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'We are unable to support this proposal': NatureScot deals blow to Coul Links plan

By Caroline McMorran

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NatureScot has said it cannot support the planned new championship golf course at Coul Links, near Embo.

The organisation - Scotland’s nature agency - confirmed today that it had “provided advice to Highland Council” on the controversial project.

A letter from NatureScot's north head of operations David Mackay was sent to the authority on May 5.

An application was lodged earlier this year for a championship golf course at Coul Links, Embo.
An application was lodged earlier this year for a championship golf course at Coul Links, Embo.

A NatureScot spokesman said: “We recognise the potentially large economic benefits for the area that could arise from this proposal and acknowledge the applicant’s commitment to reduce the footprint of the course and mitigate any impacts on nationally important natural heritage interests.

"However, we are unable to support this proposal as presented as in our assessment it will result in significant adverse effects on Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest, a sand dune habitat of national importance.

"We believe that a golf course could be progressed in this general location by using a much higher proportion of the adjacent agricultural land.

"This advice will now be for Highland Council to consider, along with responses from the public consultation, before they reach a decision."

To read the agency's full response to the authority, click here.

A spokesman for Communities for Coul (C4C), the community group behind the development, said: "We are, along with our professional advisers, carefully considering NatureScot’s submission. Once we have done so, we will respond fully to its contents."

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