|Scottish Natural Heritage still objects to Trump golf links|
|Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) yesterday (16 August 2007) wrote to Aberdeenshire Council advising them that it must maintain an objection to the proposed development at Menie due to damage to Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
SNH said it was grateful to the applicants for the additional information provided in response to SNH’s original objection and comments. Having carefully considered this information SNH’s view is still that part of the proposed development at Menie would seriously damage the landforms and habitats of this important nature conservation site.
SNH’s full response to the original planning application was submitted to Aberdeenshire Council on the 30 May. That response objected to part of the development because of the effect it would have on the nationally important sand dunes and habitats of the area, including those within the Foveran Links SSSI. SNH was not opposed in principle to the development and stated that, in its opinion, a single championship golf course could be accommodated on adjacent land within the development site without causing significant damage to the dunes.
Since then contractors for Trump International Golf Links Scotland have written to Aberdeenshire Council with further information and proposals for dealing with SNH’s objections, although they have said explicitly that they do not intend to move the proposed championship golf course from the SSSI.
The council asked SNH to respond to this new information. SNH’s letter to the council indicates that, after full consideration by its specialists, it remains convinced that the golf course would result in the destruction of important natural heritage. The organisation says that one of the fundamental problems is the planned stabilisation of the dunes, which remains at the centre of the development proposal. The natural processes that shape the ever changing dunes and their habitats are at the heart of why the area is so special. Any stabilisation would stop these processes. It goes on to say that while moving some of the affected plants may be possible, it is unlikely to be possible to recreate the complex relationships between sand movement, vegetation and groundwater.
SNH’s new area manager for Grampian, David Bale, said: “This site at Menie with its huge wild sand dunes is part of the largest dune system in Scotland, stretching from Newburgh to Bridge of Don. The Menie sand dunes are not like the majority of other UK sand dune areas – if they are not able to continue to shift and change, what makes them special will be lost. As the development of a golf course at this location would cause such significant damage to the Site of Special Scientific Interest we have maintained our objection to this part of the proposal.
“We are still clear that building the championship golf course on the SSSI will inevitably damage it. This is still our advice to Aberdeenshire Council having examined all the information sent to us. The council will now consider SNH’s advice and balance it along with all the other factors such as the Grampian economy, public services and also their own environmental duties when making their decision.”
Heather Kinnin, press & public relations officer, Scottish Natural Heritage 0131 446 2274/0131 447 4784
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