Stop Coul Links Golf Course


Save our SSSI​​

Not Coul used funds from crowd funding to improve this website and commission independent reports on the economics of the proposed golf, as well the development’s impacts on the landscape. Those studies were included in our objection submitted to Highland Council in December 2017.

We also placed large adverts in newspapers pointing out the serious errors and misinformation in the golf planning application and developer propaganda. Our support has grown tremendously, with petitions signed by over 87,000 people and more than 1100 individual objections registered with Highland Council, more than three times those in support of golf.

Further environmental information has been submitted by the developers to plug holes in the golf hydrological assessment.

As a result the planning application is again open for comment. New objections can now be made and older ones can be updated.

The closing date is now 1 April 2018.

We have a high profile but must not rest

Not Coul is now high profile but we still need to do a lot more.

We need to keep repeating our TWO KEY MESSAGES to the decision-makers in Scotland, at all levels:

  • There will inevitably be extensive environmental desecration upon protected ground at Coul

  • The job numbers and economic benefits are much exaggerated and are very unlikely to be delivered

The developers have spent two years selling their plans in local and national political circles, including meetings with a Scottish Government Minister and very senior officials. Freedom of information releases show this:

The Herald - American tycoon 'getting cosy with Scottish Government over golf course plans - can this be happening again? - Rob Edwards

The Sunday Herald - Trump mistakes must not be repeated

There will be no comment now from this political circle of influence because Coul is a live planning application. The circle will come back into play when the Scottish Government exercises its right to call in and decide the application. And the Scottish Government has to do that if Highland Council grants planning permission. That is due to an objection made by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Scotland has been here before, with the golf course at Menie in Aberdeenshire. Will these new players never learn from the mistakes made a decade ago? We know that Menie approval resulted in significant dune destruction, non-delivery (so far) of promised economic benefits and shut-down of environmental oversight, contrary to planning conditions.

That future is writ large for Coul Links: this will be another Menie fiasco. If allowed, it will show that Scotland does not value its environment, will not protect it and will sell it down the river to anybody with deep pockets who promises a factory-shed load of jobs and riches for all, but delivers much less whilst destroying natural habitat and public access.

One Coul developer has an international track record for doing this. This has been the pattern in Bandon Dunes, Oregon, USA – now SIX golf courses, and unauthorised intrusions onto Federal Land. Mr Mike Keiser is extending is extending his influence in Inverness, Nova Scotia, where dedicated public land is now being eyed up for expansion of .... you’ve guessed it .... golf!.

There are still great opportunities to stop this dreadful scheme. The economists in the Scottish Government have a poor grasp of how the environment is administered in Scotland, particularly the role of SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency). Also, everybody appears to have ignored the responsibility of Ramsar site status and the protection this should provide.

The Ramsar Secretariat recently sent a special mission to Majorca. The mission report was sufficient to halt a golf development with planning permission which was well into construction and the developers had to reinstate all damaged ground. The golf was located outside a Ramsar site but was threatening the hydrology, rare orchids, habitats and bird interest. Not Coul has already asked Ramsar to intervene at Coul and we think something similar will happen here if planning permission is awarded by Highland Council. The Ramsar process has been underway for several months and is involving the Scottish Government and the UK Government (as signatory of the Ramsar Treaty).

We will continue to inform the people in charge of Scotland’s economy and the Highland circle of influence on the value of the Scottish Environment – all of it. Dismissing this tract of precious coastline as “underused and neglected” is a parody of reality. We will support, inform and liaise with the official consultees, and the other objecting NGOs in the cause of proper and educated conservation, caring for what we leave behind for the next generation.

Note: all members of Not Coul are volunteers working for free (pro bono) to oppose this development. Some have set aside their work entirely and have devoted many months of their time. 


Not Coul continues to campaign to stop golf development on triple-protected ground at Coul Links.

Marram-grass-at-burn-Coul-Links (C) Andrew Weston

How can you build a golf course here without destroying and damaging these protected wetlands and their wildlife?