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Conservation Coalition welcomes Scottish Government's decision to call in Coul Links golf course application

By Caroline McMorran

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The Scottish Government’s decision to call in the planning application for the Coul Links golf course has been welcomed by the Conservation Coalition.

The coalition is a group of seven environmental charities that are campaigning against the development at Coul Links, near Embo.

It is made up of Buglife, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Plantlife, Marine Conservation Society, National Trust for Scotland, RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Kidney Vetch, Coul Links and Embo Beach. Picture: Andrew Weston
Kidney Vetch, Coul Links and Embo Beach. Picture: Andrew Weston

Highland Council approved the Coul Links scheme at a meeting of the North Planning Applications Committee on December 6. The application was submitted by Communities For Coul.

After the go-ahead was given, an e-action was launched calling on the Scottish Government to scrutinise the plans - the action has been supported by more than 11,000 people.

In its letter to Highland Council, the Scottish Government said that the decision to call in the application was “in view of the proposed development’s potential impact on nationally and internationally important natural heritage and the need for an appropriate understanding of the scale and degree of potential economic benefits arising from the proposal".

Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland said: “This is a crucial moment for Coul Links and it is only right that the Scottish Government is looking at the plans given the damage they could do to this protected place. We’re in the midst of a nature and climate emergency so protected places like this must be safe from the threat of inappropriate development.

“More than 11,000 people have urged Ministers to review these plans and we are very pleased that they will now be looked at afresh. The fate of this incredible place for nature is in their hands and we urge them to refuse permission to save Coul Links.”

Alistair Whyte, head of Plantlife Scotland said: “In a time of nature and climate emergency, we should not have to fight development proposals on legally protected sites, which should be refuges for our beleaguered wildlife. We welcome the Scottish Government’s decision to call in the application, and we look forward to it being swiftly rejected.”

Rebekah Strong, terrestrial policy manager from the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “Safeguarding Coul Links will demonstrate that the Scottish Government is serious about protecting Scotland’s wildlife. In the face of the nature and climate emergency, we must prioritise the protection of fragile habitats and species for future generations.”

Read the Scottish Government Planning and Environmental Appeals Division Appeals case here:

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