party list PR, political parties define candidate voters vote for a list; the relative vote for each list determines how many candidates from each list are elected. Lists can be "closed" or "open".
Voting districts can be as large as a province or an entire nation. The single transferable vote uses small multiple-member districts, with voters ranking individual candidates in order of preference. During the count, as candidates are elected or eliminated, surplus or discarded votes that would otherwise be wasted are transferred to other candidates according to the preferences. STV enables voters to elect independent candidates. Mixed member proportional representation called the additional member system, is a two-tier mixed electoral system combining a non-proportional plurality/majoritarian election and a compensatory regional or national party list PR election. Voters have two votes, one for their single-member district and one for the party list, the party list vote determining the balance of the parties in the elected body. According to the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network, some form of proportional representation is used for national lower house elections in 94 countries. Party list PR, being used in 85 countries, is the most used.
MMP is used in seven lower houses. STV, despite long being advocated by political scientists, is used in only two: Ireland, since independence in 1922, Malta, since 1921; as with all electoral systems, both accepted and opposing claims are made about the advantages and disadvantages of PR. The case for proportional representation was made by John Stuart Mill in his 1861 essay Considerations on Representative Government: In a representative body deliberating, the minority must of course be overruled, but does it follow that the minority should have no representatives at all?... Is it necessary that the minority should not be heard? Nothing but habit and old association can reconcile any reasonable being to the needless injustice. In a equal democracy, every or any section would be represented, not disproportionately, but proportionately. A majority of the electors would always have a majority of the representatives, but a minority of the electors would always have a minority of the representatives.
Man for man, they would be as represented as the majority. Unless they are, there is not equal government... There is a part whose fair and equal share of influence in the representation is withheld from them, contrary to all just government, above all, contrary to the principle of democracy, which professes equality as its root and foundation. Many academic political theorists agree with Mill, that in a representative democracy the representatives should represent all segments of society. PR tries to resolve the unfairness of majoritarian and plurality voting systems where the largest parties receive an "unfair" "seat bonus" and smaller parties are disadvantaged and have difficulty winning any representation at all; the established parties in UK elections can win formal control of the parliament with as little as 35% of votes. In certain Canadian elections, majority governments have been formed by parties with the support of under 40% of votes cast. If turnout levels in the electorate are less than 60%, such outcomes allow a party to form a majority government by convincing as few as one quarter of the electorate to vote for it.
In the 2005 UK election, for example, the Labour Party under Tony Blair won a comfortable parliamentary majority with the votes of only 21.6% of the total electorate. Such misrepresentation has been criticized as "no longer a question of'fairness' but of elementary rights of citizens". Note intermediate PR systems with a high electoral threshold, or other features that reduce proportionality, are not much fairer: in the Turkish general election, 2002, using an open list system with a 10% threshold, 46% of votes were wasted. Plurality/majoritarian systems can disproportionately benefit regional parties that can win districts where they have a strong following, while other parties with national support but no strongholds, like the Greens, win few or no seats. An example is the Bloc Québécois in Canada that won 52 seats in the 1993 federal election, all in Quebec, on 13.5% of the national vote, while the Progressive Conservatives collapsed to two seats on 16% spread nationally. In the 2015 UK General Election, the Scottish National Party gained 56 seats, all in Sc
1999 Scottish Parliament election
The first election to the devolved Scottish Parliament, to fill 129 seats, took place on 6 May 1999. Following the election, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats formed the Scottish Executive, with Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament Donald Dewar becoming First Minister; the Scottish Parliament was created after a referendum on devolution took place on 11 September 1997 in which 74.3% of those who voted approved the idea. The Scotland Act was passed by the UK Parliament which established the devolved Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive; the parliament was elected using Mixed member proportional representation, combining 73 constituencies and proportional representation with the 73 constituencies being grouped together to make eight regions each electing seven additional members to make a total of 129. This meant that it would be unlikely for any party to gain a majority of seats in the new parliament and either minority or coalition Scottish Executives would have to be formed.
