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Coul links plans rejected

The Scottish Government has today rejected plans to built an 18 hole golf course on the internationally protected Coul Links dune system, north of Dornoch.

The John o’ Groats Trail at Coul Links

The plans had been opposed by environmental groups and charities, including Ramblers Scotland, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation, the Marine Conservation Society, Plantlife, RSPB Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and the National Trust for Scotland . The John o’ Groats Trail walking route would also have been affected.

Brendan Paddy, Ramblers Scotland director, said: “We are hugely grateful and relieved that the Scottish Government has listened to the evidence-based concerns of environment, landscape and access experts, and saved Coul Links from this terrible golf plan. 

“I’m proud that thousands of people within the Scottish conservation and outdoors communities united against these proposals, which would have restricted access and permanently damaged internationally-protected dunes.

“The decision sends out a clear signal that Scotland’s finest landscapes, habitats and beauty spots aren’t simply up for sale to the highest bidder.”

Outdoors broadcaster and writer Cameron McNeish commented that he was “delighted by this result. Coul Links is a very special place and hopefully the refusal by the Scottish Government will tell other potential developers that areas with environmental protections will be protected and environmental designations are there for a reason.”

Jo Pike, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted with the Scottish Government’s decision to save Coul Links.

I would like to say a huge thank you to every one of the thousands of people from across Scotland and beyond who added their voice to our campaign. Today’s decision demonstrates that individuals can make a real difference by taking the time to stand up for nature.


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Walking can be dangerous and is done entirely at your own risk. Information is provided free of charge; it is each walker's responsibility to check it and navigate using a map and compass.