Proposals to build a golf course on one of Scotland’s last remaining coastal dune habitats have been dealt a major blow from an objection lodged by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
The plans to turn the internationally protected sand dunes near Dornoch into a luxury golf course now face a major hurdle due to the statutory nature conservation body’s strong objection to the plans.
SNH has warned that the proposed development:
- causes the permanent loss of more than 16 hectares of the sand dunes
- raises natural heritage issues of national importance
- could cause significant impacts to a nationally and internationally designated wildlife site
The proposal has been strongly opposed by a number of conservation organisations due to its location within a globally important wildlife site which supports many rare plants and insects and over 20,000 wintering birds.
The alliance of conservation organisations made up of Buglife, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Marine Conservation Society, Plantlife, RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust has already submitted a joint objection due to significant environmental damage that could be inflicted if the plans were approved.
The organisations welcome the strong objection made by the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas, the world’s premier network of protected area expertise with 2,000 members from over 140 countries.
They also welcome the responses from Ramblers Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland, who have recently voiced objections to the proposals.
Nearly 700 objections from both members of the public and organisations have been submitted to Highland Council so far.
Jonny Hughes, Chief Executive, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “As a former local ranger I know first-hand how beautiful and wild Coul Links is, and how important the area is for wildlife. It’s been obvious from the outset that this development will have an unacceptable impact on internationally protected wildlife and habitats. SNH’s objection makes this impact undeniable. This application has to be rejected so that a less damaging alternative can be found elsewhere.”
Aedan Smith, Head of Planning and Development at RSPB Scotland said: “This objection from SNH, Scotland’s statutory nature conservation advisor, confirms that this is absolutely the wrong place for this development. There are many alternative much less environmentally damaging places where golf courses could be built without destroying an internationally important wildlife site. We call on Highland Council to quickly refuse this application and to protect what is one of the best places in East Sutherland for wildlife.”
Help save Coul Links
Comments on the planning application can be submitted by Friday 22 December via the Highland Council website here, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org quoting application reference 17/04601/FUL.
Further details of how to support our campaign to save Coul Links can be found here.