The first general election to the Scottish Parliament overall produced few surprises with the Labour Party still enjoying high popularity following their landslide victory in the 1997 UK general election as expected was the largest party winning 56 seats in their traditional Central Belt heartlands, nine seats short of an overall majority. Labour formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats; the Scottish National Party had done well in opinion polls running up to the election, gaining 40% in some approval ratings, but this level of support was not maintained. The SNP were the second largest party with 35 seats, which still represented their best performance since the October 1974 UK general election; the Conservative Party, still recovering from their wipeout in the 1997 UK general election across Scotland, failed to win a single constituency seat but did manage to win 18 seats through the Additional Member System. The Scottish Socialist Party and the Greens picked up unexpected additional member seats.
Robin Harper became the first elected Green parliamentarian in the history of the United Kingdom. Dennis Canavan, who had failed to become an approved Labour candidate, won the Falkirk West constituency as an independent candidate. Following the election the new parliament met in the General Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh for the first time on Wednesday 12 May 1999 although the actual devolution of powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament did not take place until midnight on Thursday 1 July 1999 two months later. For a full list of MSPs elected, see Members of the Scottish Parliament, 1999-2003. For lists of constituencies and regions, see Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions. Voter turnout: 59.1% Labour – 56 Members of the Scottish Parliament SNP – 35 MSPs Conservative – 18 MSPs Liberal Democrat – 17 MSPs Scottish Green Party – 1 MSP SSP – 1 MSP Others – 1 MSP Labour – Donald Dewar SNP – Alex Salmond Conservative – David McLetchie Liberal Democrat – Jim Wallace SSP – Tommy Sheridan Scottish Green Party – Robin Harper Executive of the 1st Scottish Parliament Members elected to the 1st Scottish Parliament SourceForge.net
Aberdeen South (UK Parliament constituency)
Aberdeen South is a burgh constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and it elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election. The current MP is Ross Thomson of the Conservative Party; the constituency was first used in the 1885 general election, but has undergone boundary changes since then. There was an Aberdeen South Holyrood constituency, a constituency of the Scottish Parliament, created in 1999 with the boundaries of the Westminster constituency at that time. In 2011 the Scottish Parliament constituency of Aberdeen South was abolished and replaced with the Aberdeen South and North Kincardine constituency; as redefined by the Fifth Review of the Boundary Commission for Scotland, subsequently first used in the 2005 general election, Aberdeen South is within the Aberdeen City council area and one of five constituencies covering that council area and the Aberdeenshire council area. To the south and west of Aberdeen South there is West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, within the Aberdeenshire area.
To the north there is Aberdeen North which, like Aberdeen South is within the Aberdeen City area. Further north there is Gordon, which covers part of the Aberdeen City area and part of the Aberdeenshire area. To the north of Gordon there is Banff and Buchan which, like West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, is within the Aberdeenshire area. From 1832 to 1885 there was a single Aberdeen constituency. Prior to 1832, the burgh of Aberdeen had been represented as a component of the Aberdeen Burghs constituency; when Aberdeen South was created by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 and first used in the 1885 general election, so was Aberdeen North. Aberdeen South consisted of the municipal wards of St Nicholas, Rosemount and Ferryhill, the 9th Parliamentary Polling District; the rest of the county of Aberdeen was covered by the county constituencies of Eastern Aberdeenshire and Western Aberdeenshire. The same boundaries were used in the 1886 general election, the 1892 general election, the 1895 general election, the 1900 general election, the 1906 general election, the January 1910 general election and the December 1910 general election.
In 1918 constituency boundaries were redefined by the Representation of the People Act 1918. By the City of Aberdeen had been created; the new boundaries were first used in the 1918 general election, Aberdeen South consisted of the wards of Ferryhill, Rubislaw, Ruthrieston and St Nicholas. The county of Aberdeen was covered by Aberdeen and Kincardine East, Central Aberdeenshire and Kincardine and West Aberdeenshire. East Aberdeenshire and West Aberdeenshire were within the county of Aberdeen. Kincardine and West Aberdeenshire covered the county of Kincardine and part of the county of Aberdeen; the same boundaries were used in the 1923, 1924, 1929, 1931, 1935 and 1945 general elections. For the 1950 general election boundaries were redefined again, by the House of Commons Act 1949. A new list of wards defined Aberdeen South – Ferryhill, Rosemount, Rubislaw and Torry – but the City of Aberdeen remained a two-constituency city, divided between Aberdeen South and Aberdeen North, with both constituencies within the city.
