Irreplaceable Coul Links area threatened by golf course

A cross-organisational campaign has launched to safeguard the future of Coul Links, a UK biodiversity hotspot.

Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife, Marine Conservation Society, the National Trust for Scotland, RSPB Scotland, and Scottish Wildlife Trust have formed a coalition to engage with developer C4C via the public consultation process. 

Concerns focus on the proposed creation of an 18-hole golf course at the East Sutherland site, which includes parts of the Dornoch Firth and Lock Fleet Special Protection Area, Ramsar, and Lock Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest. The dune habitats, home to a wide variety of wildlife, many of which are either unique to this area or classed as in severe decline across the UK.

Three years ago, a previous application for a similar development was turned down y Scottish ministers due to fears of the environmental impact. More than 13,000 people supported the objection. According to those involved in the latest campaign, revised blueprints do not significantly differ from those already rejected, and fail to address several factors that led to the original block. 

‘It is only a few years since part of the dunes at Menie lost their protected status due to the damage caused by Donald Trump being allowed to build a golf course there – this serves as a real reminder of what is at stake and what Scotland could stand to lose if this planning application goes ahead,’ said Craig Macadam, Conservation Director at Buglife. 

‘This nationally and internationally important site is unsuitable for development due to its unique sand dune habitat and its value for breeding and wintering birds, endemic invertebrates, and rare lichens. Habitat loss is one of the main drivers of biodiversity decline across Scotland. This triple designated site must be protected, respected, and celebrated for its natural riches,’ added Jo Pike, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. 

The full planning application can be viewed here, and comments can be submitted through the Highland Council website or via email – – by Sunday 9th April. 

Biodiversity and habitat protection are considered priorities in the race to mitigate climate change. Under current agreements, 30% of the planet’s land and sea area should be protected from development by 2030. Last year it was found that the UK is failing on these obligations. In the coming months, a new Biodiversity Net Gain clause will become legally-binding. Find out what this means here.

Image: Wikipedia


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