The National Trust for Scotland has formally objected to the plans for a new golf course at Coul Links in Sutherland.
Stuart Brooks, head of the Trust’s Natural Heritage Policy, said: “The Coul Links are an example of an increasingly rare coastal habitat of international significance. This beautiful and wild place should continue to be protected for the nation.
“While it is perfectly understandable that local people want and need jobs, we know from the Dornoch Area Community Interest Company (DACIC) that it is the area’s outstanding natural environment that it is the biggest draw for visitors, and this could and should be a positive foundation for sustainable economic development.
“The Coul Links and the dune heath sustain a wide variety of internationally important wildlife, including plants, birds and insects. They represent an increasingly rare part of Scotland’s natural heritage and it is our obligation as a nation to cherish places like this for the long-term in the face of calls for what might well be illusory short-term benefit.”
Coul Links project manager Chris Haspell is a member of the National Trust, but says they are the latest in a line of organisations passing comment without any engagement with his team.
He added: “They are not only writing off the attraction of jobs to an area that needs them, they are disregarding the expertise, experience and investment of our team, without even understanding what we are committed to doing.”
Mr Haspell also stressed that there has been no investment in the area to date to ensure “much-needed land management” on site, which he says the golf course would bring.