Coul Links, a rare coastal habitat, in under threat from proposals to build a golf course. We're one of a partnership of conservation organisations along with Buglife, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, Marine Conservation Society and Scottish Wildlife Trust campaigning to save it from destruction. Here's an update on some of the recent coverage about the site and development plans.
Coul Links: A blow to the development and a surprise invite
Recent news that the National Trust for Scotland and statutory nature conservation body Scottish Natural Heritage have stepped in to help save Coul Links from a proposed golf course have been welcomed by conservation organisations. This is a major blow for the developer, Todd Warnock, who has responded by suggesting that the conservation organisations have so far failed to engage in the project:
“It is because we appreciate the concerns of some NGOs that we call on them to lessen their rhetoric and engage directly with us. Our long-standing invitations to these organisations to actually visit the site and engage with us remain fully open.” (BBC News Online - 28th November)
This is quite a welcome surprise because a number of conservation organisations wrote jointly to the developers in 2016. Here is our letter (downloadable pdf below) to which we received no reply. In fact, it is normal good practice for a developer to engage with environmental groups at an early stage of their project development to make sure the development site is appropriate and to reduce any residual adverse environmental impacts. It is disappointing that this didn’t happen on this occasion.
Coul Links has long been identified as one of Scotland’s most important wildlife sites, and as a result it is strictly protected by Highland Council and Scottish Government planning policy and Scots and European nature conservation laws. Our locally based staff and supporters know the area very well. Why would it be that a developer who wants to build on such a heavily protected nature site would choose not to meet with nature conservation organisations at the earliest stage?
We look forward to being able to work with this developer, or any other, in due course so that a development in a more suitable location can be progressed, with lower impact on Scotland’s wildlife.
You too can speak out against the planning application to help save Coul Links. Please email the Highland Council at firstname.lastname@example.org with the application reference 17/04601/FUL in the subject line, or follow the instructions on Council’s website to submit a comment objecting to the development via its e-planning portal. The deadline for comments has been extended to 22nd December. Find out more about the campaign including some of the issues you may wish to raise in your response to the Highland Council here.