#SaveCoulLinks: Proposed golf course development of Scottish dunes threatens rare and threatened plants

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Credit: Alison Searl/RSPB Images

* Plantlife lodges official objection to plans to develop internationally important wildlife site

* Davie Black: "The natural dune systems at Coul Links have developed over thousands of years but could be destroyed in a matter of mere months never to return if these proposed developments get the go-ahead"

Plantlife, the UK's leading wild plant conservation charity, has lodged an objection to proposals to build a luxury golf course at Coul Links, one of Scotland's last remaining complete coastal dune habitats and, currently, a safe haven to some extremely rare and threatened plants, including lesser butterfly orchid.

Plantlife’s objection focuses on the fragmentation of the dune environment which would occur if development is permitted to go ahead and how that would impact on plants and fungi found across the dynamic dunescape habitats.

Coul Links is an exceptional, coastal dune system, formed over millennia and unlike any in the UK. It's an unashamedly wild, completely natural space that families, dog walkers, picnickers and other visitors enjoy and value. Vast, open skies meet sea and sand creating a wonderful wilderness unchanged over time. The 16-hectare site near Embo is one of Scotland’s last remaining dune systems whose diverse, linked habitats are globally important for a range of wildlife species elsewhere in the UK.

Coul links is the last stronghold and safe haven for many of Scotland's threatened wild plants such as lesser butterfly orchid, coral root orchid, moonwort and star of Bethlehem. It’s also home to a rare colony of mature coastal juniper trees – juniper has diminished so severely in Scotland that most populations recorded are either mature, old or dead and also facing threat from phytophthora.

Davie Black, Conservation Manager, Plantlife Scotland, commented:

"The natural dune systems at Coul Links have developed over thousands of years but could be destroyed in a matter of mere months never to return if these proposed developments get the go-ahead. Development of the historic dunes will tear apart interlinked habitats and must be opposed by anyone who cares about saving wild plants and the wonders of this wild landscape."

Plantlife's objection follows hot on the heels of an objection to the plans lodged by Scottish Natural Heritage, the statutory nature conservation advisor.

Plantlife, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Marine Conservation Society, RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust are mounting a vibrant campaign to #SaveCoulLinks. The alliance of conservation organisations have already lodged a joint objection to the plans.

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Help save Coul Links

Coul Links, an internationally important habitat, home to rare and threatened plants and wildlife, is under threat from plans for a new golf course. Let Highland Council know your views...

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