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Coul Links, Embo under threat - RSPB petition (1 Viewer)

Muso

Well-known member
Scotland
Coul Links, a rare duneland habitat on the Sutherland coast in Scotland is being threatened with destruction by plans submitted to build a golf course.

These dunes run to Loch Fleet, and together with Loch Fleet, Coul Links is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), an international Special Protection Area and Ramsar site. Which doesn't seem to count for much.

RSPB is looking for support to challenge this proposed golf course, and to save a very special area, which supports an unbelievable amount of wildlife, including rare and declining species.

On a personal note, I've been going there regularly since 1978, and it is my favourite place in the world, largely due to the unspoilt natural environment and the conservation work carried out over many years.

It's hard for me to think that this wonderful place can be wiped out by a money-making franchise, as we saw with the Aberdeen golf course fiasco.

The closing date for submissions re the planning application is 22nd December. If you can, please help RSPB voice their objection.

Read more, and access the petition at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ou...17/10/26/a-year-of-nature-at-coul-links.aspx?

Thanks

Ian
 

Muso

Well-known member
Scotland
Seriously? Someone wants ANOTHER golf course round there? Are all the others empty or broken or something?

Hi Murmur - Fairly unbelievable, but true. There are currently 6 golf courses within an 18 mile radius of Dornoch, 4 of them within 13 miles, including Royal Dornoch. And only one habitat like this. There is a video at the link below which spells it out.

http://www.notcoul.com/
 

Muso

Well-known member
Scotland
Just to put it into perspective, Coul Links lies right next to Loch Fleet (NNR), which lies next to native woodland. Difficult to see how wiping out part of the environment wouldn't have a knock-on effect. Here's what you could have won...

From Loch Fleet NNR webpage http://www.nnr-scotland.org.uk/loch-fleet/ and my own observation:

Habitats
Sand dunes, Heath, Sand flats, Saltmarsh, Native pinewoods, Eel grass beds, Seashore.

Rare plants
Creeping lady’s-tresses, (one of the few British orchids that is almost exclusive to Scotland), the delicate twinflower, and rarer still, one-flowered wintergreen.

Birds
Arctic tern, common tern, crested tit, crossbill, cuckoo, house martin, long-tailed duck, redstart, siskin, snipe, sparrowhawk, treecreeper, willow warbler.

My List
Bar-tailed godwit, blue tit, buzzard, chaffinch, coal tit, cormorant, crow, curlew, divers, dunlin, eider, gannet, goldeneye, goldfinch, goosander, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, grey heron, grey wagtail, greylag goose, guillemot, gulls (various eg GBBG, BHG, Herring), hooded crow, jackdaw, kestrel, knot, lapwing, long-tailed tit, mallard, manx shearwater, meadow pipit, osprey, oystercatcher, pied wagtail, pink-footed goose, razorbill, red kite, red-breasted merganser, redshank, ringed plover, robin, sanderling, sandwich tern, shelduck, skylark, slavonian grebe, starling, stonechat, swallow, teal, turnstone, wheatear, wigeon, wren.

Butterflies
Green hairstreak, small heath, small blue, dark green fritillary, grayling, speckled wood, painted lady, peacock (tick), small tortoiseshell (tick).
Butterflies around Loch Fleet are monitored as part of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.

Moths
Six-spot burnet moth, mother shipton, fox moth caterpillar (tick).

Mammals & cetaceans
Common seal (tick), dolphin (tick), otter (European Protected Species) common pipistrelle bats (European Protected Species), roe deer (tick), red squirrel, fox, pine marten, stoat, weasel.

Not much compared to golf and profit. Wonder if I could afford a round....?

Thanks for your support.

Ian
 

Murmur

Well-known member
We were in that part of the world in September on our annual Highlands and Islands jaunt and visited Loch Fleet, Balblair Wood and Dornoch: I stopped counting the golf courses, so I'll take your word for the numbers.

And if one goes a bit further afield there are even more of the buggers - we were staying on the Black Isle for that leg.

We've signed the petition and I am going to read the full planning application to see how many holes I can poke in it before contacting the council and the relevant minister: it is usually not too hard to take apart the "tourism = money for the area" arguments, especially when the company behind a scheme has no connection to the area so any profit goes elsewhere (it helps having a partner who used to work in the hotel trade and knows what happens to the money and who is paid what).
 

Muso

Well-known member
Scotland
We were in that part of the world in September on our annual Highlands and Islands jaunt and visited Loch Fleet, Balblair Wood and Dornoch: I stopped counting the golf courses, so I'll take your word for the numbers.

And if one goes a bit further afield there are even more of the buggers - we were staying on the Black Isle for that leg.

We've signed the petition and I am going to read the full planning application to see how many holes I can poke in it before contacting the council and the relevant minister: it is usually not too hard to take apart the "tourism = money for the area" arguments, especially when the company behind a scheme has no connection to the area so any profit goes elsewhere (it helps having a partner who used to work in the hotel trade and knows what happens to the money and who is paid what).