The county of Aberdeen was now again divided between East Aberdeenshire and West Aberdeenshire, with both of these constituencies within the county. The same boundaries were used for the 1951 general election. By the time of the 1955 general election, a boundary review had taken account of a small enlargement of the city area. However, the same list of wards – Ferryhill, Rosemount, Rubislaw and Torry – continued to define Aberdeen South, the same boundaries were used for the 1959 general election, the 1964 general election, the 1966 general election, the 1970 general election, the February 1974 general election and the October 1974 general election. In 1975, throughout Scotland, under the Local Government Act 1973, counties were abolished, the City of Aberdeen was enlarged to include areas within the county of Aberdeen and the county of Kincardine; the city became a district within the Grampian region. The enlarged city included areas covered by the constituencies of West Aberdeenshire and North Angus and Mearns.
North Angus and Mearns had been created in 1950 to cover the county of Kincardine and part of the county of Angus. The 1979 general election was held before a review of constituency boundaries took account of new local government boundaries. For the 1983 election, the electoral wards used to create this seat were Rosemount, Rubislaw, St Clements, St Nicholas, Holburn, Torry, Nigg; the 1983 general election, the 1987 general election and the 1992 general election took place during this period. At the 1992 General Election the constituency was the only seat which Labour had won at the 1987 election to be gained by the Conservatives. In 1996, under the Local Government etc Act 1994, local government regions and districts were abolished and the city became one of 32 unitary council areas of Scotland; the name of the city became Aberdeen City. As redefined for the 1997 general election Aberdeen South was one of three constituencies covering and within the Aberdeen City area, the other two being Aberdeen North and Aberdeen Central.
Aberdeen South shared boundaries with both of the other two constituencies. The same boundaries were used for the 2001 general election
Queen's Cross is an area in the West End of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is located just west of the main thoroughfare of Union Street and about 1.5 miles from the geographical town centre at Mercat Cross. Queen's Cross itself is the intersection of Fountainhall Road, Queen's Road, St Swithin Street, Albyn Place and Carden Place, where there is a roundabout with Queen Victoria's bronze statue in the middle; the statue of Queen Victoria at Queen's Cross, marks the beginning of Aberdeen's West End. The statue itself was located on St Nicolas Street, was moved to its present location in 1964; the statue replaced an Alexander Brodie marble statue of 1866. It was erected by the Royal Tradesmen of the city to commemorate Her Majesty's Jubilee; the statue was to have been marble, sculpted by Pittendreigh Macgillivray, ARSA, however this plan was not executed. Granite was the next possibility, but the statue was considered too small and delicate for this material. A bronze was ordered from C. B. Birch, ARA, who had produced a marble statue of Queen Victoria for the Maharajah of Oodypore.
The statue faces west, looking up Queen's Road towards the Queen's summer residence. There are two Church of Scotland churches at the intersection; the surrounding buildings and their streets are typical of the Victorian period in which they were built. They are built of the local gray granite; the Queen's Cross area Queen's Road and Albyn Place, is home to the offices of many finance businesses who have moved into the old Victorian mansion houses. There are a number of exclusive restaurants and bars in the area; this area is considered by many in the local area as the centre point of the West End of Aberdeen
Aberdeen is a city in northeast Scotland. It is Scotland's third most populous city, one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas and the United Kingdom's 37th most populous built-up area, with an official population estimate of 196,670 for the city of Aberdeen and 228,800 for the local council area. During the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries, Aberdeen's buildings incorporated locally quarried grey granite, which can sparkle like silver because of its high mica content. Since the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s, Aberdeen has been known as the off-shore oil capital of Europe; the area around Aberdeen has been settled since at least 8,000 years ago, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don. The city has a long, sandy coastline and a marine climate, the latter resulting in chilly summers and mild winters. Aberdeen received Royal burgh status from David I of Scotland; the city's two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, Robert Gordon University, awarded university status in 1992, make Aberdeen the educational centre of the north-east of Scotland.
