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Monday, March 4, 2024

Green MSP Meets Local Coul Links Campaigners

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Ariane Burgess, Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands & Islands, this week met with Not Coul, the local group that has been campaigning against golf course plans on protected land near their homes since 2016.

The campaigners, all residents of Embo and Dornoch, will also be speaking at an event Ms Burgess is hosting in Parliament next month to highlight the challenges local communities face in navigating the planning system, especially when they’re up against well-financed developers. 

Not Coul is a local grassroots effort to save the rare and precious landscape that surrounds them.

Ms Burgess is calling for Scottish Government ministers to call-in the decision to allow the golf course for reconsideration.

Her campaign has already generated the support of more than 4,300 people, due in part to the national and international significance of the site.

The controversial development, which Ms Burgess previously branded “totally inappropriate”, has been opposed by NatureScot and planning officers due to the impact it would have on the local environment and biodiversity.

The area forms part of the Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest and the Dornoch Firth and Loch Fleet Special Protection Area.

Commenting, Ms Burgess said:

“It’s immensely frustrating for community groups like Not Coul to have to keep fighting inappropriate schemes like this, particularly when their voice and concerns are overlooked by others claiming to speak for them.

“C4C has been clear that it will hand over planning permission to a private developer, Mike Keiser, who has a long history of controversial coastal and links development in Oregon, Nova Scotia, Wisconsin, and Tasmania.

“Not Coul’s members include scientists, green keepers and management professionals who all know the site well and whose voices should be amplified by their representatives, not ignored.

“They live and breathe climate change response and biodiversity protection every day in all that they do.

“It is only right that they are heard and understood.”

Commenting for Not Coul, Andrew Mackay said:

“We have many world-class golf courses not far away that have far more potential for growth.

“Coul Links is a dune wilderness loved by local people and visitors alike; it enriches lives and refreshes the soul – an asset that decades of economic wealth could not afford to buy.”

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