Brilliant Murmur! Glad you've been there and have "felt" the place. Really appreciate your support and determination! Posted 3 pix from Embo in the gallery, and aim to continue that theme over the next few days, with this thread link on them.

Best

Ian
 

Murmur

Well-known member
Well, I have started ploughing my way through the planning application documents...

The local council don't make it easy as several, including part of the economic impact report, aren't available and, because many are up as PDFs, it's hard to follow up the supporting literature 'cos no live links and no copypasta of references...

So far I am not very impressed with the economic impact report - it's the usual commissioned stuff which is slanted to what the developer (especially a very wealthy one) wants, with a lot of supposition, a lot of "could", a lot of "assume", a helping of quoting from another report from that bastion of objectivity, KPMG, which I haven't tracked down yet, then a bunch of ignoring any negative effects of golf tourism, i.e. putting off folk who visit for wildlife or other natural history reasons or other things entirely.

I intend to go further into some of this, but if I can't part of my objection will be that the council is failing to make relevant information available for us to comment on.

Having an environmental science degree and a bit of practice in cost-benefit analysis and arguing over land use comes in handy every now and then - as some of our parish council have found out...
 

Murmur

Well-known member
Oh, excellent! None of the documentation is currently available to read on-line...It's almost like someone doesn't want folk to be able to offer any reasoned criticism of the proposals.
 

Muso

Well-known member
Scotland
Imagine that....! Douglas Adams definitely nailed this in Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy...! Don't think they could ignore "Freedom of Information" requests though....? Worth a try.
 

Murmur

Well-known member
Up to yesterday the supporting documents remained unavailable to view on-line: I informed the Notcoul campaign of this; I did make an objection to the proposal, most of which centred on the planning process not being properly observed, with some comment on the economic impact report I had been able to read.

And I managed to avoid the leopard ;)
 

Muso

Well-known member
Scotland
Excellent Murmur! Really appreciate your support and activity, as well as your knowledge and expertise. Somewhere in the back of my lizard brain there is the thought that they made their mind up a long time ago, and that the god of money is destined to win out, despite already knowing how the Trump Aberdeen nonsense played out, and despite the voice of the people.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this thread, and big thanks to those who then did something about it. Today is the submission deadline. Next move (assuming the worst) is to put on my dressing gown and go and lie in front of the bulldozers, a la Arthur Dent.

A very merry Christmas to all.

Ian
 

Murmur

Well-known member
Well, it seems churlish not to put all that state provided education (not to mention the years of experience arguing with managers and critically appraising various proposals that the NHS gave me) to some class of good use.

It is strange (not!) how as soon as large sums of money and the magic mantra of "Jobs! Jobs!" appear planning departments seem to roll over and ask for their stomachs to be tickled - even if the jobs part does not actually stack up...
 

Murmur

Well-known member
The local authority has re-opened this proposal for public comment until 25th May.

See here - http://www.notcoul.com/object.html - for further details.

Now, have the council sorted out their website so I can actually read the developer's supporting information and take one of my well-honed kitchen knives to it, as the small part I was allowed access to was pretty poor...
 

Muso

Well-known member
Scotland
Thanks for this Murmur - looking like this will be the very last chance to voice objections. Was up in Embo in April and talked to several locals - they all regard it as a done deal...
 

mjh73

Well-known member
Australia
Wait til the UK 'takes back control' from that communist tree hugging fascist EU and winds back all that pesky red / green tape that's been holding the country back......planning forms reduced to a tick box - the more points the quicker your application is approved.....

"How would you like to denude the environment? [tick all that apply]:

- Housing development
[2 points for posh housing, -1 point for social housing]

- Industrial development
[2 points, plus 1 point for each of air / water / sound / light pollution achieved, extra 2 points for human health risks to surrounding populace]

- Grouse moor
[5 points as clearly only for posh people]

- Golf course
[1 points, +1 point for each socio-economic group excluded by the cost of the membership fee, +5 points if it's over a nature reserve]

- Stately country estate
[10 points]

- Other as yet to be determined tax dodge
[sliding point scale proportionate to the party political donation received]


Please PLEASE don't show this to Rees-Mogg as it will be in the manifesto quicker than you can saw gfaw-gfaw chaps.
 

Murmur

Well-known member
Thanks for this Murmur - looking like this will be the very last chance to voice objections. Was up in Embo in April and talked to several locals - they all regard it as a done deal...

IME that's how quite a few developers work: they fill the local press (who are frequently totally supine and useless) with what appears to be many independent press releases touting the benefits of the development; put on a few "meet the locals" events at which they exaggerate the "benefits" of their scheme, conduct a spurious poll of who is in favour, deliberately excluding anyone who has asked awkward questions; get a few tame local councillors on board somehow; and before they have even submitted the planning application most folk are talking about it as if it is going to happen.

Certainly seen that approach tried a couple of times round here on the former opencast land to the west.

Re the Coul golf course: the economic papers were just rubbish, mostly nicked with minimal attribution from a "give us a job" report by KPMG, and tied together by a bunch of conflict of interest interviews, with no-one who might offer an alternative view in sight.
 
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