Coul Links, good news – RSPB press release

Coul Links. Photo: Vince Lowe

Scottish Government refuse Coul Links planning permission

Decision warmly welcomed by RSPB Scotland

The Scottish Government has confirmed today that it has refused planning permission for a golf course to be built at Coul Links in East Sutherland. RSPB Scotland, one of the Save Coul Links coalition members, hugely welcomes this decision.

Anne McCall, Director at RSPB Scotland said: ‘We are extremely relieved and delighted by this decision which demonstrates the high value that Scottish Ministers place on our fantastic and incredibly diverse wildlife in Scotland. These damaging proposals threatened a site of global importance for nature and should never have made it this far. 

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who stood up against this application over the past few years – it’s been a huge partnership effort and inspiring to see how many people raised their voice in support of this amazing place. This is a landmark decision of international significance and shows that we can no longer put short term profits above nature. We are facing a global climate and biodiversity crisis and we very much welcome the leadership role provided by Scottish Ministers at this critical time. We hope that investors and developers alike take heed of this decision and no longer pursue environmentally damaging proposals that put at risk Scotland’s special places for wildlife. There are many more suitable places to build a golf course and we would welcome the opportunity to work with the developers to find a genuinely sustainable alternative.‘.


Mark writes: I am personally thrilled by this result as I know the site reasonably well. I’ve blogged about the case several times and there is this excellent guest blog too. Also, if you supported my succcessful legal challenge of the management plan for Walshaw Moor (see here) then just over £1000 of the money left over from that case went to the Coul Links case – money well spent, it seems!

There is quite a lot of other news too, But I’ll come back to that over the weekend.

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10 Replies to “Coul Links, good news – RSPB press release”

    1. Great news I too have visited the area and it is just terrific that such a unique area will not be trashed by a ridiculous golf course. I totally agree with RSPB Scotland that such a proposal should never have progress as far as it did. The initial permission given by the Highland Council was very reprehensible and misguided.
      Golf courses are extremely damaging to wildlife and the environment generally . It is not just the course itself but also the all infrastructure that goes with it. Often the large amounts of water that are used are taken from the ground waters which then dry out the surrounding land. The huge amounts of artificial fertiliser that golf courses used for growing their grass scorches and kills the rest of the wild flowers and pollutes the ground water. So golf courses in the wrong place and this one was most certainly in the wrong place, are very bad news.
      Three cheers for the Scottish Government in this case . Hurray for some really good news for a change.

  1. Brilliant news ! Has helped to restore this sad old sod on a day when he was for some unknown reason feeling a bit low.

  2. With so many courses already in the area, this was pure greed. A truly excellent decision and one I hope that others will take note of.
    We simply must put nature first in all future planning decisions, we have so little left.
    Well done Scotland.

  3. It's fantastic news and congratulations to all involved.

    At the risk of sounding skeptical, let's hope the developers don't go to appeal as so often happens.

  4. If society in general values knocking little white balls into holes more than conservation then society needs its arse kicked. A few of the locals there have been pushing for the course because of the supposed economic benefits, but no one would have done so if the threatened site had been a war cemetery rather than 'just'one of value to nature. In fact no one would dare even propose to wreck a war cemetery in the first place, we need that reverence to extend to more things including wildlife and certainly less to conspicuous consumption which is what this and Trump's existing golf disaster were really about. The concept that on a small and finite planet a good way to help the have nots is what trickles down from giving the haves even more is wishful thinking. It's shocking the amount of wildlife that's been lost through golf here and abroad, including via flattened rainforests - coral reefs have been damaged by fertiliser run off from golf courses. Apparently golf's global appeal is waning, hopefully this decision is another sign of that - imagine if all the time, effort and money spent on golf had went on conservation and observing wildlife instead? You'll get some people stating it's a crime money is spent on conservation rather than people, but I can't recall that same point being aimed at the fortune spent on golf showing it's human selfishness that's the real issue.

  5. Splendid. But this is also swinging news for the gradual demise of golf – it’s a sport that’s mostly unplayable, monumentally unwatchable and morbidly unmentionable. Like driven grouse shooting, it should never have been invented.

    1. And Scotland seems to have spent a lot of effort proudly claiming that it's the birthplace of golf when John Muir for one is an infinitely better source of inspiration. Not something to be proud of even if it's true, a lot like the deep fried Mars bar.


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