Coul Links promotional video criticised for use of stock imagery
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Ariane Burgess MSP, Scottish Greens MSP for the Highlands & Islands has spoken out against a 'misleading' promotional video released in support of the proposed 18-hole golf course at Coul Links, Embo.
Ms Burgess responded to criticisms from campaign groups stating that the video used stock footage rather than local people, in a bid to demonstrate support for Communities for Coul (C4C), the not-for-profit organisation behind the new championship course application. C4C have since removed the video.
The video drew criticism from local group, Ramblers Scotland, who say it had been voiced by a local actor and golfer.
Ramblers Scotland director Brendan Paddy said: “While stock imagery has its place, C4C’s video leaves viewers thinking they are watching fervent local supporters of the appalling golf course plan. Instead, we now know they are models, who have been draped with text saying ‘show your support’ and ‘here is your chance’. The embarrassing video claims that all Dornoch Firth communities support C4C’s bid, despite a significant group of local residents fighting to save their internationally protected dunes.”
MSP Burgess said: “This proposal will be a test of the new, tighter environmental restrictions introduced by the new National Planning Framework. Coul Links is a spectacular site of environmental significance and has several important international designations. It’s vital that Scotland maintains high environmental standards and the Greens will continue to keep local authorities and the Scottish Government’s decision making under scrutiny.
“While I understand the local desire for new job opportunities, we know these opportunities often prove to be far smaller than those originally claimed and tend to be low paid and seasonal as well as undermining the possibility of more sustainable, nature-based and climate-friendly opportunities in land management."
A spokesman for C4C said: “We are a small community group operating on an extremely tight budget, and do not have the means to hire a crew, cameras and a drone to film on location. In an official ballot 70 per cent of local people support the creation of the golf course and are happy that we will create jobs and long-term sustainability for the area. The voice-over was done by local actor Jimmy Yuill, the President of Golspie Golf Club. Jimmy lives locally and is a director of Communities for Coul."