Update 21st February. Scottish Ministers have turned down the development plans for a luxury golf course on this highly protected area. See our response here. The decision by Scottish Ministers can be read here.
This landmark decision was very welcome not only for Coul Links but in the context of the nature and climate emergency, and the commitment shown by the Scottish Government to protected areas.
This success has been a huge collection effort not only by our Conservation Coalition partners but also many members of the public, including those in the local community, who supported the campaign. Although this may not be the end of the road for the protection of this site, we hope that this decision marks a watershed moment for planning decisions truly considering environmental needs and protection as part of our efforts to meet the nature and climate emergency.
Thank you so much for your support with the Coul Links campaign.
Coul Links is a beautiful, natural coastal dune system, home to many species of wildlife. It is located to the immediate south of Loch Fleet in East Sutherland, Scotland. Coul Links is one of the last areas of undeveloped species-rich dune habitat in Scotland. Together with Loch Fleet itself, Coul Links is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and an international Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar site.
The proposed golf course would have destroyed this unique collection of dune habitats and would have resulted in harmful disturbance to both wintering and breeding waders, waterfowl and other species, many of which are rare and/or declining in number.
Last year 13,000 people campaigned for the Scottish Government to 'call-in' the planning decision because of the harm it will cause to nature. The Scottish Government scrutinised the planning application through a Public Inquiry and have now announced their decision to refuse the proposals.