Groups unite to halt course on but­ter­flies’ coastal home

Wildlife: Rare species’ habi­tat at risk

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS/INVERNESS - BY DAVID KERR

A wildlife char­ity has joined a coali­tion of con­ser­va­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions op­posed to the con­struc­tion of a new golf course.

But­ter­fly Con­ser­va­tion Scot­land say that there are records of 168 dif­fer­ent species of but­ter­flies and moths on the site at Coul Links on the Suther­land coast.

This in­cludes 10 na­tion­ally-scarce species – and one type which was dis­cov­ered for the first time in the UK at the Embo site.

The mul­ti­mil­lion-pound golf project is be­ing mas­ter­minded by Amer­i­can busi­ness­man Todd Warnock and renowned course de­signer Mike Keiser.

Mr Warnock, who owns the Links House Ho­tel in nearby Dornoch, said that the course would be the key to keep­ing golfers in the area and un­lock­ing a ma­jor eco­nomic cat­a­lyst.

How­ever, sev­eral con­ser­va­tion groups have lob­bied against the pro­posal, in­clud­ing the Scot­tish Wildlife Trust, RSPB Scot­land, Buglife, the Marine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety and Plantlife Scot­land.

But­ter­fly Con­ser­va­tion Scot­land’s Dr Tom Prescott said: “Our records in­di­cate that Coul Links is a very spe­cial place. The site has sur­vived de­vel­op­ment which is un­usual for such a beau­ti­ful coastal lo­ca­tion and this has al­lowed a wide range of spe­cialised coastal species to live at Coul which

“Records of 168 dif­fer­ent species of but­ter­flies and moths on the site”

have been lost from so many other lo­ca­tions.

“Turn­ing Coul Links into a golf course would be a tragedy and would per­ma­nently dam­age a place that is home to many rare species.

“I urge the de­vel­op­ers to think again. There must be more ap­pro­pri­ate lo­ca­tions to de­velop a golf course than an ir­re­place­able nat­u­ral jewel like Coul Links.”

The very scarce listed moth only has a sci­en­tific name, Cary­ocolum blan­del­loides. It was dis­cov­ered at Coul Links in Au­gust 1994.

Bruce Wil­son, se­nior pol­icy of­fi­cer at Scot­tish Wildlife Trust, wel­comed the in­ter­ven­tion.

“This ev­i­dence un­der­lines that Coul Links is not only beau­ti­ful but is also an im­por­tant home for a wealth of rare species. It will be al­most im­pos­si­ble to con­struct a golf course on Coul Links with­out caus­ing un­ac­cept­able dam­age to im­por­tant sites.”

Mr Warnock has pre­vi­ously said he is con­fi­dent his de­sign team can build the course in an eco­log­i­cally sen­si­tive way.

He said: “It’s a ques­tion

“Per­ma­nently dam­age a place that is home to many rare species”

of achiev­ing a dual goal of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and eco­log­i­cal con­ser­va­tion. We have the best peo­ple in the world to achieve th­ese two goals and I am con­fi­dent we can do it.”

SCARCE: The rare Cary­ocolum blan­del­loides moth was dis­cov­ered at Coul Links

The ex­ten­sive beach can be seen near Coul Links

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.