Internationally important dunelands in Sutherland threatened by exclusive golf course plans
A coalition of Scotland’s leading conservation charities is asking the public to support their objections to The Highland Council on the proposed destruction of Coul Links – an irreplaceable piece of Scotland’s natural heritage.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB Scotland, Buglife Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland and the Marine Conservation Society are campaigning against an application to construct a golf course that has been submitted to Highland Council on behalf of Mike Keiser, a billionaire American investor who has been described as ‘Donald Trump’s biggest rival in the golf business’.
Coul Links hosts a dune ecosystem of national and international importance and is protected by multiple conservation designations. It is home to a wide range of plants, birds, insects and other animals. Many of these species, such as curlew, whinchat, and Fonseca’s seed fly – which is unique to this part of Sutherland, are rare or in severe decline elsewhere in the UK, and are unlikely to remain following damage to the dune environment.
Davie Black of Plantlife said: “The proposed destruction of Coul Links, one of Scotland’s last remaining coastal dune systems, would be a disaster and must be wholeheartedly opposed by all those who care about nature and heritage.
“Coastal dune systems are threatened ecosystems across the UK and no more must be bulldozed to make way for sterilised fairways; already too many irreplaceable Scottish habitats have been carved up to make way for golf courses.
“The fragmentation of the dune environment which would occur if development is permitted would further imperil rare plants such as sea centuary, purple milk-vetch, moonwort and frog orchid and the insects and other animals and birds that they support. It is essential for nature that Coul Links remains undisturbed.”
Jonathan Hughes, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and a former local resident said: “We would urge anyone who is concerned about the fate of Scotland’s wildlife and natural landscapes to make their voices heard by writing to The Highland Council.
“Coul Links is a truly exceptional stretch of wild, unspoiled coast, valued for its natural beauty by locals and visitors alike. It seems extraordinary that this internationally important dune system is under threat from yet another golf course proposal and it’s vital we protect it for future generations to enjoy. ”
“Almost a decade after the approval of the environmentally damaging Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, it is unthinkable that we could lose yet another irreplaceable duneland to a development which is clearly not needed.”
Help save Coul Links
To make your views known, visit the Highland Council website, search for 17/04601/FUL, and follow the instructions in order to make a comment.