The Save Coul Links Conservation Coalition was formed by Buglife, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Marine Conservation Society, National Trust for Scotland, Plantlife, RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust to help save Coul Links – an internationally important wildlife site from the lasting damage that will occur if it is developed in to a golf course. We plan to present witnesses at the public inquiry that will outline the national and international environmental importance of Coul Links.
Coul Links, in the north of Scotland is a beautiful, natural coastal dune system, home to many species of wildlife. It contains some of the rarest habitats in Europe and is protected at local, national and European levels. A range of species can be found there throughout the year including small blue butterflies, skylarks, otters, migrant geese, and plants such as coral root orchid and purple milk vetch. Coul Links is also home to a colony of coastal juniper trees and the internationally endangered Fonseca’s seed fly which is only found in East Sutherland.
Fonseca’s seed fly is one of the UK’s rarest endemic invertebrates, restricted globally to a short stretch of coast in northern Scotland. This species is found at Coul Links within the proposed golf course where its population is perilously small. It is thought to be closely associated with Ragwort, Sow-thistle and the sand dune systems found in this area. Stabilisation of the dunes and creation of fairways and greens for the proposed golf course will destroy the habitat for the species and further fragment the already fragile population.
A golf course proposal for the site threatens to destroy this unique collection of dune habitats. The coastal dune habitat is one of the last of its kind left in Scotland and would be lost forever should the proposals get the go-ahead.
Unfortunately the proposals were consented by the Highland Council, against the advice of Council officials, SNH and numerous environmental groups. The Scottish Government have ‘called-in’ the controversial golf proposals for further examination at a public inquiry due to natural heritage issues of ‘national importance’.
If this shocking development is allowed to go-ahead it would have terrible consequences for the natural environment. Once these unique habitats are lost, they cannot be replaced. This development would set a terrible precedent. If triple-protected Coul Links is allowed to be destroyed for a golf course – is anywhere safe from development?