The traditional industries of fishing, paper-making and textiles have been overtaken by the oil industry and Aberdeen's seaport. Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland. Aberdeen hosts the Aberdeen International Youth Festival, a major international event which attracts up to 1000 of the most talented young performing arts companies. In 2015, Mercer named Aberdeen the 57th most liveable city in the world, as well as the fourth most liveable city in Britain. In 2012, HSBC named Aberdeen as a leading business hub and one of eight'super cities' spearheading the UK's economy, marking it as the only city in Scotland to receive this accolade. In 2018, Aberdeen was found to be the best city in the UK to start a business in a study released by card payment firm Paymentsense; the Aberdeen area has seen human settlement for at least 8,000 years. The city began as two separate burghs: Old Aberdeen at the mouth of the river Don.
The earliest charter was granted by William the Lion in 1179 and confirmed the corporate rights granted by David I. In 1319, the Great Charter of Robert the Bruce transformed Aberdeen into a property-owning and financially independent community. Granted with it was the nearby Forest of Stocket, whose income formed the basis for the city's Common Good Fund which still benefits Aberdonians. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Aberdeen was under English rule, so Robert the Bruce laid siege to Aberdeen Castle before destroying it in 1308, followed by the massacring of the English garrison; the city was rebuilt and extended. The city was fortified to prevent attacks by neighbouring lords, but the gates were removed by 1770. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of 1644 to 1647 the city was plundered by both sides. In 1644, it was taken and ransacked by Royalist troops after the Battle of Aberdeen and two years it was stormed by a Royalist force under the command of the Marquis of Huntly. In 1647 an outbreak of bubonic plague killed a quarter of the population.
In the 18th century, a new Town Hall was built and the first social services appeared with the Infirmary at Woolmanhill in 1742 and the Lunatic Asylum in 1779. The council began major road improvements at the end of the 18th century with the main thoroughfares of George Street, King Street and Union Street all completed at the beginning of the 19th century; the expensive infrastructure works led to the city becoming bankrupt in 1817 during the Post-Napoleonic depression, an economic downturn after the Napoleonic Wars. The increasing economic importance of Aberdeen and the development of the shipbuilding and fishing industries led to the construction of the present harbour including Victoria Dock and the South Breakwater, the extension of the North Pier. Gas street lighting arrived in 1824 and an enhanced water supply appeared in 1830 when water was pumped from the Dee to a reservoir in Union Place. An underground sewer system replaced open sewers in 1865; the city was incorporated in 1891. Although Old Aberdeen has a separate history and still holds its ancient charter, it is no longer independent.
It is an integral part of the city, as is Woodside and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the south of the River Dee. During the Second World War Aberdeen was bombed quite badly on the 21 April 1943 when around 20 Luftwaffe bombers circled around Aberdeen; because there were no planes at RAF leuchars they were all fighting in the Battle of Britain this meant that the bombers would fly back and forth around Aberdeen. 98 people died on that night and 20,000 homes were destroyed during the bombing which caused severe damage to many different homes around the city. Aberdeen became Gaelic-speaking at some time in the medieval period. Old Aberdeen is the approximate location of the first settlement of Aberdeen; the Celtic word aber means "river mouth", as in modern Welsh. The Scottish Gaelic name is Obar Dheathain, in Latin, the Romans referred to the river as Devana. Mediaeval Latin has it as Aberdonia. Aberdeen is locally governed by Aber
River Dee, Aberdeenshire
The River Dee is a river in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It rises in the Cairngorms and flows through southern Aberdeenshire to reach the North Sea at Aberdeen; the area it passes through is known as Deeside, or Royal Deeside in the region between Braemar and Banchory because Queen Victoria came to love the place and built Balmoral Castle there. Deeside is a popular area for tourists, due to the combination of scenic beauty and historic and royal associations; the scenic beauty of Deeside is recognised by its inclusion in the Cairngorms National Park and the Deeside and Lochnagar National Scenic Area. The Dee is popular with anglers, is one of the most famous salmon fishing rivers in the world; the New Statistical Account of Scotland attributed the name Dee as having been used as early as the second century AD in the work of the Alexandrian geographer Claudius Ptolemy, as Δηοῦα, meaning'Goddess', indicating a divine status for the river in the beliefs of the ancient inhabitants of the area. There are several other rivers of the same name in Great Britain, these are believed to have similar derivations, as may the Dee's near neighbour to the north, the River Don.
