The wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation Scotland warmly welcomes the Scottish Government’s refusal of the application for a golf course on Coul Links, near Dornoch in East Sutherland.

Paul Kirkland, Director at Butterfly Conservation Scotland said,

“We are extremely pleased that Scottish Ministers have made what is, in our view, the correct decision in this crucial test of their support for nature conservation and their defence of a unique and internationally-protected site for wildlife.

There is no point in designating wonderful places like Coul Links as key sites for their natural heritage if they can be destroyed and access rights for local people removed for small economic gains.

We hope that in future, similarly damaging plans for sites of national and international importance will be blocked at a much earlier stage by local authority planners, as the cost of this case has been huge. Developers would then not waste their money pursuing indefensible projects, and hard-pressed charities would not have to spend precious time and money defending such sites.

Coul Links - Vince Lowe

During this case we have learned much more about Coul Links, what a very special place it is, home to probably one of the largest colonies of the threatened Northern Brown Argus butterfly in the UK, not to mention several very rare moths.

We are very grateful to our local volunteers who first alerted us to this extremely damaging proposal and all our members who wrote in to express their opposition and dismay and helped fund our case. We are especially indebted to the local campaigners who have put so much into this fight, and also to our conservation partners in the coalition formed to defend this site”.