03/11/2008
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"Greener Scotland" is sold down the river

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Commenting on the decision by the Scottish Government to approve the planning application by Trump International Golf Links Scotland for a development on the Menie Estate and Foveran Links Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on the Aberdeenshire coast, including two 18-hole golf courses with clubhouse, a 450-bedroom hotel with conference centre and spa, 950 holiday apartments, 36 golf villas, 500 houses for sale and accommodation for 400 staff, Aedan Smith, head of planning and development at RSPB Scotland said, "RSPB Scotland is surprised and extremely disappointed at this decision, which we believe is wrong both for Aberdeenshire and for Scotland. By the Applicant's own admission, reiterated at the Public Local Inquiry, the development will cause the destruction of a dune system, with its precious wildlife, on a site which is protected by law and should continue to be available for future generations to enjoy. We, and the thousands of other objectors, consider that this is too high a price to pay for the claimed economic benefits from this development."

Pink-footed Goose
Pink-footed Goose, Loch of Skene, Aberdeenshire (Photo: Euan Ferguson)

"Trump International refused to explore the possibility of a development that would protect this unique natural asset and deliver a world-class golf course. As a result RSPB Scotland commissioned a respected Scottish golf course architect to redesign the layout. At the recent public inquiry, Trump International agreed that it would indeed be possible to deliver a world-class golf course and protect the SSSI but this was not what they wanted. It appears that the desires of one high-profile overseas developer, who refused to compromise one inch, have been allowed to override the legal protection of this important site, and we fear this sets a precedent which will undermine the whole protected sites network in Scotland.

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Skylark
Skylark, Peterculter, Aberdeenshire (Photo: Euan Ferguson)

"The fact that an alternative was available which would have delivered all of the economic and social benefits without causing any of the environmental damage demonstrates that the Scottish Government's so-called green agenda counts for nothing at all."

Written by: RSPB