RSPB Scotland welcomes official recommendation for refusal
Proposals for a controversial golf proposal at Coul Links, on the east coast of Sutherland, received a major blow today. The official report by planning officers recommends that the development is refused, as it is contrary to the Highland Council development plan due to the “significant and permanent loss of sand dune habitat” it would cause. The officials also note that “residual losses are extensive and likely to be permanent”.
The application will be decided by Councillors at the Highland Council planning committee in Inverness next Tuesday.
The proposals, spearheaded by American multi-millionaires Mike Keiser and Todd Warnock, triggered huge outcry from concerned individuals and environmental groups. The response to Highland Council is unprecedented. The planning application has so far received a total of 1,594 objections. One petition opposing the plans has gathered almost 89,000 signatures.
Coul Links hosts a dune ecosystem of national and international importance and is protected by multiple conservation designations. RSPB Scotland is part of a conservation alliance along with The Scottish Wildlife Trust, Buglife Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland and the Marine Conservation Society that has been campaigning against the proposals.
Other objectors to the planning application include many local people and local groups such as the Tain and District Field Club and local campaign group Not Coul, as well as statutory nature conservation advisors Scottish Natural Heritage, the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and numerous national environmental groups.
RSPB Scotland has welcomed the official report by planning officers and is calling on Highland councillors to back their officials and stop the proposed destruction of Coul Links – an irreplaceable piece of Scotland’s natural heritage.
Aedán Smith, Head of Planning and Development at RSPB Scotland said: “We welcome this recommendation for refusal which highlights that this is absolutely the wrong place for this proposal. We hope Highland Councillors will now back this comprehensive report from their officials by refusing the application and protecting this internationally important wildlife site.
“Coul Links is a truly fantastic place for wildlife. The permanent destruction of these rare and irreplaceable dune habitats is unthinkable. There are many alternative, less environmentally damaging, places where golf course can be built. We would be very happy to work with the developers to identify and progress development in a more suitable location.”
Last Updated: Thursday 31 May 2018