The Scottish Wildlife Trust is extremely concerned about plans for a golf course at Coul Links near Embo in Sutherland. This is a beautiful and wild stretch of coastline, and an important habitat for specialist plants and birds.
Coul Links was previously managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust as a reserve under a management agreement with the landowners, Cambusmore Estates.
In line with our policy on the planning system the Trust has objected to this proposal due to the negative impact that it will cause to a number of important protected areas.
What’s the problem?
Part of the proposed golf course is within the Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the Dornoch Firth and Loch Fleet Special Protection Area.
This area is designated partly because of its fragile network of sand dunes and the birds that shelter on lochans between the ridges. The dunes at Coul Links are particularly unusual because they form a complete undisturbed system from foredune to slacks.
The site is noted for important protected birds including terns, geese and waders, and a rich variety of plants. SSSIs are special sites that are designated as protected areas for good reason, and this protected status must be maintained.
How you can help
Object to the proposal
You can object to the proposal by emailing Highland Council. Please include the reference number (17/04601/FUL) in the subject line of your email. You might like to refer to the following points in your objection.
- Coul Links is an important location which is designated as a Ramsar site, a Special Protection Area and a site of Special Scientific Interest. These designated features would be adversely affected by the proposed development.
- Protected areas of dune grasslands, heath and slack cover are scarce compared to many other habitat types. These habitats are under pressure both from the cumulative impact of development at other sites, and also from global threats such as climate change.
- The proposals will have a significant negative effect on a unique sand dune habitat, a species of fly found nowhere else in the world, and several rare species.
- Unrealistic claims have been made about mitigation measures. The developer’s proposals include moving mature juniper bushes, and relocating complex dune heath ecosystems away from the site of the course.
- The development is contrary to Highland Council’s policies for protecting the natural heritage, as set out in the Local Development Plan.
Share your memories
If you have any memories or photographs of the wildlife and landscape of Coul Links you can help us demonstrate the beauty and importance of this remote coastal area by sharing them with the Trust.