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?Donald Trump?s biggest rival in the golf business? is facing stiff opposition to his plan to build a links course on a stretch of Sutherland coastline.
A coalition of Scotland?s leading conservation charities is asking the public to support its objections to the planned development at Coul Links.
The links are an irreplaceable piece of Scotland?s natural heritage that will be destroyed if the plan goes ahead, say The Scottish Wildlife Trust, RSPB Scotland, Buglife Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland and the Marine Conservation Society.
An application to construct a golf course on the site has been submitted to Highland Council on behalf of Mike Keiser, a billionaire American investor.
Coul Links hosts a dune ecosystem of national and international importance and is protected by multiple conservation designations, say the charities. It is home to a wide range of plants, birds, insects and other animals. Many of these species, such as curlew, whinchat, and Fonseca?s seed fly ? which is unique to this part of Sutherland – are rare or in severe decline elsewhere in the UK, and are unlikely to remain following damage to the dune environment.
Plantlife?s Davie Black said Coul Links is one of Scotland?s last remaining coastal dune systems and its destruction would be a disaster.
?Coastal dune systems are threatened ecosystems across the UK and no more must be bulldozed to make way for sterilised fairways; already too many irreplaceable Scottish habitats have been carved up to make way for golf courses.
?The fragmentation of the dune environment which would occur if development is permitted would further imperil rare plants such as sea century, purple milk-vetch, moonwort and frog orchid and the insects and other animals and birds that they support. It is essential for nature that Coul Links remains undisturbed.?
Jonathan Hughes, chief executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust urged anyone who is concerned about the fate of Scotland?s wildlife and natural landscapes to make their voices heard by writing to The Highland Council.
?Almost a decade after the approval of the environmentally damaging Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, it is unthinkable that we could lose yet another irreplaceable duneland to a development which is clearly not needed,? he said.