Golf Development on Triple-Protected Dune System must be stopped!

by A dedicated member of the 'Not Coul' Group

Golf Development on Triple-Protected Dune System must be stopped!

by A dedicated member of the 'Not Coul' Group
A dedicated member of the 'Not Coul' Group
Hugh Fullerton-Smith, past Director of the European Nature Trust and General Manager of the Alladale Wilderness Reserve in Sutherland, Scotland.
Closed
on 02nd March 2018
£4,495
pledged by 116 people
A dedicated member of the 'Not Coul' Group
Hugh Fullerton-Smith, past Director of the European Nature Trust and General Manager of the Alladale Wilderness Reserve in Sutherland, Scotland.

Battle funds required to continue fighting a Highland golf course development in a highly protected dune wilderness

We need your financial support now for Phase 2 of our very successful campaign to save a triple-protected dune system from being destroyed by development as a golf course (www.notcoul.com).

  • Who we are: Not Coul is a group of local campaigners fighting against a golf project which would destroy the finest remaining intact dune system on Scotland’s east coast.
  • Where we are: Phase 1 funding (£10K) developed our effective and evidence-based website, a campaign video, leaflets and covered early research. We have successfully exposed the golf environmental work as desperately poor. The promised economic benefits are much exaggerated. We have built support from internet and other petitions signed by almost 90,000 people. Objections to this scheme number >1100 in the planning system, with a 3:1 advantage over support for this proposed golf course. We have become a major force in press and social media. Unquestionably, we are winning.
  • Our mission: Phase 2 funding of £25K is now needed to secure dismissal of this planning application at this stage of the process. The application was made in early October. Sloppy developer work on environment has slowed the process. It might now reach the first decision stage in March, but mid-summer is more likely. The Trump-like scheme is designed to dupe the people of the Highlands into believing that golf development can do nature better than nature itself (“improving the area forever”), with all sorts of economic riches to follow. Instead, the golf scheme is little more than a cosmetic exercise. An intensive campaign and more research are now vital in the immediate few months, before the planning application is decided.
  • Why we are fighting this proposal: Coul Links is a 210 hectare dune system renowned for its landforms, unspoilt beach, birds, insects and plants. It is the most diverse compact dune system in Scotland. It occupies about one sixth of Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is part of a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Ramsar site (protecting wetland biota and habitats). The proposed golf course would rip up and bury the rare and special landforms, habitats and species. The wilderness character of the area will be lost forever. Any remaining wildlife will face rapid and long-term decline in the uncaring hands of the golf managers. The landowner (one of the developers) has refused to manage the land properly since 2010 and has tried to degrade it, as part of the scheme to implant a golf course. A golf development here in such an important wildlife site will send out the message that Scotland is willing to sell its finest environmental heritage to anybody with sufficient funds to promise a limited number of seasonal jobs.
  • What we must overcome: The developers are strongly supported by the local political power base. That is based solely on the promised economic benefits of golf (despite knowing that these have not yet been delivered by Trump development at Menie). The political base is deliberately ignorant of the environmental quality and facts about Coul. We must communicate that this development is a synthetic exercise with ruinous potential. The developers are throwing everything at us to discredit our work, but our evidence-base is completely secure. We must completely overturn their considerable propaganda to save Coul Links. Our chance of succeeding now is strong at this stage of the planning process.

How will the Phase 2 funds be used: 

  • Maintain our press and social media advertising campaigns exposing the environmental misinformation and economic exaggeration of this scheme
  • Maintain and update our professional website
  • Place pressure on the local political power base, always using research and evidence-based information and avoiding name-calling, which is the developer’s preferred MO
  • Place key information on the superficial nature of the development in front of elected councillors on the Planning Committee deciding the application
  • Work with Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency to support and inform their objections
  • Liaise with other NGOs, particularly RSPB and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, to keep our joint objections high-profile throughout Scotland
  • Respond rapidly to misinformation in developer press releases and press interviews
  • Critique new developer information as it arrives, for rapid rebuttal
  • Plan for a Phase III campaign: this will be needed if the local council approves development and the Scottish Government then holds a public inquiry, before making the final decision itself.

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