Donald Trump’s Scottish golf resort dunes lose their special environmental status

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Sand dunes on the coast of Aberdeenshire have lost their status as a nationally important protected wildlife site after Donald Trump built a golf resort there.

Parts of the dunes on Foveran Links at the Menie Estate were no longer deemed to merit being kept as part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because, after construction, the area did not include enough ‘special natural features’.

NatureScot, formerly Scottish Natural Heritage, took the decision after four years of discussions with the landowners over the denotification of the site.

Eileen Stuart, NatureScot’s Interim Director of Nature and Climate Change said:

“There is now no longer a reason to protect the dunes at Menie as they do not include enough of the special, natural features for which they were designated. 

“Trump International Golf Links Scotland have undertaken to deliver nature conservation management on the golf course and we value the work they have done to protect the remaining rare habitats and the rare plants on their site however they no longer have sufficient scientific interest to merit special protection.”

‘Not enough special natural features’

NatureScot denotified the site because it said there was no longer ‘sufficient scientific interest’ (Photo: David Moir/Reuters)

Foveran Links SSSI was listed as high quality example of a sand dune system characteristic of north east Scotland.

The remaining reduced SSSI at Foveran Links will be merged with the adjacent Sands of Forvie and Ythan Estuary SSSI next year.

At a planning inquiry, Scottish Natural Heritage warned construction of the golf course would damage the SSSI but permission was granted by Scottish ministers.

Trump International executive vice president Sarah Malone told the BBC the organisation had “spent millions of pounds on the management and monitoring” of the site.

‘Millions on management’

She said: “NatureScot ignored and neglected the dunes under the previous ownership and has made only a handful of short visits in the past 10 years.

“Their own assessment acknowledges that many attributes of the SSSI have flourished since the golf course was completed.”

“Regardless of their decision, we will continue to maintain the site to the highest standards.”

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