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Trump’s Scottish golf course ‘has destroyed rare dunes’

ENVIRONMENTALISTS’ fears have been realised in Aberdeenshire, the Observer revealed today, as the dunes picked for Donald Trump’s Aberdeenshire golf resort were “partially destroyed” in the course’s destruction.

Documents revealed under a Freedom of Information request show that serious damage has been done to the site of special scientific interest (SSSI) at Foveran Links on the Menie estate, north of Aberdeen.

Foveran’s SSSI status now “hangs in the balance,” the paper said.

A Scottish Natural Heritage report said: “Construction of the new golf course involved earthworks, planting of trees, greens and fairways, drainage, irrigation and grass planting.

“This has affected the natural morphology of the dunes and interfered with natural processes. Most of its important geomorphological features have been lost or reduced to fragments. Nearby marine terraces have also been reduced to fragments.”

Foveran gained its SSSI status because of its unusual shifting sands and plant life.

Scottish Natural Heritage, which has been under pressure to speak out on the dunes, has been reviewing the state of the site for years, promising to publish its findings late last year. But the public body has so far remained silent.

Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment policy director Bob Ward, who obtained the reports under FoI requests, said: “These documents show that considerable damage has been done to Foveran Links and that it is very unlikely that it will retain its SSSI status.”

Ward also asked the Scottish government to probe whether the site has been subject to proper environmental monitoring since 2012.

Trump, who was enthusiastically backed by then SNP leader Alex Salmond and the SNP government, won planning approval for his Aberdeenshire estate with a promise to create 6,000 jobs through a five-star hotel, shops, a sports complex, timeshare flats, two golf courses and housing estates. 

So far, only one 18-hole course, open seven months a year, has been built, alongside a practice range and small clubhouse.

He got round the SSSI status by threatening to drop the entire project if he could not build his golf course on the dunes.

When the application was granted, RSPB Scotland said: “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.”

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