The Scotsman

Campaigner­s call for Trump golf rival to rethink Highland course

● Fears over Coul Links dune habitat ● Rare moths and insects may be lost

- By ILONA AMOS

Conservati­onists are calling for a rethink of plans by a US billionair­e business rival of Donaldtrum­ptoturn“anirreplac­eable natural jewel” in the Highlands into a world-class championsh­ip golf course.

They say creating an 18-hole course at Coul Links in Sutherland, near 400-year-old Royal Dornoch, will destroy pristine sand dune habitat and threaten rare species.

Golf impresario Mike Keiser and American entreprene­ur Todd Warnock are behind the new course, which will be designed by acclaimed golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

It has been estimated it could generate around £7.5 million a year for the local economy and around £14.8m across the

0 The Caryocolum blandelloi­des moth is threatened by the developmen­t of Coul Links golf course say campaigner­s site, including a moth found nowhere else in the UK and the rare Fonseca’s seed-fly.

“Our records indicate that Coul Links is a very special place,” said the charity’s Dr Tom Prescott .

“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.”

Bruce Wilson, senior policy officer for SWT, added: “It will be almost impossible to construct a golf course on Coul Links without causing unacceptab­le damage to internatio­nally important sites.”

The developers insist there will be no hotel or residentia­l buildings at the course, stressing that the scheme will be sensitive to nature.

Mrkeiser,whoownsban­don Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, said: “Our golf course developmen­ts aim for minimal intrusion on the landscape and the utmost care and respect for the environmen­t. Our team of environmen­tal advisors is ensuring complete sensitivit­y to the land, and its location.”

It’s thought a formal applicatio­n for planning permission will be lodged with Highland Council shortly.

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