A huge thank you to all our supporters who have helped support our Save Coul Links campaign so far.  Kate Bellew, our Senior Conservation Planner, provides an important update as we move into a critical stage of our fight to save this internationally important wildlife site.

Public inquiry into wildlife damaging golf course tees off

A public inquiry into the controversial plans to build a golf course at Coul Links in Sutherland kicks off on the 26 February.  This will involve detailed examination of the impacts on wildlife at this internationally important site.  Two Reporters, Mr David Liddell and Mr Timothy Brian, have been appointed by the Scottish Government to review the case.  They will make a recommendation to Scottish Ministers who will ultimately decide whether to protect the wildlife on the site or to allow the damaging project to go ahead.

Coul links

RSPB Scotland has been working hard with our partners Buglife Scotland, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, the Marine Conservation Society, the National Trust for Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust as we prepare for the inquiry.  Conservation experts from this ‘Conservation Coalition’ will present our case: 

  • Buglife Scotland’s Conservation Director, Craig Macadam
  • Butterfly Conservation’s Dr Mark Young, an Emeritus senior lecturer at Aberdeen University
  • Jonny Hughes, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and a Global Councilor for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Dr Lucy Wright, a Principal Scientist at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science

Our experts will highlight the national and international wildlife importance of Coul Links.  Coul Links forms part of a global network of protected areas which help to safeguard our natural world.  It is vital that we protect these areas for future generations, especially since there are many other places that golf courses could be developed without damaging such an incredibly special place for nature.

This fantastic site is also home to a vast array of species, including wintering birds such as curlew, ducks such as wigeon, as well as smaller species such as the Small Blue and Northern Brown Argus butterflies.  The unique dune habitats and rare plant life also make this a very special place for wildlife.


What you need to know about the Inquiry

The inquiry will be held at the Carnegie Hall, Clashmore, Dornoch, IV25 3RG. 

It will start on Tuesday 26 February 2019 at 10:00a.m. and will last at least four weeks.  The inquiry will be open to the public.

The exact scheduling of the inquiry is still to be confirmed.  However, we know that the statutory advisors for nature conservation SNH, who have also objected strongly to the proposals, will be the first to make the case for the natural heritage over the first few days.  They will be followed by the developers who will try and make the case for the development being more important than the wildlife of the site. The Conservation Coalition partners, including RSPB Scotland, will then have an opportunity to make the case for nature.  We will be followed by a local campaign group, Not Coul, who are also passionate about saving the special wildlife of Coul Links. 

The evidence sessions will be open to the general public.  Please come along and watch the proceedings if you can.  

How you can help support our campaign

We will keep you updated as much as possible as the inquiry progresses.

Look out for content from @RSPBScotland on Twitter, and RSPB Scotland and RSPB Highlands & Islands on Facebook as well as messages from our conservation partners Buglife, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Plantlife Scotland, Marine Conservation Society, National Trust for Scotland and Scottish Wildlife Trust.

Please help us by sharing, retweeting, liking our stories to #SaveCoulLinks and tagging: @scotgov @kevinstewartSNP  @nicolasturgeon @strathearnrose @mairigougeon @fergusewingmsp 

The coalitions has now launches crowdjustice campaign if you wish to support the financial cost of the inquiry.

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