This, the concluding paper of the Symposium, reviews the main issues in the Outer Hebrides concerning the interaction between the constituent parts of the environment and man's use of them, seeking to identify the existing impacts on the natural environment and speculating upon the character of possible future impacts. It aims to demonstrate how the findings of the environmental sciences, as exemplified by the information in the symposium papers, are relevant to the understanding and resolution of these issues and to identify important gaps in knowledge.
The relationship between land use planning and development control is discussed, particularly as it is reflected in the present system of Regional Reports, Structure Plans, Local Plans and the recently published National Planning Guidelines, and as it affects options for influencing future use of environmental resources in the Outer Hebrides.
Developments need management and, in some cases, monitoring. Both these activities require a contribution from the environmental sciences through an effective institutional framework.
The closing discussion examines some of the more general social issues, relating to the potential conflict between utilization of the environmental resource and conservation of the natural environment, which characterize isolated rural areas.