The River Dee rises from a spring on the Braeriach plateau in the Cairngorm Mountains at a height of at about 1,220 m, the highest source of any major river in the British Isles. Emerging in a number of pools called the Wells of Dee the young Dee flows across the plateau to the cliff edge from where the Falls of Dee plunge into An Garbh Choire; the river is joined by a tributary coming from the Pools of Dee in the Lairig Ghru, flows south down the Lairig Ghru between Ben Macdui and Cairn Toul, tumbling over falls in the Chest of Dee on its way to White Bridge and the confluence with the Geldie Burn, at which point it turns east. At Linn of Dee the river passes east through a 300 metre natural rock gorge, a spot much favoured by Queen Victoria during her stays at Balmoral; the queen opened the bridge that spans the Dee at this point in 1857. Between Linn of Dee and Braemar the Lui Water and the Quoich Water join the growing River Dee; the River Clunie enters the Dee at Braemar. Through Deeside the river passes Braemar, Balmoral Castle, Dinnet and Banchory to reach the sea at Aberdeen.
Near Ballater two rivers are tributaries: the River Gairn flowing from the north and the River Muick, flowing out of Loch Muick, from the south. The river remains within the Cairngorms National Park. Water of Tanar flows through Glen Tanar before joining at Aboyne; the Falls of Feugh has its confluence with the Dee at Banchory and Coy Burn enters at Milton of Crathes. The tidal limit is just above Bridge of Dee, built about 1720, which carries the main A90 trunk road from Aberdeen to the south. Before reaching the North Sea, the river passes through Aberdeen Harbour, the principal marine centre for the energy industry in Europe, servicing the offshore oil and gas industry. An artificial channel was constructed in 1872 to straighten the river's flow into the sea. Footdee is an old fishing village at the east end of Aberdeen Harbour; the Dee is important for nature conservation and the area has many designated sites. The upper catchment down to Inverey is within the Mar Lodge Estate, owned by the National Trust for Scotland and has been classified as a National Nature Reserve since May 2017.
The Cairngorms National Park, established in 2003 covers the whole of the catchment of the Dee, including tributaries, down to as far as Dinnet. As well being included as part of the Cairngorms National Park the Deeside area, along with the mountains surrounding Lochnagar as far south as the head of Glen Doll, are together classified as the Deeside and Lochnagar National Scenic Area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland; the designated national scenic area covers 39,787 ha, extending from the Geldie down to Ballater. The entire length of the Dee is defined as a Special Area of Conservation due to its importance for salmon and Freshwater pearl mussels. Other SACs within the Deeside area include Glen Tanar, the Muir of Dinnet and the Morrone Birkwood; the southern side of Deeside is classified as a Special Protection Area, due to the area's importance for golden eagles. Much of the semi-natural Caledonian pine forest in Scotland is within the Dee catchment; the area contains nationally rare examples of pine woods, birch woods and heather moors with associated wildlife.
On the valley floor there are deciduous alder and mixed broadleaved woods, meadow grasslands. The Dee is a popular salmon river, intersected by sharp rapids. In 1995 it was estimated that salmon fishing on the river contributed between £5 and £6 million a year to the Grampian Region economy; the A93 road runs west along the north bank of the river from Aberdeen to Braemar before it turns south, leaving Deeside, to climb to the Glenshee Ski Centre at Cairnwell Pass and onwards to Perth. Just west of Ballater the A939 Lecht Road leaves the A93 to take a tortuous climb towards the Lecht Ski Centre on to Tomintoul and Nairn. Beyond Braemar a narrow road continues along the south side of the Dee as far as Linn of Dee, at which point it doubles back to terminate at Linn of Quioch on the north bank of the Dee. There are no paved roads into the Cairngorms beyond Linn of Dee, although two walking routes, the Lairig Ghru and the Lairig an Laoigh, continue via passes in the mountains to reach Speyside.
Until 1966 the Deeside Railway ran from Aberdeen to Ballater, operated by the Great North of Scotland Railway. The line opened from Aberdeen to Banchory in 1853, was extended to Aboyne in 1859, with a further extension to Ballater opening in 1866; the lin