Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Insider UK
Insider UK
Peter A Walker

Trump's Aberdeenshire golf course dunes lose special environmental status

Parts of the dunes on Foveran Links have lost their status as a nationally important protected wildlife site, after consideration of the scientific evidence by the Protected Areas Committee (PAC) of NatureScot.

The PAC concluded that, following construction of the Trump International Golf Links course on the dune system at Menie Estate, this area no longer merits being retained as part of the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The Menie golf course, north of Aberdeen, opened in 2012. A planning inquiry had previously stated that the development would seriously damage the SSSI, but permission was granted by MSPs on the basis that the potential economic benefit would outweigh environmental harm.

PAC, acting on behalf of the NatureScot board, took its decision following a formal consultation on the future status of Foveran Links SSSI and on consideration of advice from NatureScot staff, other representations and independent specialist advice.

NatureScot noted that the confirmation is not unexpected, as dialogue on potential denotification with the landowners has been continuing since 2016.

The decision comes after NatureScot set up a three-month stakeholder consultation period from June 2019. Stakeholders will be given further opportunities to present their case before the statutory deadline of 18 December.

NatureScot’s interim director of nature and climate change Eileen Stuart said: "There is now no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special, natural features for which they were designated.

“Trump International Golf Links Scotland have undertaken to deliver nature conservation management on the golf course and we value the work they have done to protect the remaining rare habitats and the rare plants on their site, however they no longer have sufficient scientific interest to merit special protection.”

Trump International executive vice president Sarah Malone responded: "Nature Scot ignored and neglected the dunes under the previous ownership and has made only a handful of short visits in the past 10 years.

"Their own assessment acknowledges that many attributes of the SSSI have flourished since the golf course was completed."

She argued that the level of investment and ongoing care of the site exceeds most other SSSI sites, adding: "Regardless of their decision, we will continue to maintain the site to the highest standards."

Foveran Links SSSI was a "high quality example of a sand dune system characteristic of north east Scotland", of exceptional importance for the wide variety of coastal landforms and processes.

The site’s features included its dune habitats, especially the dune slacks and pasture, and the geomorphological interest of its sand dune system, due especially to its dynamic nature.

The remaining reduced SSSI at Foveran Links will be merged with the adjacent Sands of Forvie and Ythan Estuary SSSI next year.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.